QB competition still heated

YOUNGSTOWN – The Youngstown State quarterback competition continues to be a three-person race, according to Penguins coach Eric Wolford.

Wolford said during media day last week that true freshman Hunter Wells would have a chance to be part of the competition with Dante Nania and Ricky Davis, and the highly touted 6-foot-5 quarterback hasn’t done anything to remove himself from the battle.

“The quarterback situation has gotten to be very interesting,” Wolford said. “All three guys have taken reps with the ones. At one time, we probably thought it was more of a two-man race. All three are in it.

“I’ve been impressed with Hunters Wells’ ability to learn the offense and manage the game. He’s got some different tools than some of the other guys do, so it’s going to be interesting to see when we get out here (for a scrimmage) on Saturday, when the bullets are flying and no coaches are on the field. Who can take game plan we give them and go out and execute it?”

Nania and Davis provide more of a running threat than Wells, but the freshman’s size and arm strength give him an advantage in the passing game. Nania started Wednesday’s practice with the ones, but Wells and Davis also spent time with the first team during team drills.

FRESHMEN FEVER: Wells isn’t the only freshman who has opened eyes early in camp. Wolford pointed out Jaylon Brown, a wide receiver, and defensive back D.J. Thomas, a 5-9, 175-pound freshman from Lakewood St. Edward, as rookies making an immediate impact.

“(Brown) has been impressive thus far,” said Wolford of the former running back who was a first-team All-Ohio selection at St. Clairsville. “And D.J. Thomas, playing that nickel position at defensive back. He’s just a good headsy football player. He comes from a really strong program. It’s our first player that we’ve had from St. Eds. We’ve tried to recruit a bunch of ’em, but he’s the first that we’ve been able to land.

“He’s just got a knack for the game of football. He’s always in good position.”

STEPPING RIGHT IN: Corner Kenneth Durden, who transferred to Youngstown State from South Florida during the summer, has been one of the stars of the first few days of camp. The 6-foot, 180-pound Durden shows great speed and has deceptive length for a player his size.

“When we’re healthy, I think we have a pretty good chance to be good in the secondary – as far as the new additions we’ve had,” Wolford said.

Durden started 11 of 12 games for the Bulls in 2013, but he was suspended indefinitely after an arrest for felony marijuana possession, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

INJURY REPORT: Two potential starting receivers – Christian Bryan and Andrew Williams – sat out Wednesday’s practice. Bryan missed practice with a “tweaked” hamstring, and Williams missed with an undisclosed injury that Wolford called a “little tweak.”

Corner Julius Childs, who started 10 games last year, also sat with a hamstring injury.