At Randy Edsall’s Tuesday morning press conference, the Huskies’ head coach shared that David Pindell will be starting at quarterback for their final two games and that Bryant Shirreffs is calling it a season, and career, at UConn.
The senior quarterback left the game on November 4 against South Florida and did not start the following game at UCF. The Huskies’ final two games are against Boston College at Fenway Park in Boston and they end the season on the road against Cincinnati.
After going into this season as the backup, Shirreffs won back the starting job from Pindell by saving the Huskies’ butt in the season opener against Holy Cross. Entering the game in the third quarter with UConn down 20-7, Shirreffs promptly led a touchdown drive to spark a 20-0 run and help Randy Edsall avoid a disastrous start to his second stint in Storrs.
Since then, Shirreffs was pretty excellent. He threw for over 300 yards in four games, going over 400 yards in two of them. He’s currently 14th in the nation in passer rating and led a Husky attack that has made an offensive resurgence, scoring 29 points per game in five full AAC contests. The Husky offense is currently 55th in the country in offensive efficiency, a vast improvement from 127th—nearly last—in 2016.
As a smart person who already has his undergraduate degree and graduate study under his belt, Shirreffs does not need to risk further long-term harm. He took an absolute beating at UConn and was tough as nails to play through it all, but it’s the right time to move on. I’m happy that he made this decision in the best interest of his future and that of his family. The Jefferson, Georgia native had a son this past offseason—he knows there are more important things in life.
Shirreffs came to UConn as a transfer from NC State in 2014. He was looking into the Ivy League as a possible transfer destination but ended up taking a call from UConn and going to Storrs. He earned the starting job in 2015 after sitting out his transfer year, leading Bob Diaco’s second-year team to six wins and a bowl berth. There were lofty expectations for Diaco and the Huskies in Shirreffs’ junior season which they, unfortunately, failed to meet.
Nine games into that disappointing season, Diaco benched Shirreffs in favor of true freshman Donovan Williams—a curious move by the staff. We later found out Shirreffs had a rib injury he was playing through that was kept under wraps even though Diaco made it seem like a performance issue. Williams started the final three games, all blowouts, before David Benedict made a coaching change.
Randy Edsall and the new staff recruited David Pindell out of Lackawanna Community College and named him the starter going into the season. Shirreffs could have sulked, he could have left the team, but he embraced the role he was asked to play this season until he answered the call in a big way in that opener against Holy Cross.
After 29 career starts, Shirreffs finishes fourth on the UConn all-time passing yards list, behind Dan Orlovsky, Matt Degennaro, and Shane Stafford. He also rushed for over 1000 yards as a Husky, adding five touchdowns. The man epitomized dedication and competitive spirit for a program which tried at least twice to bench him. He powered through and prevailed. Bryant Shirreffs was a consummate leader who UConn will have a hard time replacing next year.