Ball State redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Plitt passes the ball to a teammate while Western Michigan defenders try to knock the ball out of the air during the Cardinals' game against the Broncos Nov. 13, 2018, at Scheumann Stadium. Ball State won 42-41 in overtime on senior night. Paige Grider, DN
With Riley Neal gone, who starts at quarterback for Ball State Football?
It was confirmed Nov. 26 that Riley Neal, Ball State’s former starting quarterback, would be transferring for his final year of athletic eligibility. Saturday, Neal graduated from Ball State. Monday, he committed to play at Vanderbilt for the 2019 season.
With Neal officially out the door, it raises questions as to who will start under center for the Cardinals next year. There are four quarterbacks remaining on Ball State’s roster from the 2018 season. Here’s a look at each of their profiles.
Plitt would be the obvious choice moving forward because of his experience. Plitt began 2017 as the Cardinals’ fourth-string quarterback, but he was forced into action in the final five games as a redshirt freshman due to injuries. He started the last three games of 2018 after Neal went down again.
Plitt made the most of his opportunity this past season. He averaged more than 250 passing yards per game and threw for five touchdowns in his three starts. After senior night, head coach Mike Neu said Plitt could challenge Neal for the starting job the following season. Now that Neal is out of the picture, it could be Plitt’s job to lose.
Hughes, like Plitt, will be a redshirt junior next year. He grew up in Texas and spent his first two years of college football on the sidelines for Texas A&M. Hughes transferred to Ball State for a better chance of getting on the field. So far, his plan hasn’t worked out.
Hughes didn’t see playing time for the Cardinals in 2018 as he sat behind Neal and Plitt. Hughes brings a dual-threat play style to the quarterback position. He rushed for 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns at Pearce High School.
As a freshman in 2018, Paddock saw action in the Cardinals’ final game against Miami (Ohio). He took over quarterback duties in the final drive and completed his first five passes for 43 yards.
At Bloomfield Hills High School in Michigan, Paddock became the winningest quarterback in program history as well as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (4,086) and touchdowns (26). He also took his team to the playoffs for the first time in school history.
After two full seasons with Ball State, Charlebois has yet to touch the field. He took a redshirt season in 2017, and 2018 saw him as the Cardinals’ No. 5 quarterback.
Charlebois transferred from Guerin Catholic High School to Carmel High School his senior year. He suffered a season-ending injury in his first game with Carmel, but the Greyhounds went on to win the 2016 6A State Championship. Charlebois was named Guerin Catholic’s Offensive Player of the Year as a junior.