Commentary

Devin Dominguez makes his pitch

Updated: September 8, 2010, 6:59 PM ET
By Donald Hunt | Special to ESPN.com

Devin Dominguez didn't have any problems getting the ball across the plate for Alabama State's baseball team.

Dominguez, a starting pitcher, threw a lot of fastballs this past spring. Now, he's throwing the football for touchdowns as Alabama State's starting quarterback.

He made his debut as the Hornets' signal-caller and put on an impressive display, completing 20 of 29 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns to lead Alabama State to a 34-6 victory over Mississippi Valley State.

"He had some success early on and made some nice throws," Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow said. "He played well. The thing he has to improve on is the tempo of the game, keeping his eyes on the play clock and getting the team in and out of the huddle. He had a couple [plays] there he had to check out of to get us some better plays. But this was his first start.

"Devin had never really gone through spring ball with us or anything. But this year we made a conscious effort to allow him to be the starting quarterback. He came out and won the job and got off to a good start."

Dominguez is an interesting story. He came to Alabama State from Paul Harding High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he was a terrific baseball player. Dominguez was being recruited primarily as a baseball player. Barlow learned about his football prowess through Hornets assistant baseball coach Anthony Macon. Dominguez, a 6-foot-5, 201-pound junior, played quarterback in high school, leading Paul Harding to a state championship in football. Barlow didn't have him under center his first two years, but he had to give him some playing time.

"He was too athletic to be on the sideline," Barlow said. "If you're not going to be the starting quarterback, you need to be doing something else. We played him at wide receiver and tight end. He did a good job. I think last [year] he made some really big catches to sustain some drives. Above all other things, ... he has a competitive nature. He likes to compete and give it his best."

Dominguez has done well despite not participating in spring practice (because of his commitment to baseball). He has some great receivers to help him out, including T.C. McWilliams and Nick Andrews. McWilliams had a huge game against the Delta Devils, catching seven passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Andrews had three receptions for 28 yards and one score. Andrews, a junior wide receiver, was a second-team all-conference selection last year.

Alabama State (1-0) will host Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-1) on Saturday in the Hornets' second Southwest Athletic Conference game in as many weeks. The Golden Lions could have their hands full with Alabama State's passing attack.

With McWilliams and Andrews running crisp passing routes, Dominguez should be able to throw some strikes to them. If that's the case, he could have a big year.

HBCU notes

• Dominguez isn't the only quarterback who had a sensational opening week. Jackson State junior quarterback Casey Therriault threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns to carry the Tigers to a 32-17 win over Delta State in the W.C. Gorden Classic. Therriault was named offensive player of the game and was also chosen as the SWAC offensive player of the week.

• Prairie View A&M freshman linebacker Marcus White was the SWAC defensive player of the week. In his first career game for the Panthers, White had a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 16-14 win over rival Texas Southern. White also had a game-high 13 total tackles (four solo) and a pass defended.

• Bethune-Cookman senior quarterback Matthew Johnson was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference offensive player of the week. Johnson led the Wildcats to a 70-10 season-opening win over Edward Waters, completing 9-of-11 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. He also had four carries for 122 yards and another score.

• Norfolk State junior linebacker Corwin Hammond was chosen as the MEAC defensive player of the week. Hammond had 12 tackles, seven solo, in the Spartans' 31-0 loss to Rutgers. He recorded two tackles for a loss of 12 yards and one sack for a 10-yard loss. Hammond led a defensive unit that limited the Scarlet Knights' offense to just six first-half points.

• Southern's first-year head coach Stump Mitchell had a big smile on his face after the Jaguars defeated Delaware State in a come-from-behind 37-27 victory in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The win made it a successful debut for Mitchell. Southern running back Sylvester Nzekwe led the Jaguars with 98 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. Nzekwe was named the game's MVP for Southern.

• Delaware State wide receiver Larrone Moore was selected as the Hornets' MVP. Moore collected 180 all-purpose yards and also became the first Delaware State player with two touchdowns of 85 or more yards in a game.

• Ted White, the current quarterbacks coach at Southern, was a member of the Howard football team that finished 10-2 and captured the Heritage Bowl with a 27-24 win over Southern in 1996.

Bobby Jones, the current defensive line coach for Delaware State, was a teammate of White at Howard during that season and lined up against him every day in practice.

Rayford Petty, the current defensive coordinator for Delaware State and former head coach at Howard, was the defensive coordinator with Howard during that season. He had to go against White in practice each day. He was calling signals in an attempt to thwart the Southern offense in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. White, who is from Baton Rouge, La., holds all the school and MEAC passing records and was inducted into the MEAC Hall of Fame this past March. He threw for almost 10,000 yards in his career and threw 36 TD passes in his sophomore season.

• The gridiron clash between Division II Tuskegee from SIAC and Texas Southern was originally scheduled for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Instead, it will be played in Mobile, Ala. Tuskegee and the city of Mobile recently reached an agreement for the two schools to meet on Sept. 25 at the 40,000-seat Ladd Peebles Stadium, which serves as the home football field for four area high schools, the University of South Alabama, the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, the GMAC Bowl and the Senior Bowl.

• Texas Southern will be tested in this game. Tuskegee is the No. 1 ranked Division II school among black colleges.

• The latest HSRN black college poll for FCS Division I HBCU teams has South Carolina State ranked No. 1. Here's the rest of the top 10:

1. South Carolina State
2. Prairie View A&M
3. Florida A&M
4. Grambling State
5. Norfolk State
6. Tennessee State
7. Texas Southern
8. Morgan State
9. Southern
10. Alabama State

Donald Hunt is a columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune. His HBCU Notebook on ESPN.com can be found here. Got a story idea for Hunt? E-mail him at dhunt37261@aol.com.