TWO WEEKS after announcing his departure from N.C. State, former Jefferson quarterback Bryant Shirreffs has found a new college home.
Shirreffs is headed to the University of Connecticut to play for first-year coach Bob Diaco. The 2012 Class AA Offensive Player of the Year will sit out this year with a chance to compete for the starting quarterback job in 2015.
“I’m really excited just to have the opportunity to be in the hunt and be one of the quarterbacks on the team,” said Shirreffs, who helped lead Jefferson to the 2012 Class AA state title. “I’m just going to work as hard as I can this year to prepare myself for next year.”
Shirreffs established a lot of friendships at N.C. State, but Jacoby Brissett was the presumed starting quarterback for the Wolfpack for the next two years. Shirreffs felt he had to move on, though it was tough to leave his teammates at N.C. State.
“That couple of weeks where I didn’t know where I was going was one of the toughest couple of weeks that I’ve ever experienced,” Shirreffs said. “It was pretty rough, but I feel a good bit better now.”
Because Shirreffs is transferring to an FBS school, NCAA rules require that he sit out a year. But Shirreffs will use the season to develop as a quarterback and ready himself for spring practice in 2015.
“I think it will help that I have this whole year to really get the offense down and just get to know the team and try to be a leader without being eligible,” Shirreffs said.
Shirreffs’ competition next year at quarterback will likely include Casey Cochran, Tim Boyle and Tyler Davis, a UConn commit who’s expected to join the Huskies in 2015.
“The door is open,” Shirreffs’ father, John, said of the quarterback competition in 2015. “They’ve said, ‘hey we want you to come in here and we want you to be ready come spring.’ That’s all you can ask.”
A number of programs sought Shirreffs’ services, but he picked the Huskies over Temple, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Yale and Penn.
UConn’s offense is similar to what Shirreffs ran at Jefferson, a combination of both spread and pro-style schemes.
“From what their offensive coordinator talked to us about, and talked to Bryant about — and the head coach — is that he fits perfect for what they want to do,” John Shirreffs said.
“It’s very similar to what we did at Jefferson,” the younger Shirreffs said.
Shirreffs will head to Connecticut next week to start a three-week mini-mester class schedule. He said the 1,000-mile distance from home won’t be too much of a concern, pointing out that it will take him about as long to fly to Storrs, Conn. as it took him to drive to Raleigh, N.C.
“The only difference is it will get a lot colder in the winter, and there will be different accents up there, but I’ll get used to that,” he said. “I’m excited.”