East Robertson senior Drake Alsup spent spring practice thinking he would play receiver, just as he did in his first three seasons.
Instead, he will be the starting quarterback for the Indians.
Coach Atlee Pond made the news official following a 7-on-7 scrimmage with Springfield Thursday morning. Alsup replaces Cameron Swift, the expected starter who tore his ACL in a spring scrimmage against Creek Wood.
“(Alsup) knows our offense better than anybody out here,” Pond said. “He started at receiver for two years and understands the passing game. He can make every throw we can ask him to make.
“It’s just a matter of him getting more game experience. I think he’ll do a good job for us.”
Alsup previously served as Swift’s backup and did not see any game action behind center. He caught 22 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns in 2018 but will now be on the other end of the throws.
“I’m just trying to embrace it,” Alsup said. “It’s definitely odd. But I like the challenge.”
Alsup was set to be part of East Robertson’s receiving corps that also includes sophomore Taylor Groves, who has offers from Kentucky, Mississippi State and Tennessee. Alsup said the sure-handed Groves should make his new job a bit easier.
“There’s no getting around it – he’s one of the most talented guys in the state at any position,” Alsup said. “The offers tell the truth. He’s a really good guy.”
Alsup has spent the summer traveling to various camps to showcase his skills to college coaches. He said he still expects to play receiver at the next level.
“Not being able to play receiver my senior year is a little tough, but I realized it’s probably the best thing for the team,” he said. “Switching to quarterback is obviously a little uncomfortable, but I’m embracing it and doing the best I can.”
Swift underwent successful surgery to repair the torn ACL Thursday morning. His recovery is expected to take close to a year, and he still hopes to play college football. He passed for 1,222 yards and 10 touchdowns last year while also rushing for 777 yards and 14 scores.
Swift accompanied Alsup to several camps to meet coaches and tour schools, even though he couldn’t participate in drills. The injured QB is also helping his replacement get up to speed.
“He’s already embraced the role of being a coach,” Alsup said. “He obviously knows a lot about the position. It’s good having a guy like that to help me through this.”