In the annals of offseason quarterback competitions, the starting job has been wrestled away by upstarts, underdogs and walk-ons — but a former player turned into a coach and then back into a player is a new one.
At rebuilding South Carolina, a recently hired graduate assistant will be the Gamecocks' starting quarterback in Saturday's season opener against Eastern Illinois, the school announced this week.
Zeb Noland played quarterback at Iowa State and South Dakota State, starting seven games last season for the Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse, before joining the South Carolina staff in May under first-year coach Shane Beamer.
The son of a successful high school coach in Watkinsville, Georgia, Noland was set to begin his own transition into the profession as an assistant working under South Carolina wide receivers coach Justin Stepp.
"He’s always just loved the schematics of the game," said Noland's father, Travis, the head coach at Oconee County High School. "I saw that this was something he wanted to do for a long time."