Photo courtesy of UCF athletics
With a new offense coming in, Old Dominion will be looking for its quarterback of the future to fit head coach Ricky Rahne’s offense.
That quarterback might not currently be on the Monarchs’ roster.
The possible quarterback of the future, Billy Edwards, was on board for the 2021 recruiting class. Unfortunately for ODU, he flipped to Wake Forest just before National Signing Day.
Here’s a look at the candidates to be under center for ODU in 2021:
Current Quarterbacks on Roster
Stone Smartt, Senior
Smartt transferred to ODU from junior college before the 2019 season. He was hyped by the fan base, but never quite lived up to it in former head coach Bobby Wilder’s system.
In 10 games, Smartt completed 101 of his 177 passes for 1,006 yards and a touchdown. Smartt threw six interceptions, but also ran for five scores.
It may have just been the offense, but Smartt did not look like the answer. However, if a new season started today, Smartt would stand a good chance of taking the first snaps under center.
Hayden Wolff, Redshirt Freshman
Wolff is someone that many were very high on and got to start three games towards the end of the 2019 season. The quarterback from Venice, Fla. completed 75 of his 129 passes. Wolff threw two scores and three interceptions.
Wolff may not be is mobile enough to run the offense the way Rahne wants to run it.
Reese Poffenbarger and Dominique Anthony, Freshmen
These two are grouped together for one reason: we haven’t seen them play. Even from watching practices, it’s tough to come away with anything concrete. Poffenbarger is at ODU as a preferred walk-on and Anthony is on scholarship, for whatever that is worth.
Poffenbarger is from Maryland. He was the Maryland Offensive Player of the Year and completed 68% of his passes in high school and threw for 67 scores.
Anthony is the brother of Donta Anthony, a tight end for the Monarchs, and is also out of Maryland. As a three-star recruit, Anthony threw for 38 scores and six interceptions as a high school senior.
Late Signing Period Targets
Billy Wiles, 3-Star Prospect
Wiles, a former Tulane pledge, decommitted and holds an offer from ODU. According to sources, Wiles has told staff that he is torn between ODU and preferred walk-on offers from Clemson and Maryland.
Wiles is a pro-style quarterback and ranked as a three-star. He’s the 72nd-ranked pro-style quarterback in his class. Wiles ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at Nike’s “The Opening” combine in 2019.
Transfer Portal Possibilities
Darriel Mack, UCF
Mack makes so much sense. A native of Norfolk from Norview High School, Mack is currently coached by a former ODU graduate assistant.
It almost makes too much sense, with only two starters returning on the offensive line but plenty of young talent, the quarterback is going to need to be mobile. That is certainly a trait that Mack possesses.
As a hometown kid, he would also instantly be a fan favorite and could lead his hometown squad to prominence. Mack has been productive when called upon at UCF, but has been buried on the depth chart behind McKenzie Milton and now, Dillon Gabriel.
Hendon Hooker, Virginia Tech
Hooker, a transfer from Virginia Tech, was actually on the roster when the Hokies got exposed in 2018. The Hokies came to Norfolk to play ODU and left 49-35 losers.
Hooker is very mobile, and matched with Ricky Slade and LaLa Davis in the backfield, could look like a video game. What is concerning about Hooker is his huge medical history. Mack has been more injury-free than Hooker, but he would still be a good addition to the Monarchs.
So Who is It?
The projection is that Mack will be the next quarterback for the Monarchs. All the squares fit in square holes and circles fit in circle holes.
As a Norfolk native, there would be no bigger joy than for Mack to lead ODU to the promised land. But, for ODU fans, these next two weeks or so will be critical as Mack and Hooker are likely looking to announce their new homes soon.
Should both declare for ODU, we could really be in for something special. But do not expect to see that happen.