In his first game playing quarterback for South Carolina, Dakereon Joyner took the ball on a few designed runs, had a couple of throwing opportunities on the move, just did a little of this and that in a change-of-pace quarterback role.
But Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said his use was limited more by circumstance than by design.
Muschamp talked a little about the second-year passer on his weekly radio show Thursday, as the team prepares to face Alabama. It’s not clear how much Joyner will be used Saturday, but the coach said he doesn’t have to be reined in.
“We have a full package for him at the quarterback position,” Muschamp said. “Whether it’s throwing the ball vertically down the field. Certainly last week wasn’t the time of game to do that, in the situations he was in the game.”
Joyner finished the game with 53 rushing yards.
His passing was an ongoing subject of debate through the offseason. He was asked multiple times about shifting positions, and an ESPN analyst said he could star elsewhere if he moved. After Ryan Hilinski beat him out for the backup job, he ended up spending some time at receiver.
After Jake Bentley’s season-ending injury, it’s now Joyner in the backup role.
Joyner came to Columbia as a four-star prospect out of the Charleston area. He threw for nearly 10,000 yards and came 20 yards from three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
After the spring game, Joyner insisted he was a quarterback, but he’s caught three passes for 16 yards despite never playing receiver before a few weeks ago.
That Muschamp is talking about his deep throwing could just be a way to give the Tide a little extra to think about, but it at least gives the impression of confidence in the young player whose skills seem useful no matter where the staff needs him.
“He’s going to continue to play a quarterback role for our football team and a receiver role as well,” Muschamp said.