Sunday afternoon news broke that Johnny Stanton, the junior college transfer from Saddleback College by way of the University of Nebraska, was named the Rebels starting quarterback for the opening game of the 2016 season over Kurt Palandech. The Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported and I have confirmed that Stanton has been named the start for Thursday nights home opener against Jackson St. The Rebel's quarterback race has been a tight one between Stanton and Palandech with both players being named the co-starter when the first depth chart was released earlier in the week. The battle for the starting position has been tight since spring practice and with UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez telling the media repeatedly that the race is neck and neck.
For the 10th time in the last 13 years UNLV will have a different starting quarterback than the previous season to start the for Rebels in their opening week.
Stanton has all the tools you look for when you are looking for a starting QB. He has the size (6'2/245), the athleticism and a rocket arm. He also has that quality that can not be equated by numbers. It is a measurable that certain players have that draw teammates to them nd gains their trust and belief that he can lead them to victory. Stanton has always been known as a "dude" in the locker room and that goes a long way to win teammates over. Stanton is a native of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, and was rated one of the best dual-threat QBs in the country coming out of Santa Margarita High School. He chose to attend Nebraska over Oregon, Oregon St. and Wisconsin and spent two seasons with the Cornhuskers, playing in just two games as a redshirt freshman. Stanton then transferred to and earned junior college first-team All-American honors last season at Saddleback College after completing 63 percent of his passes (293-for-465) for 3,471 yards and 27 TDs and rushing for 747 yards and 12 TDs in 2015.
Rebels head coach Tony Sanchez was quoted as saying that both Stanton and Palandech would play in the opener. Palandech is more of a runner then a passer, but had the experience running the Sanchez's offense, which was evident in the spring practices.
Neither quarterback stepped up and took control of the starting job which led Sanchez to declare both players as co-starters In the scrimmage on August 19th, both Stanton and Palandech threw red-zone interceptions to the displeasure of the Rebels coaching staff.
The Rebels own the season on Thursday September 1st at 7pm at Sam Boyd Stadium against the Jackson State Tigers.