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Ex-Wofford QB wanted to be a Citadel grad assistant. He might end up as Bulldogs starter.

Peyton Derrick

Former Wofford quarterback Peyton Derrick (with ball) is now on The Citadel's roster. Provided/Wofford Athletics 

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Shortly after graduating from Wofford last December, Peyton Derrick stopped by The Citadel's football offices to drop off his resumé.

Bulldogs head coach Brent Thompson was not in at the time, but the former Wofford quarterback wanted him to know that he was interested in being a graduate assistant coach at The Citadel.

Derrick's timing was interesting.

Just a day or so earlier last February, Bulldogs' quarterback Jaylan Adams paid his own visit to Thompson's office and told the coach that he was going to enter the NCAA's transfer portal. That decision would leave the Bulldogs without a QB who had taken a college snap entering the 2022 season.

"We were distraught," Thompson said of his reaction to Adams' decision. "But obviously, we had to move on from it."

Thompson was aware of the situation at South Carolina last season, when graduate assistant coach Zeb Noland ended up as the Gamecocks' starting quarterback. And he noted on Derrick's resumé that the Wofford grad still had a year of eligibility left.

"That did cross my mind when I saw that Peyton had a year of eligibility left," Thompson said July 28 at the Southern Conference media day. "I thought, this could end up being a similar situation."

Five months later, the 6-2, 205-pound Derrick, who had been working at Home Depot, is on the Bulldogs' roster as a graduate transfer and primed to compete with redshirt freshman Ahmad Green for the Bulldogs' starting QB job.

"He's been able to work out with the team this summer and I think he's fit in well with the guys," said Thompson, whose team was picked to finish eighth in the SoCon by league coaches and ninth in media voting. "That was my No. 1 concern.

"When people have asked me about taking graduate transfers, I have usually said, 'Probably everywhere but quarterback.' But we're in a unique situation now where I think we have a chance to be a good football team, but we're missing a few pieces. And one of those was quarterback."

Citadel fans should remember Derrick, a native of Conway who started six games for the Terriers' last season. One of those games was against the Bulldogs, when he tied a school record with four touchdown passes. He added a running TD as The Citadel prevailed by 45-44 in overtime.

For the game, Derrick was 7 of 12 for 181 yards and four scores with one interception, and ran six times for 54 yards and a TD. He threw TD passes of 75 and 27 yards to Alec Holt and 23 yards to Ryan Ingram.

For the season, Derrick passed for 814 yards and seven TDs, and ran for 262 yards and a score. He began his college career at Appalachian State, where he played in six games and completed the first 10 passes of his career.

Thompson said that Derrick will compete for the starting job with Green, who started the spring game last February after Adams' departure (he ended up at Norfolk State).

"With Ahmad getting all the reps in spring, he's really improved," Thompson said. "He's a tough, smart player. They have different attributes, do things differently, but I think here's room in the offense for either one of them."

Derrick was schooled in option offense by former Wofford offensive coordinator Wade Lang, and current Terriers head coach Josh Conklin had good things to say about his former QB.

"Good kid, and did everything we asked," Conklin said. "He got put in kind of a tough situation last year when we lost Wade Lang (to retirement), because we changed the offense. If I had to go back, I would have kept what Wade was doing and re-evaluate at the end of the season.

"That was a mistake that I made, and I can live with that now. But Peyton is a great kid and I think he'll do a grat job down there, and that offense will probably suit him better in terms of the skill set."

Derrick is one of 11 grad-student transfers to join the Bulldogs for the 2022 season. Those include Derrick's former Wofford teammate Rett Russell (6-3, 205), a linebacker who had 21 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss last season; defensive back Carson Walter (6-0, 204), a second-team All-America at Division III Birmingham Southern; and DB Dwight Lawrence, who started nine games last year at Stetson.

• The Citadel had one player named to the first-team preseason all-SoCon squad by league coaches in defensive back Destin Mack. Offensive linemen Tereis Drayton, defensive lineman Carson Hatchett and linebacker Marquise Blount were named to the second team.

• Other grad-student transfers on the Bulldogs' roster are DB Travon Wallace (6-0, 190) from North Carolina Central; WR Kam White (6-1, 190) from Jacksonville State; fullback Orlando Jones (5-10, 242) from SMU; slotback Ricky Conway (5-10, 180) from Long Island University; lineman Jamal Camp (6-2, 289) from Georgia Tech; tight end Alex Sloan (6-3, 219) from Holy Cross; kicker/punter Zach Sterr (6-2, 230) from Duquesne; and defensive lineman Josh Adado from Northwood.

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