Butch Jones updates starting QB battle, injuries ahead of Southern Miss game

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 12:08 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The starting quarterback for Arkansas State’s Sun Belt opener against Southern Miss is in question, according to head football coach Butch Jones during the Sun Belt’s weekly zoom call with SBC coaches.

Jones, reiterating his comments both from Saturday’s win over Stony Brook and on the Red Wolves Coaches Show on KAIT, said redshirt senior J.T. Shrout will return from his ankle injury sustained two weeks ago during the Memphis loss, but the starting quarterback will be decided based on who has the best week of practice.

“There is no set starting quarterback,” Jones said. “I thought Jaxon, making his first career start, did some good things to build upon, but we missed too much of easy throws, we still had too many dropped passes,” Jones said. “He’s got to do a better job of completing the routine pass, but I thought he did some good things.”

“Obviously Jaylen Raynor came in, did some good things, I thought he did some really good things throwing the football,” Jones added. “He led us on two big, long drives so again, I thought he did some good things. And then we’ll have J.T. [Shrout] back this week as well... whatever player has the best practice and gives us the best opportunity to win, that’ll be our quarterback moving forward for this game, they’ll have to compete every week.”

Jones also provided injury updates. In addition to Shrout being available, defensive linemen Tim Hardiman and Micah Bland are back at practice and are expected to return this week.

Arkansas State will host Southern Miss Saturday at Centennial Bank Stadium for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff on ESPN+.