It’s true for most programs around the country, but for a UConn football program looking to show signs of progress, the quarterback position is going to be very important to watch this year.
There are at least three quarterbacks that appear to be seriously vying for playing time this year, with others who could end up seeing the field as well. Here’s a breakdown of the room and the state of the QB competition thus far.
#11 - Jack Zergiotis
Jack Zergiotis showed promise but needs to show more consistency. He has continuity at the skill positions, a rock at the RB position, and talent at wide receiver. The freshman quarterback performed like a freshmen quarterback in 2019 throwing for nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions with 178 yards per game and a .580 completion percentage.
“He was out there playing the game [in 2019], but he didn’t know what he was doing,” UConn quarterbacks coach Mike Moyseenko said at the team’s preseason media day. “Now with all this time we had, he got to really dive into the playbook. He got to understand the how and the why.”
He generally improved as the year went on. In the last two weeks of the season, he completed a combined 45-72 passes against East Carolina and Temple, tossing four out of his nine touchdowns for the season.
Standing 6-foot-1, Zergiotis does not have prototypical size, and he would often scramble outside of the pocket quicker than necessary, but his creative playmaking skills and having the most experience playing live FBS football give him a leg up in the competition.
#8 - Steven Krajewski
One of the main competitors Zergiotis has for the starting role is Steven Krajewski. The redshirt sophomore has a prototypical quarterback build, standing 6-foot-4, 210 lbs, and a strong arm.
“I hope Coach Edsall sees me as the guy at the end of the day, and I’ll be ready to take over that position and play to the best of my ability,” Krajewski said at media day.
Krajewski redshirted in 2018 and was injured for a good chunk of 2019, but impressed in the one game he did feature in, throwing 22-for-33 with three touchdowns against Central Florida on week five.
He’s been taking snaps with the third team in preseason camp, but Edsall was quick to mention, as always, that training camp can be misleading. Krajewski has shown signs of being somewhat risk-averse. As the quarterback battle continues towards the start of the new season, it could come down to what the coaching staff values more: The chaotic playmaking of Zergiotis, or the steady hand of the better physical prospect in Krajewski.
#10 - Micah Leon
Micah Leon is the man taking snaps with the second string. After starting his career at NC State, then transferring to UConn but catching the injury bug, he’s hoping to compete for the starting job along with Krajewski and Zergiotis.
Leon has all of the measurables to be a great quarterback. He’s 6-foot-5 and had a hell of an arm, but UConn has no idea what they really have until he steps on the field, and it has certainly been a while: The junior hasn’t played in a competitive football game in five years.
Leon last played in a competitive football season in 2016 for Boca Raton High, where he threw for 1,085 yards with 11 touchdowns and rushed 555 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ever season since then he has been mired by injury. Leon has all the tools to succeed, but if he can’t remain healthy week-to-week, it’s likely he’ll be relegated to backup status.
#12 - Tyler Phommachanh
The wild card in the crowded quarterback room is freshman Tyler Phommachanh, a freshman from Avon Old Farms and the brother of Taisun Phommachanh of Clemson.
“’I’ve been really impressed with Tyler,” linebacker Omar Fortt said at practice this week. “He’s someone I think is going to lead this team to a promising future.”
With three more experienced quarterbacks ahead of him in the pecking order, and even with the departure of Miles Foerster to the transfer portal, it’s entirely possible that Phommachanh redshirts this season.