2011 Intro: Donte McDonald

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --- After an all-conference season at wide receiver, Donte McDonald will make the move back to quarterback for his senior season.

"It's just another challenge for me," McDonald said. "I love a challenge… I've played quarterback before, just never as a starter on the varsity.

"I'm very anxious. I've worked very hard to get to this point."

McDonald is no strange to challenges or position changes. The 6-foot, 190-pounder has played quarterback for much of his football career, but was moved to wide receiver just for last season.

"He was too good an athlete to just sit on the bench and backup our quarterback," Terry Sanford High School's head football coach Wayne Inman said. "So we felt like if we put him out there at a wideout, not only could he help us offensively, but he would get an understanding of the offense that we try to run, which would prepare him for this year.

"And every now and then we'd get to the end of a football game, we'd pull Jordan [Vann] out and put [McDonald] in to give him some experience but also to let the other team know what we have coming back."

McDonald led Sanford in receiving with 33 catches for 423 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, in his limited quarterback opportunities, McDonald completed one of his two pass attempts for a 47-yard touchdown.

Make no mistake about it: McDonald is a quarterback playing quarterback, not an athlete playing quarterback.

"He's a quarterback and plays it well," Inman said. "He doesn't put the touch on the ball that Jordan did, but he has a stronger arm. He can throw it down the field better than Jordan. I don't think he reads coverages as well as Jordan does, but that will come with experience and off-season workouts. By the time the season rolls around, I think we'll have him where we want him. Plus, with him under center, he is like having another tailback [in your backfield] taking the snap. Jordan ran well, but he doesn't run as well as Donte."

With that running ability, the quarterback will be more of an integral part of Sanford's rushing attack this season.

"We'll concentrate more on the read-zone," Inman said. "We had it in this year and ran it this year, but we had the quarterback keep it just to keep [the defense] honest. But it will be more of a threat [this coming season].

"With A.J. [Clanton] having the season that he had, as soon as A.J. makes a move one way, [the defense] will flow that way. And then Donte has the ability to keep it and go the opposite way."

McDonald's recruiting stock has benefited from his ability to play both quarterback and wide receiver. He says most schools are recruiting him as a receiver, but some have just labeled him an athlete.

"If you had a team like West Virginia, they're going to want him as a quarterback," Inman said. "If you have a team like East Carolina or Tennessee or [North] Carolina, they probably want him as a wide receiver. So it all depends."

Beside the four aforementioned schools, McDonald is receiving interest from Clemson, Duke, Illinois, Marshall, and NC State.

To further assist his recruiting stock, McDonald plans to attend several camps this summer, including Clemson's, East Carolina's, UNC's and NC State's.

"I'm just trying to get more known," McDonald said.

Last fall, McDonald attended a football game at UNC for his only recruiting trip. The visit made a strong impression on him.

"I really fell in love with UNC when I went to their campus," McDonald said. "The facilities are great. Of course everybody knows about the tradition. And the people where great – I love the coaching staff."

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