Hello, Blazers. My name is Zach Edmondson and I am the sports editor for The Spectator at VSU. I have started a sports column entitled “The Bench” and this is the first column of many. The name was inspired by a place where people sit and talk about sports: the bench on the sidelines, in the dugout, on the court, etc.
Today, I want to talk about the future of Valdosta State football.
The wells have run dry for Valdosta State’s football program, or rather, Rogan Wells has departed. We can only wish him the best in his future endeavors and be grateful for what he did for the team as a three-year starting quarterback. Wells has transferred to Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn. to take advantage of his extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 and play under his brother who coaches at the school. The decision to transfer was a surprising one to me because I had just watched him play in the team’s spring game weeks before the announcement was made. I, for one, was sure that Wells would use the extra year to try and take VSU all the way one more time, but now it is time to move on and prepare for a season without him.
I wouldn’t be afraid of what’s to come for Blazers football, though, because the man who will be taking the field to command the offense is Ivory Durham.
Replacing a national championship-winning quarterback is not an easy thing to do, but coach Goff and myself know that Durham is more than capable of it. According to Goff, “he can make any throw on the field.” Durham played in all 11 games as a sophomore and got snaps at both quarterback and running back. So, the kid can scramble and make plays outside of the pocket when he needs to. I can vouch for Durham as a rushing quarterback, as well, after seeing him play for the first time in the 2021 spring game.
Durham led the Red team to a 49-48 victory over Wells’ Black team—granted, the Red team was given a two-score lead since the team was comprised of second-teamers—and showcased his abilities to complete 50-yard bombs and score on the ground.
Throughout his career as a Blazer, and Wells’ backup, Durham has completed 39 of 70 passes, which isn’t exactly great in terms of completion percentages, but out of those 39 completions, 10 of them were touchdowns. That means he throws a touchdown pass 25% of the time. That is a number to get excited about.
Some of you may think Durham is too small to be a quarterback, much less lead a playoff-caliber team like VSU. Well, to be honest, that is a tired critique that has been proven wrong time and time again by the Russell Wilsons and Doug Fluties of the game who decided to be great despite their height. It is also exactly what people said when Durham was in high school. However, he led Raines High to a victory in the 4A State Championship and went on to be named 4A offensive player of the year.
Now, as a junior at VSU, Durham is still an undersized quarterback deciding to pursue greatness just like he was as a 4’ 7” freshman in high school. Can’t wait to see him do it.
Written by Zach Edmondson, sports editor. Graphic Courtesy of Gracie Lucas, digital content editor.