Football: Shirreffs wins quarterback battle, will start season opener

UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs calls out to his team during a practice on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, in Storrs, Connecticut. (Jessica Hill/AP)

Redshirt sophomore Bryant Shirreffs has won the quarterback competition and will start Thursday’s season opener against Villanova, UConn football head coach Bob Diaco announced on Sunday afternoon. 

“Bryant Shirreffs won the job and has performed well,” Diaco said. “He hasn’t played in a football game in a long time, so we’re not going to heap too much pressure or praise on him at this point. We’re just going to let him be him. But he’s had a strong spring, winter, spring, summer and fall camp so we’re looking forward to turning the keys of the car over to him to let him drive it.” 

Shirreffs was in a battle with junior Tim Boyle, who is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, throughout camp, but Diaco said that Shirreffs’ eventually prevailed due in large part to his decision making.

Shirreffs, listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 lbs., transferred from North Carolina State after his freshman season and had to sit out 2014 due to NCAA transfer rules. During his time at NC State, Shirreffs saw action in nine of the Wolfpack’s 12 games and threw the team’s first touchdown pass of the season and also ran for one. 

“He’s got a high level of football intelligence and most of the position players do,” Diaco said. “He’s a football intelligent player, he’s a physically strong player and he’s got good quickness and good speed.”

Diaco said that while Shirreffs doesn’t have the strongest arm of the quarterback group, his other intangibles make up for it. 

“He’s an accurate passer, he’s got good accuracy. He can make all the throws,” he said. “He’s made appropriate decisions with the type of football and that is obviously going to be the difference between winning and losing, the ability to do that in games.”


Matthew Zampini is sports editor for The Daily Campus, and also covers UConn football. He can be reached via email at matthew.zampini@uconn.edu. He tweets @matt_zamp.