The Richmond Register

Sports

June 17, 2014

OVC FOOTBALL: EKU adds transfer quarterback

RICHMOND — The EKU coaching staff had been looking to add a transfer quarterback to the team’s roster for quite some time.

And that search intensified when sophomore Kyle Romano suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury during spring practice.

A couple of weeks ago, the Colonels finally found what they were looking for.

Former University of Cincinnati quarterback Bennie Coney announced he was transferring to EKU. The sophomore will be eligible to play this fall.

The addition of Coney gives the Colonels five healthy quarterbacks heading into training camp this summer — senior Jared McClain, redshirt freshman Barton Mann, freshman Tyler Swafford, sophomore Taylor Davis and Coney.

“It’s a wide open race,” EKU coach Dean Hood said. “Kyle is obviously out because of the injury. It’s going to be a competition between Bennie, Jared, Barton Mann and we are not even discounting Tyler Swafford. You’ve got a four-man battle for the position.”

Coney was a three-star recruit after a standout career at Plant City High School (Fla.) and had offers from Arkansas, Michigan and Virginia Tech.

Coney redshirted his freshman season and was at the top of the depth chart heading into last year’s spring practice at Cincinnati.

“Eddie Gran (UC’s offensive coordinator) told me he thought last spring, ‘Man. This guy might be our No. 1.’”

But, Coney saw action in just three games. He completed six of seven pass attempts for 84 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Bearcats recently added former Notre Dame quarterback Gunner Keil to their roster,  likely pushing Coney even further down the depth chart.

“That led to some frustration and a desire to want to move and go somewhere he could have an opportunity to play,” Hood said.

Coney signed with Butch Jones before the coach left Cincinnati to take over the program at Tennessee after the 2012 season. The quarterback played for Tommy Tuberville last season.

Coney was named to the Florida 7A All-State team as an honorable mention as a senior in high school and was selected to the 2011 Super Southeast 120 by the Mobile (Ala.) Register. He threw for 1,159 yards and rushed for 360 yards as a junior.

Hood expects the 6-foot-3, 216-pound sophomore to challenge for playing time immediately.

“It’s always difficult to learn a new system, but he does have college experience and he did learn two different systems in a short amount of time,” Hood said.

McClain started 11 of 12 games last season and completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 1,535 yards and 13 touchdowns.

He has appeared in 29 games in his career at EKU with more than 2,000 yards passing, 16 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns.

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