Senior Andrew McDonald will be tossing spirals when the New Mexico State Aggies kick off their season Saturday in Austin.
But he may just be a placeholder.
At least until freshman King Davis III is ready to take over.
McDonald, the son of former USC and Cleveland Browns quarterback Paul McDonald, has completed just one pass in his Aggie career since transferring from Santa Ana College, yet is still the most experienced quarterback the Aggies have.
“His dad was a great college quarterback,” first-year head coach Doug Martin said. “He was raised on college football. He manages games very well. I think he gives us a real stable influence.”
Martin is also interested in the dual-threat ability McDonald brings.
“He is a lot more mobile than people think,” Martin said. “He runs really well.”
But Texas shouldn’t just be paying attention to the starter, because Davis will play.
“King Davis will certainly play,” Martin said. “And it will be in the game early.”
Davis has just as strong of an arm and is just as accurate as McDonald, if not more so. But Davis is a raw talent. He is exciting, but raw. And the main reason Davis isn’t under center week one is because of his own upside.
“The thing about a young quarterback is more are ruined than made early in their career,” Martin said. “I can’t just throw him out in Austin. Whether or not he was ready, we wouldn’t start him. We can bring him off the bench and nurture him.”
But eventually, more than likely by mid-season, Davis will be the Aggie starter.
“King has the most potential to really become the quarterback you can build a program with,” Martin said.
LB Banard goes from overlooked walk-on to starter
Most walk-ons never see the field.
And in football, most walk-ons never even get the chance to travel with the team.
But on Saturday, redshirt junior Clint Barnard, a walk-on, will be lining up opposite of David Ash.
Just like many other Division I athletes, Barnard was an all-state high school player and led his team to two state championships.
But the 6-foot-2, 215 pound linebacker didn’t play the same type of football you watched on Friday nights.
His town has a population of less than 700.
The high school football program there wasn’t big enough to have 11-on-11 football, so Barnard had to play in an eight-man league.
“When I played in middle school, it was actually just six-man football,” Barnard said. “I didn’t play eight-man football until my freshman year in high school, when the state changed us from six to eight, but football is football no matter if its six-man, eight-man or 11-man, the fundamentals of the game never change.”
The eight-man league means less talent, less exposure and a less of a chance to play Division I football.
Despite being named all-state at both quarterback and linebacker, only Division II schools showed any interest.
“I had lots of offers from Division II schools,” Barnard said, “but my mentality was always that I was going to make it, somehow, some way.”
Barnard accepted a scholarship to Division II New Mexico Highlands — as a quarterback. But he wasn’t good enough to crack the starting lineup or even travel with the team and ended up being redshirted. And when a new coach came the following year and moved Barnard to the defense, he began to shine.
“I had a good year as a redshirt freshman at Highlands and that is when I decided to come to New Mexico State,” Barnard said. “I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I could play at the
One year later, after continuing his impressive play during spring practices and becoming eligible, Barnard has positioned himself to become the Aggies’ starting middle linebacker this season.
“This was always my goal, to become, not just a starter, but a real force,” Barnard said. “I don’t want to just make it, I actually want to do something with it and make my mark. One thing I always tell myself is that I never want to just settle, for anything.”