Who Will Be The Guy?

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dave Doeren had to know he would be asked it... the question all Pack fans want to know the answer to. Who is going to be the starting quarterback for NC State this season?

Dave Doeren had to know he would be asked it... the question all Pack fans want to know the answer to. Who is going to be the starting quarterback for NC State this season?

"I hope I have a plan," he remarked.

Pete Thomas

Right now, the plan is five players will compete for the starting job.

Junior Peter Thomas and sophomore Manny Stocker could have a leg up on the competition given they were able to go through spring practice learning the Wolfpack's offense.

Thomas started for Colorado State prior to transferring to NC State in 2012, and over the two seasons he passed for 4,269 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing 63.5% of his passes.

He broke the CSU single-season record with a 64.7% completion percentage as a freshman, and he had three games where he passed for over 300 yards (including 387 against San Jose State) and three games with three touchdown passes.

Stocker didn't receive any meaningful snaps in 2012 as Mike Glennon's backup, a job he won after enrolling early as a freshman.

"Coming out of the spring Pete was ahead of Manny," said Doeren. "He was a better decision maker at this point. Not that Manny can't catch him, but that's where we finished this spring.

"Pete has more game experience than Manny. Manny should have redshirted and just couldn't because they didn't have the numbers, with transfers and things that happened in the program."

Bryant Shirreffs

The Wolfpack also had two true freshmen enroll over the smmer, Jefferson (GA) standout Bryant Shirreffs and New Bern (NC) native Josh Taylor, a preferred walk-on.

Shirreffs passed for 2,369 yards and 18 touchdowns with just seven interceptions during his senior season, and he also rushed for 1,372 yards and 20 touchdowns to lead Jefferson to a state title.

Taylor passed for 2,300 yards and 25 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,159 yards and 17 more scores to lead New Bern, an in-state power, to a title. Listed at just 5-foot-11, he was overlooked by Division I programs because of his height, but Doeren included him in the discussion when talking about the quarterback competition.

"We also had two freshmen that just came in, Bryant Shirreffs and Josh Taylor that were state champions last year in high school," he stated. "They are very mobile and very intelligent. Both of them were 4.0 students that have extremely good football aptitude. So, to say that they can't compete right away wouldn't be fair."

The wildcard is Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell.

A terrific athlete, the 6-foot-4, 239-pounder appeared in 21 games with three starts in his three-year career. He caught 17 passes for 272 yards (while playing wide receiver) and completed 25-of-43 passing for 332 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 23 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

Josh Taylor

He mainly served as a backup to Tyler Wilson and Ryan Mallett, who are currently in the National Football League.

A redshirt senior, Mitchell graduated this summer and chose to use his final year of eligibility at NC State.

"Brandon Mitchell is a unique guy," said Doeren. "He's been behind some NFL quarterbacks at Arkansas, but he was such a good athlete that he played on their basketball team and played wide receiver in the SEC. He threw two touchdowns in their spring game that they just had.

"He's very big, very athletic, very competitive. He's a very good leader. I would say going into fall camp, I haven't been able to watch Brandon play in our offense yet so it's hard to say he's ahead of anybody or behind anybody."

"We added Brandon to add more competition for Pete," Doeren added. "Those two being the oldest are probably the front runners, but I wouldn't count out the freshman. We'll get into camp, and all five guys will get reps. The older guys will get more reps at first."

Brandon Mitchell

Doeren hasn't ruled out playing two quarterbacks this season.

"I look forward to the competition," he stated. "I want to see all five guys early on and we'll limit it to two. If we have to play with two guys we will.

"I think every coach in the country will tell you he'd prefer to not do that, and I would follow suit, but we will do what we have to do to win. If two quarterbacks is where it ends up, it's where it ends up."

"Both systems have shown they work in college football," he added. "I've never been a part of a two-QB system as a head coach, but I've only been a coach for two years. It doesn't scare me. As the head coach, I want to put the best possible formula out there for us to win. If that's two guys that is OK. When I got here there were two quarterbacks and now we have five, so my odds have improved."

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