HBCU Spring Football: QB Battle Looming At Shaw

Shaw enters 2013 spring football with a solid returning cast, led by Darrell Evans.

What Happened In 2012: Shaw struggled to find consistency in coach Robert Massey’s first season, going 4-6. Shaw ended the season with a three-game losing streak, highlighted by a heartbreaking 43-42 loss to crosstown rival St. Augustine’s in the season finale.

Who Won’t Be Back: Shaw will definitely miss quarterback James Stallons, who shattered the Bears’ single-season passing yardage record with 3,101 yards and tossed 22 touchdown passes. Shaw also took heavy hits on the defensive side of the ball, losing it’s top three tacklers from last season: Oscar Petty, Keith Lomon and Darius Moffett.

Who Will Need To Step Up: Other than Stallons, just about all the pieces of last year’s offense are still in place. Running back Marquise Grizzle finished with over 800 yards and seven touchdowns in just nine games. Two of those touchdowns came against Livingstone as Grizzle rushed for 229 yards. All seven of Shaw’s top pass catchers return, highlight by receiver Derek Grant.

The position battle to watch on offense will be at quarterback. Rising senior Quinshon Odom preceded Stallons as starting quarterback, but threw just one pass last season. He will have some competition from Trevius Folston. The 6-7 quarterback was one of eight junior college players that signed with Shaw last month.

“We’re bringing in Trevius Folston from Jacksonville University to compete with Quinshon Odom,” Massey said.  “I think that’s going to be a strong position for us this year.”

Look for defensive lineman Evan Strange to get plenty of attention from opponents as the rising junior recorded at least one sack in each of the Bears last five games, finishing with eight for the year. Also returning is senior defensive back Darrell Evans, who is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. He scored five touchdowns, two on defense, two on kick returns and one on offense in 2012. Junior college transfers Michael Douglas, Traneir Fraiser, Corey Johnson and Thomas Street should help out as well.

Who They’ll Play: Shaw will open the season at home in Durham County Stadium, hosting the same Charleston (WV) team they lost last season’s opener. They will also take on Virginia Union and Chowan, members of the CIAA’s Northern Division.

What To Expect: The team’s biggest question mark is at quarterback. Odom has starting experience at Shaw, but obviously Massey thinks Folston can compete with him. This spring will likely go a long way towards figuring out who the starter is. If the quarterback play is solid, Shaw could be a sleeper in the CIAA Southern Division. Massey has put together a sizable recruiting class with a good mix of high school seniors and JUCO transfers. Add the solid talent Shaw has coming back on both sides of the ball, all signs point to a significantly better second season for Massey’s Bears.

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