As soon as it would seem that junior Robert Council has established himself as starting quarterback of the Morgan State football team, Council may get some competition from the former starter.
Junior Seth Higgins, who sat out the Bears' past two games after spraining his right (throwing) shoulder in a 34-22 victory over North Carolina Central on Oct. 19, has been cleared to return to practice Tuesday, coach Donald Hill-Eley said during the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's weekly conference call.
“He should be returning to practice today,” Hill-Eley said. “That was the last news that we had gotten. We’ll see when we get out there. Those things change from day to day.”
With Higgins (Edgewood) as the starter, Morgan State (3-6, 3-2 MEAC) went 2-2. Higgins has completed 52.9 percent of his passes (37-of-70) for team highs in yards (452) and touchdowns (five), and has carried the ball 57 times for 282 yards and four scores.
Since replacing Higgins, Council has guided the Bears to a 1-1 record, including Saturday’s 30-27 win against Hampton. He has connected on 65.7 percent of his throws (23-of-35) for 319 yards and one touchdown and rushed 31 times for 131 yards and one score.
Higgins and Council would seem to put Hill-Eley in a conundrum. Give the keys back to the starter before his injury or stay with the hot hand? Hill-Eley was not prepared to make a decision Tuesday morning.
“You go with who is moving the team that week in practice,” he said. “We know that we can win with both of them now. We know that they both have had game experience. So you go into practice and you allow those guys to compete and maybe there’s a situation where you end up seeing both of them again. They both do good things and they both do different things, and there may be a way where we can expand on our offense by using both if they’re both ready to go. Or we go with the guy with the hot hand.”
Either quarterback could have the luxury of throwing balls to freshman wide receiver Antonio Jefferson, who caught six passes for 140 yards last Saturday. Jefferson became the first Morgan State player to pass the 100-yard receiving mark since Andre Nelson recorded three receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-17 rout of Savannah State on Oct. 8, 2011.
Hill-Eley was delighted by Jefferson’s play, especially considering the 6-foot-1, 180-pound player hails from Suffolk, Va., which is Hill-Eley’s hometown.
“It was a win-win for me,” Hill-Eley said. “Antonio is a young man from my hometown and I used to babysit his father. For him to come through and make the plays that he made and play as a freshman and to do the things that he’s doing, it’s good just to see a guy having some success and especially as a freshman. It was just great concentration and a great catch, and he’s been having a great year for us.”