VUU has 4 QB candidates

Fred Jeter | 5/16/2024, 6 p.m.
With four quality athletes to choose from, who will Coach Alvin Parker pick to be Virginia Union University’s starting quarterback?

With four quality athletes to choose from, who will Coach Alvin Parker pick to be Virginia Union University’s starting quarterback?

“We feel very good about it,” Coach Parker said of his candidates. “All played well during the spring, and all played in our scrimmage with Virginia State.

“They’ll be working throughout the summer to compete for the starting job.”

Coach Parker

Coach Parker

These are happy times around Hovey Field.

The Panthers are coming off a 10-2 season in which they won their first CIAA crown in 22 years and then went to the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Nine starters return on defense and eight on offense. But what about QB? Among the graduates is last year’s leading man, Christian Reid, who passed for 1,501 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Reid offered a steady hand week after week, never spectacular but always keeping the team on course.

If there is a leader in the clubhouse to succeed Reid, it would be fleet junior RJ Rosales, the top backup a year ago.

The 5-foot-8, 180-pound native Floridian passed for 301 yards and four TDs while also rushing 20 times for 130 yards and four scores.

Well-traveled Mark Wright, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound native of Atlanta, previously played at Hutchinson Community College, Kan., and at Virginia State.

As a Trojan in 2021, he played three games and passed for 363 yards. In 2019 at Hutchinson, Wright tossed for 1,831 yards and 20 TDs.

Jonathan “Myles” Derricott is a 6-foot-3, 175-pound former Varina High standout, who sat out last season at VUU as a redshirt. Derricott is the nephew of Daninelle Derricott, who quarterbacked Patrick Henry to the 1994 State Division 5 title.

Derricott led Varina to the Class 4 state title in the fall of 2021 and was a member of the Blue Devils’ state championship basketball team in 2022.

Like Derricott, Tayvon Tyler was redshirted in 2023. Before that the 6-foot-4, 185-pounder starred at Woodside High in Newport News, earning numerous postseason accolades.

Under Coach Parker, VUU has become a dominant program in the CIAA and a perennial challenger for NCAA playoff honors.

Since coming aboard in 2018, Coach Parker’s Panthers are 40-13 overall and 29-7 in CIAA.

They will likely be the preseason pick to take top honors in 2024.

There will be no more Northern and Southern Divisions of the CIAA. Starting this season, all 11 football-playing members will be grouped in the same standings.

The top two, regardless of location, will meet in Salem for the CIAA crown. This marks the final year of the CIAA’s contract with Salem.

St. Augustine’s will remain in the CIAA for other sports but will no longer compete in football.

The Falcons were 0-10 last year and have been 2-26 since the 2020 season was lost to pandemic restrictions. Neither Virginia Union nor Virginia State were scheduled to play the Raleigh school this fall.