Dual-Threat Werts to start against Auburn

Yafari Shaikir "Shai" Werts

Thomas Jilk

It’s official: Redshirt freshman Shai Werts will get the call as the starting quarterback for the Eagles as they open the season next weekend at Auburn.

On Monday, Georgia Southern head coach Tyson Summers made the decision public that it would be Werts to get the ball on Sept. 2 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“I think he’s got the accuracy to give us a chance to make explosive plays,” Summers said.

Over the past month, it had become increasingly clear who the starting quarterback for the Eagles will be to begin the season. Werts took first-team reps in practice as well as in the preseason scrimmages at Paulson Stadium.

Werts will play over juniors LeBaron Anthony and Kado Brown, as well as freshman Jaalon Frazier.

“I’m just ready to play,” Werts said in a press conference Monday. “All the hard work I’ve been putting in has finally paid off.”

The dual-threat from Newberry High in Clinton, S.C. did not play last season with veterans Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw still on the roster.

Coming out of high school, 247sports rated Werts the No. 37 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. He threw and rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior.

“He’s diligent, he’ll get better every day that we play, every rep that he gets,” offensive coordinator Bryan Cook said.

Southern has an obvious history of quarterbacks who can run, which goes hand in hand with the option running scheme.

Current Minnesota Viking running back Jerick McKinnon racked up over 1,800 yards rushing as the Eagle quarterback in 2012. Kevin Ellison also racked up over 1,000 yards rushing in 2014.

Werts will look to continue the long line of dual-threat Eagle quarterbacks.

His first test, though, is an imposing one. SEC giant Auburn will host Southern to open the season, and Werts will have to show his escapability right from the start.