If anyone in N.C. Central’s locker room fits the bill of a traditional quarterback, it’s No. 8.
Quinn Billerman doesn’t just have the experience and measurables of a Division I quarterback, though. He even has the initials.
His ability to see plays before they develop may explain why he saw himself as a Division I talent long before any of those programs did.
“I’ve always thought I was a Division I talent, ever since I was in the 10th grade,” said Billerman, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound Raleigh native who will take the field for the first time as an Eagle Saturday night at East Carolina.
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Billerman became the starting quarterback at Ravenscroft his sophomore year and eventually became the school’s all-time leading passer with 6,152 yards and 62 touchdowns. He earned all-state honors as a senior in 2011.
Those accolades apparently didn’t impress Division I recruiters, so he took the junior college route to New Mexico Military Institute, where he set single-season records with 2,962 passing yards and 34 passing touchdowns as a sophomore.
This season, he’s back home, ready to lead the Eagles for first-year coach Jerry Mack.
“My head coach at NMMI called me and was like, ‘What do you know about North Carolina Central?’ ” said Billerman, who knew plenty, growing up just 20 minutes away.
“And he was like, ‘Well, my friend’s going to get the job there, and he wants you to come along with him.’ So I talked to Coach Mack once he got the job, and the rest is history, I guess.”
Mack said his quarterback pitch to Billerman was an opportunity to play in a schemes similar to those at NMMI and Ravenscroft.
“He was a very productive quarterback in both settings,” Mack said. “And I wanted to kind of have the same style of offense that they’d done his entire career. So, basically, he’s going to be in a situation that he’s been in probably since he was about 16 years old.”
Now that he has gotten the opportunity he has longed for, he feels he’s a bit overhyped. Before throwing a pass for Central, Billerman was named one of the top first-year players in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as Sporting News’ MEAC Newcomer of the Year.
“It was a tremendous honor,” said Billerman, whose father Kevin played basketball at Duke in the ’70s and later spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach at Charlotte.“But I really don’t feel like I deserve it. It’s a preseason award. I haven’t played a single down here.”
Billerman’s goals fall in line with Mack’s expectations to produce a winning season in his first head-coaching gig. To do so and compete for a conference championship, Billerman said, the Eagles need to be explosive offensively.
“I think we were dead last year in offense,” he said. “That’s not going to happen this year.”