When quarterback Lorenzo Nunez looks at his game, he sees similarities to the winningest quarterback in South Carolina history.
“I’m a little bit like Connor Shaw,” Nunez said. “I can drop back and pass the ball, and I can also use my legs to extend the play. I can make a play out of nothing, if it comes to that.”
Shaw’s success throwing and running for the Gamecocks – 6,074 career passing yards, 1,683 rushing yards and a school-record 27 wins – was part of the pitch that led one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks to commit to Gamecocks for the Class of 2015.
Nunez said he is a good fit for the South Carolina offense that Shaw thrived in.
“He did a great job,” Nunez said. “He has the record for quarterback wins. He didn’t lose a game in his own stadium. That’s amazing.”
Nunez was a running back in youth football until he outgrew the position and moved to quarterback as a sixth-grader. He became the full-time starting QB at Harrison High as a sophomore. Now at 6-foot-3, 197 pounds, he continues to take advantage of his legs.
Last season, he passed for 1,148 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 786 yards and seven scores. He is a four-star prospect, according to 247Sports’ composite rating, which factors in all networks.
Being considered a dual-threat quarterback is a compliment, said Nunez, who considers himself equally as capable throwing or running the ball.
“Knowing I can pass the ball and run the ball gives me an advantage,” Nunez said. “The defense doesn’t know if I’m going to run or pass. It throws them off.”
Nunez said he recorded a 4.49 the last time he ran in the 40-yard dash. He has worked on being fast and wants to get faster, with a desire to lower his 40 time to a low 4.4.
Like Shaw, Nunez boasts a blend of athleticism and natural throwing ability, according to Kipp Adams, national recruiting insider for 247Sports.
“It’s very similar with him being a great athlete and being able to learn how to run an offense efficiently while using his athleticism to make plays,” Adams said. “He does well on the run. He has a good arm. He gets good velocity on his throws. He needs to continue to work on his decision-making and consistent footwork and accuracy.”
Nunez has played for three coaches in three years at Harrison. With coach Matt Dickmann returning, it will be the first season Nunez has played in the same offensive system two years in a row at Harrison.
Dickmann runs what he calls a “multiple motion” offense that includes some wing-T out of the shotgun, the power read and zone read because of Nunez.
“He’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot, a lot of misdirection, a lot of play-action, a lot of sprint-out,” Dickmann said. “He’s very dynamic. He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever coached. When he gets comfortable with what he’s doing, he’s very dangerous.”
Nunez committed to the Gamecocks on May 8 over N.C. State and Ohio State, a little more than a month after receiving an official offer from USC quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus.
Though USC was the last of more than a dozen offers, the Gamecocks quickly made an impression on Nunez and his family. Mangus visited Harrison High four times in two weeks. Nunez visited the USC campus three times, including an unpublicized final time before his pledge to shore up his decision.
Nunez was sold on South Carolina because of the opportunity to play for Steve Spurrier and in the SEC, as well as a chance to compete for early playing time. And he liked how USC’s offense will gives him the chance to show off his talents.
“Being able to escape the pocket is a big deal for me,” Nunez said. “You can’t just have a pocket passer that can’t be mobile and not move around the pocket. You have defensive ends like Jadeveon Clowney that run 4.4s. It comes in handy.”