Michael: Make no mistake, CSU football has a QB competition
As the second week of fall camp begins, the debate over who should the starting quarterback for Colorado State football is really only beginning to heat up.
Many assume that Washington graduate transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels is a lock for the starting gig. In the little action that we have seen of him this summer, he certainly has commanded himself like a starting quarterback. Here is the thing about veteran quarterbacks though-they all tend to make a good impression with the media.
Sure, Cara-Samuels speaks with confidence when addressing the local reporters and his arm strength is not in question. But, if all it takes to be crowned the starter is throwing a nice deep ball in shorts and speaking confidently to the media, Faton Bauta would have been a Heisman winner in 2016.
Do not get me wrong, Carta-Samuels looks like the real deal, so I do not want to imply his time at CSU will be a bust. However, I will recommend tapping the brakes on his hype before we have even seen him play a down of real football.
Carta-Samuels may have simply been buried on a loaded depth chart at Washington. And with a legitimate chance to start, maybe he comes to Fort Collins and balls out in the Mountain West. There may also be flaws in his game that we have not yet been able to identify. We will learn the answers to all of these questions over time, but it would be foolish to completely write off Collin Hill already.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, 'There is no way that this kid can suit up after tearing his ACL last spring, right?" Five months ago I would have been thinking the same thing, but after seeing how hard Hill has worked through the rehab process, I honestly would not be surprised if Hill finds a way to win the starting gig this season, even if he is not starting under center against Hawaii on Aug. 25.
Currently sporting a new beard and a whole lot of hair, Hill has worked in limited action during the early stages of camp and looks like he is getting closer to being ready by the day. "He says he is not shaving or cutting his hair until he is really ready to go. He's in training mode like Rocky was for Drago, " Mike Bobo said.
Obviously this scenario would contend on Hill being healthy enough to effectively play the position, but considering he is currently at about 75-80 percent according Bobo, it is not ludicrous to think Hill will play this season.
"We have not completely turned him loose yet," Bobo said. "But he is doing drops under center, throwing routes on air that way. When he has thrown the ball, he has thrown it really well. He's engaged in the meetings and being a good teammate right now. But, again-the kid is getting himself ready so that when he is cleared, he is going to be ready to compete."
In the five games he played in 2016, Hill definitely looked like a capable Division 1 quarterback, completing 75-of-129 passes (58 percent), with eight touchdowns and only two interceptions. What may ultimately benefit Hill the most in this competition is Bobo's admiration for him though.
"You want to talk about a grounded young man, that is grounded in his faith, in his family and playing football. That is why he has been able to handle these two injuries," Bobo said. "When you talk about the kind of people you want your kids to look up to, that's him."
Bobo explained that he rarely talks about football players in front of his kids, especially his daughters, whom Bobo joked about not wanting to marry a football player when they are older. But, Bobo frequently talks about Hill and his family has great admiration for Hill as player and as a man.
Hill has been Bobo's guy since the day he arrived on campus and when Bobo speaks about him, it is clear that he genuinely loves and respects him as a person, not just a football player. Hill has handled an incredibly difficult situation with a lot of maturity, and the guys in the locker room are comfortable with him. These are all factors that should not be ignored.
At the end of the day, the best man for the job is going to be starting under center. Whether that will be Carta-Samuels or Hill has yet to be determined but the intensity is only going to pick up from here.
PHOTO: Javon Harris | Rocky Mountain Collegian