by Stone Harper
Many times last season, as I would sit in the stands watching Nevada football games, a thought would pop into my head: “What is this team going to do without Cody Fajardo?” Fast forward to present day, and that question can no longer go unanswered. Who will start next year at quarterback?
Coming into spring football there are three players vying to be the Wolf Pack’s next signal caller. You have junior Tyler Stewart, who was Fajardo’s backup last year and has started a game before (granted it was against Hawaii but I guess it still counts). You also have redshirt sophomore Danté Mayes, who has yet to take a snap as a member of the Wolf Pack, and lastly you have redshirt freshman Hunter Fralick.
Now, many people will tell you to always go with experience, but I say you buck that trend and put all your chips on Fralick like a roulette table at the Silver Legacy. Now you’re thinking, why Fralick?
Here’s why. The last two times Nevada had the quarterback position vacant, a redshirt freshman ended up being the starting quarterback by the end of the season. Those two became the most prolific quarterbacks in school history. One is Colin Kaepernick, the guy who took the 49ers to the Super Bowl a few years back. The other was Fajardo, who is well on his way to getting an opportunity in the NFL.
However, Fralick should not be the choice just because of superstition — Fralick can ball. In Fralick’s last two seasons at Spanish Springs High School the quarterback threw for 5,388 yards and 36 touchdowns while contributing over 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground while winning Northern Nevada player of the year as a senior.
Fralick, is a dual threat who fits perfectly in the Wolf Pack’s spread attack — one that heavily relies on an athletic quarterback, which the other two quarterbacks in this race are not.
Fralick also has a special connection to the head coach. When Polian took over two years ago his first quarterback recruit was none other than Fralick himself, Fralick is Polian’s guy and with most of former head coach Chris Ault’s players being gone this is finally Polian’s team. Polian can put an exclamation point on the new era by starting his quarterback.
Having Fralick become the starting quarterback for Nevada would also be a touching story. Fralick is a Reno native and is a legend in the area, whether it is breaking the state record for most total offense in a game or passing on offers from San Diego State, Northern Colorado and that school down south to play quarterback for his hometown team. The quarterback position is the face of the Wolf Pack, and it sure would be nice if that face was a familiar one.
At the end of the day, this is not my decision to make. This will all be left into the hands of Polian who has never gone through this as a head coach. This quarterback battle will certainly be the highlight of spring, and if Fralick is able to emerge as the winner Nevada will be set for years to come at football’s most important position.
Oh and coach Polian, if you would like more advice on how to run your team or want to offer me a job, feel free to email me.
Stone Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.