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Anchor Drop, September 11, 2020: Who will start at QB?

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Two weeks away from the opener... uh, do we have a quarterback?

NCAA Football: Navy at Hawaii Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning.

Optional Musical Accompaniment

All right, so, with Vanderbilt’s football season two weeks away, let’s talk quarterbacks! The Hustler has profiles of the four quarterbacks competing for the job: junior college transfers Jeremy Moussa and Danny Clark, and true freshmen Ken Seals and Mike Wright.

That none of these guys were on Vanderbilt’s roster last season is telling. Vanderbilt played four quarterbacks — three of them getting a start at some point — in 2019, and all four of them are out of the program in one fashion or another. Riley Neal ran out of eligibility, Allan Walters transferred to Mississippi State, walk-on Mo Hasan transferred to USC, and Deuce Wallace from all appearances just gave up on the sport. On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine Vanderbilt’s quarterback play being worse than it was last year; on the other hand, as Vanderbilt fans we know not to assume that things cannot get worse. It can always get worse, and we know this.

That said, there’s a bit more to like in the quarterback room this year. When the presumptive starter at this point last year was a graduate transfer who’d merely been okay at Ball State, we should have known there were issues. (Actually, we should have known there would be problems when Derek Mason started fishing around for grad transfers the previous December. Apparently he didn’t like the post-Kyle Shurmur quarterback situation.)

While this year’s team features just one player who has attempted a pass at the FBS level (Jeremy Moussa, who played in two games for Hawaii in 2018), both Moussa and Danny Clark played relatively well at the junior college level last year. And there’s a lot to like with the two true freshmen. Ken Seals was a three-star recruit, but he put up insane numbers in high school in Weatherford, Texas, where he played against pretty good competition (and honestly, if you watched his high school film, you probably noticed that his teammates weren’t anything special.) And Mike Wright was rated as a four-star recruit and has speed to spare.

My best guess here is that Seals is the likely long-term answer, but the question is whether Mason will throw him into the fire at Texas A&M on the 26th. And I can see the argument both ways: on the one hand, if he’s the best player already, why not? On the other hand, I can see why you wouldn’t want to kill a youngster’s confidence by throwing him out there against A&M and LSU as a true freshman. Perhaps Moussa or Clark starts the opener, giving way to Seals later in the season. (An important development here is the NCAA’s ruling that everybody gets a free year of eligibility for 2020, regardless of whether they play or how many games they play. Seals can play in all ten games and still effectively get a redshirt year.) Wright is kind of a wild card; he’s obviously a great athlete, but reports seem to indicate that he has a long way to go before he’s ready to be an SEC quarterback. Then again, with the offensive line Vanderbilt is going to be sending out there perhaps a running threat is a good idea.

As far as expectations for the season go, well, I don’t really have any. But if I had to put a goal in place, given the lack of a nonconference schedule and the ridiculousness of all of this, it would probably be hard to feel bad about 3-7 and ending the season knowing who will be the quarterback in 2021. (Are my expectations low? Yes, but then always remember that in a “normal” year Vanderbilt can go 2-6 in the SEC and make a bowl game.)

Moving on, the Hustler also has a guide to where to find former Vanderbilt players in the NFL, and Vanderbilt golfers Abbey Carlson and Auston Kim will now play in the Augusta Women’s Amateur in 2021.

Oh yeah, and Vanderbilt soccer has a schedule.

Actual Sports on TV

All times Central.

Here’s your MLB.TV schedule. Free game of the day: Angels-Rockies at 7:40 PM from Coors Field. Andrew, I assume, has your open thread coming later. Otherwise, feel free to use this for it (along with NBA and NHL and golf and whatever.)

And your SEC Network schedule, where they have made the interesting programming decision to only replay Paul Finebaum once.