Colorado State quarterbacks favor of competition for starting role

Eddie Herz

There is nothing like a little competition. When it comes to Colorado State’s quarterback position, there is no shortage of it.

Now, there are three potential candidates for the starting quarterback job. Washington graduate transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels, redshirt freshman Justice McCoy, and redshirt sophomore Collin Hill all have realistic shots at earning the job.

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Carta-Samuels, who appeared in eight games for the Huskies last season, has been coming along quickly in terms of learning head coach Mike Bobo’s pro-style offense.

“Everyday it’s just getting more comfortable and slowing down a lot,” Carta-Samuels said. “Everyday it’s just getting easier. I feel really good with where I’m at right now. I just have to keep pushing.”

Carta-Samuels could have chosen a number of schools for his final season of collegiate football. It is not as if Carta-Samuels would not have had to battle for a starting spot at other schools. But, the magnitude of CSU’s quarterback battle is undoubtedly higher than some of his alternative options.

With that in consideration, choosing to play for the Rams brought about more risk and was less cut and dry for the quarterback. However, this is never something that worried the graduate transfer. In fact, Carta-Samuels prefers having competition and is very confident in his abilities.

“I definitely want competition,” Carta-Samuels said. “It pushes me to get better. If there is no competition I might get complacent a little bit and actually feel a little comfortable. Sometimes that’s good but really you want to be uncomfortable and have that competition so you are always keeping the pedal on it and always getting better.”

While Carta-Samuels anticipates gaining an edge from the competition, McCoy has already reaped the benefits. The New Orleans native entered spring camp as CSU’s second option behind Collin Hill. By the end of camp, McCoy was the top guy for the Rams.

Though this may not have been the case if Hill did not re-tear his ACL, McCoy still had to duke it out with junior J.C. Robles, redshirt freshman Judd Erickson, and true freshman Salvetti D’Ascoli.

Like Carta-Samuels, McCoy is still in the process of learning CSU’s playbook. McCoy definitely has a ways to go. But, responding positively to spring’s quarterback battle has given him the reassurance to push on.

“It really boosted my confidence level knowing that I have the chance at being the starter,” McCoy said.

Carta-Samuels and McCoy share similar opinions on the matter. In other words, McCoy prefers having a little of a battle to earn his job.

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“Of course I enjoy having competition,” McCoy said. “Even if it wasn’t K.J. I still would enjoy having a competition with Collin, or J.C. or Patrick (O’Brien) or Judd (Erickson).”

Hill is close to reaching full health again and should not be counted out. Hill may not start to begin the season; however, the redshirt sophomore knows Bobo’s offense more than Carta-Samuels and McCoy. That could end up going a long way if problems arise for either of the two quarterbacks.

Regardless, CSU’s quarterback situation sets itself up as advantageous for every player involved. Not only do the players recognize that, but Bobo does as well. Bobo was formerly the starting quarterback at the University of Georgia and had to persevere through similar scenarios.

“We compete at every other position,” Bobo said. “I don’t know why we wouldn’t compete at quarterback. When I got better as a player it was when I had to compete. They sat me on the bench and said it wasn’t my job and I had to compete. From that point on I’ve always been that way. If a guy can’t handle that then he can’t handle the fourth quarter pressure.”