The Citadel's Darique Hampton took his first snaps at quarterback in a college football game last week, and he's likely to get his first start at QB this week against Samford.
But the 5-10, 162-pound redshirt sophomore has more experience at the position than Bulldog fans might think.
Hampton played quarterback at Goose Creek High School, and was actually in the QB room at The Citadel for his first two seasons. He was moved to slotback last fall after some opt-outs and injuries at the position.
So it's not a complete surprise that Hampton acquitted himself pretty well in a 28-21 loss to ETSU on March 20, after starting QB Jaylan Adams suffered a concussion in the third quarter.
Hampton hit 4 of 9 passes for 72 yards and led the Bulldogs on a 12-play, 60-yard drive to pull within 28-21 in the fourth quarter.
On that drive, Hampton completed passes of 10 and 11 yards to Raleigh Webb and 19 yards to Cole Owens, then scored himself on a 4-yard TD run. Even on two incomplete passes, he at least gave the 6-2 Webb a chance to go up and get the ball. He also was sacked twice in the game to net just five yards on eight carries.
"Darique is a calm, cool customer," coach Brent Thompson said. "I think he did a great job under tough circumstances to be able to come in and move the team downfield.
"He made a couple of good decisions and took care of the football. He's been around for a while and knows the offense. I feel good about him taking over and about us being able to get the game plan in his favor, as well."
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs (0-4 in the Southern Conference this spring) will be very thin at QB as they host Samford (2-3) on March 27 at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Adams is in the concussion protocol and is questionable for this week's game, Thompson said. Slotback Cooper Wallace is the third-team QB, and is available, Thompson said. But Wallace, a QB at West Florence High School, did not play the entire game against ETSU.
Cornerback Javonte Middleton, another high school quarterback, will be the emergency QB and will get some snaps at quarterback during practice this week. Cornerback Wilson Hendricks is another high school QB who got some reps at the position in preseason practice.
"We've got plenty of quarterbacks on the roster," Thompson said. "I've just been moving them all around ... There's a reason why we recruit a lot of quarterbacks around here."
No matter who is the QB, the Bulldogs must get off to a better start against Samford, which lost, 38-37, in overtime to VMI last week.
The Citadel allowed TDs on the opponents' first, first and third plays in their first three games, then topped that against ETSU by giving up a scoop-and-score TD on its own second play.
Almost 25 percent of the 116 points the Bulldogs have allowed in SoCon play this spring have been given up in the first four minutes of the game, 18 percent in the first minute. After the first minute, The Citadel has been outscored by just 95-87. After the first four minutes, it's 88-87.
"Maybe we should just take a knee for a while and figure it out," Thompson said. "If you've got the answers to that, I'd love to be able to know ... Maybe we're snakebit a little bit. It's been a combination of bad things, but we'll get it figured out."
• Thompson said he did not request further action from the SoCon on the targeting call on ETSU's Mike Price for the hit that sidelined Adams.
"It was called correctly on the field," Thompson said. "It was exactly what they are trying to eliminate from the game. He was a defenseless runner being tackled by other guys ... And at no time has it been legal to strike with the crown of your helmet. Hopefully, we'll start to eliminate those out of the game."