It’s been 11 years since Vanderbilt Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jay Cutler donned the black and gold and became the second player since 1986 to represent Vanderbilt as a first-round draft pick. Now Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason believes the program’s next great quarterback is on the roster.
However, that next potentially great Commodores QB will have to earn the starting job first. Johnny McCrary’s decision to transfer leaves Vandy with a two-man competition between sophomore Kyle Shurmur and junior Wade Freebeck. Between the two, Mason believes his team has more quarterback talent than it’s had in two decades, and that includes Cutler’s tenure from 2002-05.
“I believe that we have, on campus now, more collective quarterback talent than Vanderbilt’s had in the last 20 years,” Mason told Campus Rush’s Zac Ellis. “But it’s got to transfer from spring ball to summer to fall camp and into the 2016 season.”
Shurmur started five games last season and took the starting job from McCrary near the end of last season. He completed only 42.7 percent of his passes for 503 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Freebeck may be talented, but he hasn’t received much of a chance to show it. He threw only six passes last year, completing two with an interception.
“For a third-year guy like Wade, he’s watched guys, he’s had the chance to play, he’s lost the opportunity to play, and now he’s working extremely hard to make sure he’s the guy,” Mason told Ellis. “For Kyle, he had to play as a freshman and gained nothing but valuable experience in those games.”
It would seem fitting that in the same year the Commodores inducted Cutler into their Hall of Fame, they would discover their best quarterback since No. 6. But first, one of these talented quarterbacks will have to win an extremely tight competition.
“There’s almost a hair whisker that separates these two,” Mason told Ellis.