Committed quarterback offers instant impact



AJ Atkinson

AJ Atkinson

AJ Atkinson is the sports editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Flashes football fans saw two quarterbacks this season, and neither was easy to watch at all times.

Junior quarterback Spencer Keith played the majority of the season, though he didn’t show the talent we saw from him earlier in his Kent State career until the last few games of the 2011 season.

After seeing Keith throw an interception returned for a touchdown by one of Northern Illinois’ defensive lineman, Kent State coach Darrell Hazell desperately turned to backup quarterback Cedric McCloud. McCloud’s indecisiveness led to seven sacks.

Walking into Hazell’s office last semester, it was clear the quarterback position was at the top of his list. Hazell alluded to the fact that he might have been recruiting a quarterback from California, though wouldn’t release the name.

On Monday, Hazell was able to announce he landed his favorite quarterback, David Fisher, who signed his National Letter of Intent last Wednesday.

Playing for Palomar Community College last year, the same junior college Kent State junior linebacker C.J. Malauulu attended his first two football seasons, Fisher finished with a 7-4 record, completed 184 of 333 pass attempts for 2,539 yards, threw for 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Fisher also rushed for 403 yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

It is clear why Hazell wanted this guy.

With an inconsistent offensive line, Fisher should have the ability to escape the blitz, an ability pocket-passers Keith and McCloud never possessed. And when it comes to accuracy, Fisher has a completion ranking that is 4.15 percentage points higher.

Fisher also adds a very exciting offensive dimension to the Flashes: the run option. During the 2011 season, the Flashes limited themselves by possessing very little of a passing game. The main decision on the Flashes’ sideline was which running back to send on the field: speed back freshman Anthony Meray or power back freshman Trayion Durham.

And even when they did pass, it was most often short screen passes to receivers or a running back. This kept cornerbacks and safeties close to the line of scrimmage.

With the run option, the Flashes should possess a trickier offense, keeping cornerbacks and safeties on their toes at all times. With Durham on the field, defenses will have to protect against the pass or be fearful of Durham’s downhill running force. With Meray or any of the other speed backs on the field, defenses will have to respect Fisher’s option of flipping the ball to his running back when he is scrambling.

Even if Fisher does not start, he will greatly impact the Flashes 2012 team. All season long, Hazell looked at the quarterback position as the 5-7 team’s weakest slot. Though he never announced who was starting at quarterback until Thursday for the sake of the “position battle,” it was clear Keith was not battling much.

With the addition of Fisher, this finally changes. Even if Fisher does not win the starting quarterback position, Fisher’s talent is enough to keep Keith playing at the top of his game at all times.

In my opinion, despite finishing 5-7 for the second time in two season, the Flashes showed great improvement from the past seasons. If the Flashes can recruit a top wide receiver, which is second on Hazell’s list of recruiting interest, their record will greatly improve.