On the heels of a National Semifinal run in 2010, Head Coach Jeff Monken is putting together an impressive roster in hopes of making another deep playoff run. Over the next few weeks, we'll dig in to the depth charts as they stand today, and look at some possible changes as we approach Spring practice. We'll start the series behind center with the cog that makes the triple option run.
Starter - SR Jaybo Shaw - As the only player with any option experience during Summer workouts, Georgia Tech transfer Jaybo Shaw was the de facto starter as soon as he stepped on campus. Shaw battled nagging injuries all year, but performed admirably in leading the Eagles to within one game of a National Championship game appearance. Playing the role of field general, Jaybo's stats were not spectacular, but he made solid decisions and spread the ball around to his playmakers, in leading the #4 rushing attack in FCS (261 ypg rushing). Shaw carried the ball 209 times for 514 yards and 16 touchdowns, and went 71 of 140 passing (51%) for 1233 yards, 5 TDs and 5 INTs. Jaybo Shaw is the clear leader of the team heading into Spring practice, and barring injury, it is not expected that he will lose that job.
Backup 1A - SO Jerick McKinnon - McKinnon backed up Jaybo Shaw as a true freshman, and performed reasonably well when called upon. He saw significant time at quarterback against The Citadel (35 carries for 182 yards), Samford (17 carries for 39 yards) and South Carolina State (23 carries for 42 yards), but also saw the field at A-Back, most notably in a 101 yard effort against Delaware. McKinnon undoubtedly has the raw talent, but he seemed to struggle with his reads, and it wasn't pretty when he was asked to pass. It is expected that he will play a much larger role in 2011 at the A-Back position.
Backup 1B - RS FR Ezayi Youyoute - If McKinnon makes the switch to A-Back, it will be because Ezayi Youyoute (a-SIGH you-YUTE) has made the strides that the coaches expect. With a redshirt year now under his belt, and reportedly a year of making people look silly on the scout team, Youyoute brings a more traditional look to the option QB position. Youyoute saw only two carries against Savannah State (32 yards) before he was redshirted.
3rd String - FR Prince McJunkins - A candidate for the All-Name team, McJunkins was a surprise committment out of Oklahoma. In high school, he ran the option out of the shotgun, so he will need to make the transition to under center. His arm is solid, going 121 for 169 (72%) for 2,132 yards and 33 touchdowns with only three interceptions during his senior year. With the depth that the Eagles are stocking, he will almost certainly be redshirted.