Zeb Noland, a former South Carolina graduate assistant, will start for the Gamecocks at quarterback in their opener against Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
Yes, you read that right.
After sophomore quarterback Luke Doty injured his foot during practice on Friday August 14, Noland was named South Carolina starting quarterback in lieu of redshirt top Jason Brown, who was named the team’s emergency caller on his depth chart.
Noland, who was hired by South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer in May according to The Athletic, previously played in the states of North Dakota and Iowa, where he totaled 2,096 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 16 games.
Noland is in a position to play for the Gamecocks due to the NCAA’s decision to grant all fall athletes an additional season of eligibility starting in August 2020. He played four seasons combined in the United States. North Dakota and Iowa, becoming a fifth-year senior this season.
Before Noland starts off in a Gamecock uniform for the first time, here are five things you need to know about him.
He started his career in Iowa State
Noland, who was ranked as the No. 60 nationally pro-style quarterback in the 2016 class, began his career with Iowa State, where he appeared in nine games in total and was defeated by Brock Purdy in the 2018 season.
Noland threw six touchdowns against two interceptions during his Cyclone career, posting an average completion percentage of 60.2%. He lost his starting job against then-No. 25 Oklahoma State on October 6, 2018, when Purdy burst onto the varsity scene with a four touchdown performance in a 49-42 victory for Iowa State.
Noland announced his transfer to North Dakota state on December 19, 2018 after leaving the Iowa state team in late October. Arguably his best performance with the Cyclones came on September 15, 2018, when he threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-27 loss to Oklahoma.
He won an FCS Championship in North Dakota State
While supporting San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance in North Dakota state in 2019, Noland won an FCS championship with the Bison.
North Dakota State has gone 16-0 this season, and Lance has been stellar with 28 touchdown passes, 2,786 passing yards and a 66.9 percent completion percentage. Lance then played one game in the 2021 season before declaring himself for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Noland started the first seven games of the North Dakota State spring season before being benched in favor of freshman Cam Miller. Noland was 51-per-100 for 721 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions.
After North Dakota State coach Matt Entz said Noland would not be returning to the program for a fifth season, Noland was reportedly hired by the Gamecocks in May. He was placed on the team’s active roster on Aug. 17, according to 247Sports’ Matt Howe, and named his starting quarterback on Tuesday.
His father, Travis, is a prominent high school coach in Georgia
Noland played high school football under his father, Travis, at Oconee County High in Watkinsville, Ga., Where he threw 17 touchdowns, 1,627 yards and four interceptions while completing 47 percent of his passes. during his senior season in 2015, according to MaxPreps. The Warriors went 9-3 that year, finishing first in their region before losing to Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Calif.) In a playoff game.
Former App commit and son of former QB App Travis Noland wins the starting QB position in South Carolina after joining the program as a graduate assistant coach. https://t.co/SfNynSWKyt
– Application state (@AppStateNation) August 31, 2021
Under Noland’s father, the Warriors are 60-25. They are coming out of a 12-1 season in 2020, losing only to Pierce County in the GHSA-AAA tournament championship.
According to The State in South Carolina, Noland discussed the idea of joining the South Carolina squad with his father before being added to the squad roster. Looks like the graduate assistant turned quarterback did everything he needed to before taking that step.
He impressed his head coach
According to Beamer, Noland provided “a very calming presence” for the Gamecocks, which they hope will translate into their first game.
Athletic have announced that Doty may return for South Carolina’s Sept. 11 game against East Carolina.