After sitting out last season, Jacoby Brissett
is NC State's projected starting QB in 2014. (Lance King/Getty Images)
Throughout the spring, Campus Union will look at some players to know heading into the 2014 season. Next up: NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Jacoby Brissett hasn't played a snap of football in a live-game situation during his short tenure at NC State, but second-year coach Dave Doeren didn't hide his excitement when he met with the media to preview spring practice on March 3. "Obviously at quarterback, we're excited for Jacoby to be our starter at that position," Doeren told reporters.
Brissett, a redshirt junior who transferred from Florida in January 2013, sat out all of last season due to NCAA rules. He started two games in Gainesville in '11, becoming the first true freshman quarterback to take his first career snap as the Gators' starter. In starts against No. 1 LSU (a 41-11 loss) and No. 24 Auburn (a 17-6 loss), he completed 13-of-24 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown, with three interceptions.
Brissett saw light backup duty behind Jeff Driskel in 2012, but opted to seek opportunities elsewhere after Florida's Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville in January '13. Soon after that game, Brissett told CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler that he felt he wasn't given a fair shot during his sophomore campaign.
“It wasn't right,” said Brissett, in between classes, about his perceived lack of opportunities in the 2012 season and subsequent bowl game. “In the saying that God don't like ugly, it came up to us in the Sugar Bowl when we couldn't throw to save our life.”
Still, Brissett's experience in Gainesville didn't deter him from supporting his former teammates. He openly rooted for Tyler Murphy when Murphy filled in for an injured Driskel and led the Gators to a 31-17 victory over Tennessee last September.
Brissett joined the Wolfpack after having passed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, with four interceptions, in his Florida career. Now, NC State is excited for his potential following a season of practice in the offense. After all, Brissett is a former U.S. Army All-American; he threw for 2,743 yards and 32 touchdowns, and rushed for 368 yards and seven scores, as a senior at Dwyer High in Palm Beach, Fla.
A glimpse at Brissett's high school film demonstrates the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder's abilities.
Doeren believes that he has a natural leader in Brissett. Despite being ineligible to play, he drove eight and a half hours from Raleigh to Tallahassee to watch the Wolfpack's 49-17 loss to Florida State last October. Brissett told ESPN's Heather Dinich that the trip made him feel like an integral part of the team.
That trip, it meant a lot to me to be there because I honestly thought we were going to win, and I wanted to be with the guys even though I couldn’t play. I just wanted to say we beat the No. 1 team in the country and I was on the field that day. I just felt like whenever it was my turn to play, I would go through great lengths to be there for them and had their backs, just to know I’m there for them regardless of the situation. I was with them till the end of the game. I felt it helped me grow as a leader, made me mature more.
A video from ESPN recruiting reporter Derek Tyson last fall also caught Brissett on the sidelines during his former high school's victory in the Florida Class 7A championship game.
Now, Brissett can bring that leadership to the field, where NC State's aerial attack was inconsistent in 2013. Quarterbacks Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell both saw significant time under center, but combined for only 14 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions. The spotlight will be on Brissett to jump in and provide an immediate spark -- and shift his focus from the cafeteria to the field.