Monmouth football: Can veteran QB lead Hawks back to FCS playoffs?

WEST LONG BRANCH – After taking the field at Kessler Stadium with his teammates for the first time Monday as Monmouth opened spring practice, graduate transfer quarterback Marquez McCray had no problem summarizing why he was there.

“We have similar goals,” the Philadelphia native said. “They want to win a conference championship in the CAA and go to the FCS Playoffs, and I’ve been able to do that a few times in a very competitive conference, so we’re all just trying to get to the highest level.”

In McCray’s case, there was his 29-yard TD in overtime to former Manalapan star Nasaim Brantley to win the Northeast Conference title and put Sacred Heart in the playoffs during the 2021 spring season, before leading them back to the postseason that fall.  And while the Pioneers didn’t make it last year, McCray’s highlight reel included a win over No. 15 Dartmouth and a 400-yard passing effort in another game.

Monmouth quarterback Marquez McCray, who joined the team as a graduate transfer, took the field with his teammates for the first time Monday as spring practice got underway in West Long Branch.

Because after losing All-American quarterback Tony Muskett, who transferred to Virginia where he is likely to be the Cavaliers’ starter this season, finding an experienced quarterback to join sophomore Enzo Arjona, who started the final three games last season when Muskett hurt his knee, was imperative.

“Marquez is a guy who had a lot of success at Sacred Heart,” Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan said. “He knows what it takes to win, and that’s a good thing. Losing Tony was tough, but you have to turn the page and move on and start building for the next season, just like he’s doing at Virginia.”

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