Troy’s transfer QBs ready for competition, spring practice

Published 11:00 pm Friday, February 7, 2014

Coaches, players and fans know it, whether they chose to accept it or not: Corey Robinson and Deon Anthony are not coming back through the locker room door.

The quarterback duo led Troy’s offense the previous two seasons, but both have moved on to new challenges.

But a new pair of gunslingers is ready to battle it out for the right to replace the dynamic duo.

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Junior college transfers Dontreal Pruitt and Connor Bravard each led their teams to lofty rankings in the final JUCO poll of 2013.

Pruitt’s East Mississippi squad was crowned National Champions, while Iowa Western, Bravard’s team, finished second.

Pruitt’s athletic ability and lighting quickness helped him not only lead the Lions to a national title, but also landed him on the NJCAA All-America First Team.

Pruitt feels the battle with Bravard, along with veteran backups Dallas Tidwell and Brandon Silvers, will bring out the best in him.

“I have never been in the situation with four or five quarterbacks competing,” Pruitt said. “Everybody wants the starting spot, and we are all going to do whatever it takes, on the field and off, to get it. It is going to be great competition, and I’m sure we will teach each other things and help one another. I just want to help the team.”

Pruitt completed over 64 percent of his passes, and racked up 45 touchdowns during the national title season. He also accounted for 507 yards on the ground and six touchdowns.

East Mississippi set a NJCAA record with 7,327 yards of total offense, and average of 610 yards per game, en route to the title.

Bravard, who won the national title at Iowa Western in 2012, threw for 2,555 yards and 23 touchdowns for the Reivers

Bravard compiled a 44-1 record as a starter in his high school career, and won a state championship during his senior campaign.

He feels the quarterback competition during spring practice will be one of the highlights of the period.

“It will be great,” Bravard said. “Just knowing the guys, Dontreal, Dallas and Brandon Silvers, they are all great guys. It is going to be a fierce competition on the field, but off the field we are all friends. I came here to compete for the starting job. I think everyone should try to compete, no matter what position.”

Robinson and Anthony accounted for 46 touchdown passes over the last two seasons.

Anthony spent much of the 2013 season playing receiver, or being used as a “change of pace” quarterback in certain situations.

In total, Troy brought in 12 junior college players during the 2014 signing period.

Head coach Larry Blakeney feels the influx of JUCO players can help the Trojans fill needs right away.

“We found what we think the answer to our needs are at the community college level,” Blakeney said. “We felt like we needed some immediate help at certain positions on defense, as well as offense.”

Troy opens spring practice on February 24, and will practice for two weeks before taking a week off for spring break. Troy will return to the field on March 17 leading up to the annual T-Day Game on March 29.