With the rest of his teammates on a plane travelling to Florida State, NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett got in his car and drove roughly 600 miles to Tallahassee by himself -- just to be in the locker room for what would prove to be the Wolfpack’s most difficult game of the season.
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Brissett -- who had to sit out this season after transferring from Florida -- was unable to travel to any games with the team. That didn’t stop him from getting there on his own.
NC State’s 2014 starting quarterback has already established himself as a leader.
Coach Dave Doeren said on Monday that Brissett has already earned the starting job for next fall, despite the return of Pete Thomas.
“Jacoby Brissett is our starting quarterback,” Doeren said.
Brissett ran NC State’s scout team offense this season, and Doeren said his new starter was in every game plan meeting and every quarterback and team meeting.
“His leadership is phenomenal,” Doeren said. “I think it was a great year for him developmentally, from a mental standpoint. Our team respects him, our staff respects him. I don’t want to put undue pressure on him because he still has to go out and play football, but we’re all excited about his leadership at that position.”
Brissett has two years of eligibility remaining, and he could be the answer to one of NC State’s biggest problems en route to a winless season in the ACC and a 3-9 finish. At Florida, Brissett had played behind Jeff Driskel the entire 2012 season, but decided to transfer in mid-January after a perceived lack of opportunities.
There won’t be any lack of playing time next fall -- despite some depth at the position. Thomas, who threw four touchdowns and nine interceptions in nine games, along with Garrett Leatham, Josh Taylor and Bryant Shirreffs all return. Leatham and Shirreffs combined for just 22 pass attempts last year.
“I can’t talk about who we have committed, but we’re excited about who we’re recruiting at that position,” Doeren said. “Garrett Leatham is still coming back and so are Josh Taylor and Bryant Shirreffs. All of those guys had snaps this year other than Jacoby, and obviously he’s played in college football already, so I feel really good about the quarterback position moving forward.”