Football still without starting quarterback after Shoemaker transfer

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Freshman quarterback Keegan Shoemaker was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year in 2019. (Photo courtesy of athletic communications)

Craig Barbaro

As the Lafayette football team prepares for its home opener on March 13, the team is still yet to name a starting quarterback. The Leopards are dealing with the transfer of former quarterback Keegan Shoemaker, who left unexpectedly after a breakout freshman campaign that saw him named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year in 2019. 

Shoemaker announced his intention to transfer on his Twitter page less than three weeks after Lafayette’s narrow win over Lehigh in The Rivalry in November 2019. Shoemaker was unavailable for comment. 

Lafayette currently has six quarterbacks on the roster, including four upperclassmen. The Leopards will draw from these six to see who earns the starting spot for the season.

“Right now we are in the middle of a quarterback competition with a handful of guys we feel very confident in,” said quarterbacks coach Kort Shankweiler. “We are excited to progress this spring and see how that competition plays out.” 

Senior Sean O’Malley is currently the team’s most experienced quarterback. He started his freshman year and played 11 games his sophomore year before losing the starting job to Shoemaker his junior year. He’s played in 22 games and has thrown 16 touchdowns to 27 interceptions. He also has just over 3700 yards and a 58 completion percentage The team’s next most tenured quarterback is senior Cole Northrup. Northrup saw limited action in his freshman and sophomore seasons before earning the starting job over O’Malley last year. He started at William and Mary, going 10 for 39 with 127 yards and a touchdown before suffering an injury. Shoemaker then filled in for Northrup and never lost the starting job.

“The good situation that we’re in is that we have a lot of guys that we feel confident in,” said Shankweiler. “Sean, for instance, has started a lot of games for Lafayette as has Cole. We also have some guys in the mix who we’re excited to see them develop and we look forward to watching them progress and add competition to the room.”

Aside from the quarterbacks on the roster, the team is excited to welcome Ah-Shaun Davis next year. Davis is currently a senior at Willingboro high school in New Jersey and committed to Lafayette in September. Davis is a pro-style quarterback who also received interest from Rutgers and Temple, among other schools.

“We got to know Ah-Shaun last year throughout the recruiting process, somewhat early on, and we developed a pretty good relationship,” said Shankweiler. “He’s a guy we are excited about. He brings a lot to the table as far as playing ability and understanding the game. We’re excited for him to be coming here in the fall, excited to get him in the offense and to give him an opportunity to develop. We’re excited for the future based on what we’ve seen and the communication we’ve had with him through Zoom.”

Overall, while the Lafayette quarterback situation seems to be in limbo for the time being, Lafayette also seems to be headed in the right direction and the coaches have ample confidence in whoever is under center this season. 

The Leopards kick off their season playing host to Bucknell on March 13 at 3:30 p.m.