The quarterback battle ended sooner than expected.
Ohio quarterback JD Sprague left the team Wednesday, with the quarterback citing health concerns as the reason for his exit from the team.
Sprague underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in the spring. Solich said Sprague left because he did not feel he could contribute for the team.
According to MedicineNet.com, Thoracic outlet syndrome causes the fingers to become numb, and pain often happens in one shoulder and arm, along with one side of the neck. Blood flow is restricted between the base of the neck and armpit because of compressed blood vessels or nerves.
The announcement of Sprague’s decision came first from Jason Arkley of The Athens Messenger.
Coach Frank Solich said Sprague informed offensive coordinators Tim Albin and Scott Isphording of his decision at Monday’s afternoon practice. Sprague did not participate in Tuesday’s practice or Wednesday’s morning workout.
Last season, Sprague played in seven games, throwing for 921 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He is concerned about his health right now,” Solich said. “He’s lost a lot of weight. He’s been unable to get his strength up to where he wants it.”
With Sprague’s departure, the Bobcats are left with four quarterbacks on their roster: Greg Windham, Joey Duckworth, Quinton Maxwell and Deeb Hader. Hader, a freshman walk-on from Lewis Center, Ohio, went to his first practice Wednesday.
Windham is the most experienced of the group, playing in nine games and throwing one touchdown last season. Windham and Sprague were likely going to compete for the starting quarterback spot, but with Sprague’s departure, Windham will likely be the starter for the Bobcats.
“Greg was very good in the scrimmage,” Solich said. “He’s leading the pack right now. All three of these guys have shown improvement. Now, they have to get more consistent.”
Windham being the presumed starter shouldn’t have the Bobcats in panic mode. Windham got all first-team reps during spring practice as Sprague was out with his injury. He’s played well with the first team, and he’s prepared to be the starter.
But the Bobcats will also need Windham to stay healthy, as Maxwell and Duckworth have not taken a snap at the college level.
Sprague’s departure also brings concerns for Ohio’s roster as a whole. Sprague is the third player to leave this off-season because of health concerns. Former cornerback Langston Provitt and former quarterback Conner Krizancic left earlier this off-season because of head-related injury concerns.