HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - It was not that long ago that there was some question on who would be Southern Miss’ starting quarterback. Entering his junior season and second year at USM, Jack Abraham may have had the inside track, but back in August for preseason camp, a starter was not named between Abraham and sophomore Tate Whatley.
Now at the end of 2019, it’s hard to believe there was ever any debate after Abraham became the first Golden Eagles quarterback since Nick Mullins in 2016 to throw for over 3,000 yards and has USM back where it belongs in a bowl game.
“He had a great year this year,” said Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson ahead of his team’s Armed Forces Bowl matchup with Tulane on January 4, 2020.
“He leads the team well because he is an excellent quarterback and it doesn’t surprise me.”
Abraham finished second in Conference USA this season with 3,329 passing yards to go along with 18 touchdown passes en route to the Eagles’ 7-5 record in 2019. His quarterback rating of 148.5 ranks 35th among all NCAA-FBS quarterbacks this season, and that is despite the 15 interceptions.
However, the numbers only tell half the story. Coming to Hattiesburg as a transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College prior to the 2018 campaign, this past season was really the first time that Abraham felt he was worthy of taking on a team leader role. It was something that kicked his performance up another notch and, in turn, benefited the entire offense.
“Just having that year of experience helped,” said Abraham who compiled 2,347 passing yards and 15 touchdown in his first season at USM. “I felt like the leadership role I took on got us to another level.
“He’s a leader,” added Hopson. “He’s got that mentality, he doesn’t get flustered and he’s a competitor to the nines.”
Ever the competitor, Abraham is itching to get back on the field and rectify the two losses his team suffered to end the 2019 regular season. Unfortunately, he and the rest of the Eagles will have to wait a bit with their date with the Green Wave not set to kick-off until the new year.