The wait is over. After five months of competition, Nick Stevens was named Colorado State’s starting quarterback for its season opener against Savannah State Sept. 5 on Monday.
CSU head coach Mike Bobo broke the news to Stevens and redshirt freshman Coleman Key, his main competition, this morning.
Stevens, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound redshirt sophomore from Murrieta, California, played sparingly in mop-up duty last season behind Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year Garrett Grayson. In five games during the 2014 season, Stevens completed 15 of 25 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown, a 36-yard screen pass to All-American receiver Rashard Higgins in a blowout win over Tulsa.
The announcement was made Monday morning in a video posted on Twitter that was prepared by the CSU media relations office, in which assistant director of football operations Leah Knight broke the news.
“I thought over the 26 practices we’ve had, 15 (in the spring) and 11 (in the fall), Nick was just the guy,” CSU head coach Mike Bobo said after practice Monday. “Coleman has had his moments, and the last five days I thought he’s been really good and he has to continue that. But I would say consistency is the main thing (Nick had).”
Throughout spring and fall camp, Bobo praised Stevens for his work in the film room, as well as his ability to pick up CSU’s new, no-huddle offense. During Saturday’s closed scrimmage at Hughes Stadium, Stevens was an efficient 15-for-21 for 198 yards and one touchdown. Though Key is bigger and possesses a stronger arm, Bobo consistently commented throughout the first week of fall camp about Stevens’ ability to execute and get the ball to CSU’s array of playmakers.
Despite naming Stevens the starter, Bobo anticipates Key will continue to push Stevens each day in practice, knowing that an injury could thrust him into the starting role.
“I talk about it all the time, in every setting that I have with these guys that we’re going to compete here at CSU,” Bobo said. “That’s the same at every position, but at the same time I don’t want Nick looking over his shoulder thinking if he makes one mistake he’s coming out. But he needs to know that Coleman is there and is going to push him, and he’s going to have to respond and keep his level of play up to help this team get better.”
Going forward, Bobo said that Stevens will take 75-85% of the snaps with the first-team offense, but Key will likely take the remainder of the snaps with the “1’s” and work primarily with the No. 2 offense.
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.