QB STEVENS HAS FIRM GRIP ON STARTING JOB ENTERING OPENER
COLLINS» There is FORT no debate: Nick Stevens will be Colorado State’s starting quarterback when the Rams open the 2017 football season Aug. 26 against Oregon State.
Stevens, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound redshirt senior from Murrieta, Calif., is listed atop the fall camp depth chart ahead of sophomore Collin Hill, who played in five games last fall with three starts.
“Nick Stevens earned (the right to start) with his play at the end of last year,” CSU coach Mike Bobo said Tuesday at the Rams’ football media day inside the on-campus stadium. “I’ve said it many times: He was playing as well as anybody in this conference and this country. The production that we had offensively was a lot due to Nick and his ability to run our offense and be efficient.”
Stevens passed for 1,936 yards and 19 touchdowns with just five interceptions in 2016, but as Bobo references, Stevens’ best work arrived in November.
Over the last four games of the regular season, Stevens threw incomplete just 18 times on 78 attempts, in addition to 998 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and only one pick. Against Idaho in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Stevens set a career high for passing yards (445) and tied his career TD mark (five).
The preseason announcement that Stevens will be the starter has only increased his confidence.
“We talk about it all the time. I do think that does give you some comfort,” Stevens said. “You play better and excel when you don’t have to be worrying about, ‘If I make a bad play, am I going to get benched?’ Anything could happen, and I still have to play to the best of my ability, but I definitely feel comfort in that.” Fogal’s bid. Among those newcomers in contention for prominent roles in 2017 is graduate transfer Jordal Fogal. The former University of Utah safety is immediately eligible this fall and, pending an NCAA waiver, might gain a sixth year of eligibility in 2018 after missing nearly two combined seasons with ACL tears before arriving in Fort Collins.
Fogal, at 5-10 and 185 pounds, totaled 20 tackles in eight games a season ago and is expected to immediately compete for a starting role in the CSU defensive backfield.
“You look at a guy like him and he’s been in a Power 5 program,” CSU safeties coach Jamie Bryant said. “He’s got tremendous work ethic, and he’s brought that work ethic and that mental toughness to fight through things in practice. That’s made the room better. It’s making our defense better. It’s making our football team better.”