JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – With the rise of the NCAA transfer portal, the phrase ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ has become a new reality for college athletics programs across the country.
ETSU football is no different.
The program hit the practice field for their first official sessions of fall camp this past week – with a bunch of new faces in tow.
There are a few familiar guys dressing in Blue and Gold this year, including starting quarterback Tyler Riddell and All-SoCon wideout Will Huzzie. But, in the trenches, there are some question marks as the squad marches towards the season opener.
Braxton Shipp, a redshirt sophomore from Concord, North Carolina, is the only offensive lineman that returns to the team with starting experience from last season. However, head coach George Quarles is optimistic some of those new faces can plug some holes come September.
“I think we got some competition,” he said. “We’ve got some suspects, you know, guys that you think – now we’re not in pads yet. We’ll find out a little bit more pads. But, you think you got guys that that can fill those spots.”
Graduate student, Luke Smith, comes to the Bucs after spending time with Appalachian State. While he is new himself, he believes the O-Line could be a strength of this group when it’s all said and done.
“You know, I think we’re coming together as a unit,” he said. “Of course, it’s just a first day. But yeah, we hang out all the time. I think that’s big. You know, just actually being friends off the field and stuff really helps you mesh as, as a group of offensive linemen.”
The first day of padded practice for ETSU will come on Tuesday morning.