17-year-old to start at quarterback for Old Dominion vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech

Old Dominion University players run onto the field for an NCAA college football game against North Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 in Norfolk, Va.

Less than two years after first being eligible to get a driver’s license, Steven Williams is starting at quarterback vs. the No. 13 team in the country. On the road, no less.

Williams, who turns 18 in November, is now Old Dominion’s starting quarterback. After the team burned his redshirt in a 53-23 loss to North Carolina he’s making the first start of his career Saturday vs. Virginia Tech.

And coach Bobby Wilder sure thinks he’s ready. From the Virginian Pilot: 

“At 17 years old, he has to become the defined leader of this organization,” coach Bobby Wilder said.

Wilder paused.

“I personally think he has the ability to do it.”

The initial plan was for Williams to get experience and not play in 2017. After all, the team would save a year of eligibility by doing so. But after the team put up just 17 points in a win over UMass and got blown out by North Carolina, Old Dominion figured it was already time to make Williams the youngest starting QB in college football.

He finished the game vs. the Tar Heels 9-20 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. That may not be an impressive statline on the surface, but quarterbacks Blake LaRussa and Justin Hoy combined to go 5-12 for 75 yards and an interception before Wilder decided it was time to give Williams a shot.

Williams was only a two-star recruit according to Rivals, but Old Dominion coaches became enamored with him early in the recruiting process and feared he’d sign with a bigger school. He stuck with Old Dominion after committing in the fall of 2016. And now he’s starting for the team a year later.

Virginia Tech’s going to be a heck of a test. While the Hokies’ defense is in the middle of the pack nationally, there are far easier places to make your first start than against longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster in Blacksburg. And Wilder wants Williams to know that if he gets off to a rough start on Saturday that he won’t get benched.

“He’s not going to lose his job,” Wilder told the Pilot. “We’re committed to him, so we’ve got to grow with him.”


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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!