Then there were four.
Michigan State's quarterback competition looked to be at three when last week's fall practice concluded, with redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor throwing his name in the ring.
Saturday's scrimmage brought with it the addition of freshman Damion Terry to the now four-man race.
"You can assess at the beginning of the scrimmage, it was a three-horse race and at the end of the scrimmage, it was a four-horse race," head coach Mark Dantonio said. "I think that's the fair thing to assess right now."
Terry went 10 of 14 passing for 240 yards and three touchdowns Saturday. Dantonio said some of those reps came against with the first team as Terry showed that he was moving the ball and creating – two points of emphasis throughout fall camp.
"As the scrimmage progressed he did well with the threes," Dantonio said. "I sort of shrugged my shoulders and put him with the twos; sort of shrugged my shoulders and put him with the ones. It's not that complicated.
"You're gonna play the guys that move the football down the field that don't make mistakes, that can create. I've said that all along. He demonstrated that."
"So I hate to say that it's a four-man race or anything like that, you know. There's obviously differences in who has the most knowledge and things of that nature. This is about consistency over a period of time. But you have to give people the opportunities and I've said that all along. And I think that's refreshing, no pun intended, when a freshman gets an opportunity. Because it proves that what we say is correct. We're gonna give everybody an opportunity. And we're gonna try to be very consistent and fair about this in all respects. And our players, hopefully they understand that.
With Terry now in the mix, Dantonio said the Spartans need to see if he can be consistent following his performance in the scrimmage.
"That's what we have to look at, is it a one-time thing or is the consistency there?" he said. "I think for a freshman, the learning curve is so big. Where you're at on practice 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 is distinctly different from where you're at in practice 16, 17, 18, 19. That's what we have to find out because I think we need consistency. But I think there's no question he made some big plays, he made some big-time throws and that's exciting to watch."
Dantonio said in the process of seeking "consistency over a period of time" from the quarterbacks, all four will get opportunities in Monday's practice.
"I want to see everybody getting reps with the ones and the twos, or the twos and the ones," he said, "and try and make it equal. But at some point in time they're gonna have to stand on what they've done."