This headline might have once referenced James Tabary, the former Red Wolves signal caller who went on to have a solid college career at McNeese State – and is now apparently doing his part to kick COVID-19’s ass. Tabary was a talent out of New Orleans who desperately wanted to be The Guy, but was relegated to warming the sideline as Fredi Knighten secured his own legacy as one of Arkansas State’s most accomplished quarterbacks. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
Tabary might have been the greatest quarterback the Red Wolves never really knew – had it not been for Logan Bonner. On Monday night, he submitted his credentials for the position:
Bonner’s announcement comes on the heels of when his under-center corporate partner, Layne Hatcher, was named the Manning Award’s Star of the Week behind a five touchdown performance against ULM. Bonner, brilliant in the loss to South Alabama just the week before, wasn’t bad against the Warhawks. Hatcher was the hot hand – a hand that has often belonged to Bonner this season. That’s how these things go sometimes.
Bonner did his share of sideline warming behind A-State legend Justice Hansen. When his time finally arrived in 2019, Bonner shined in throwing 10 TDs and averaging 263 yards in four starts. His signature game was a tough home loss to SMU, when he outgunned Shane Buechele with 4 touchdowns and 324 yards.
Bonner provide all of this meaty production with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. After SMU, Coach Blake Anderson announced that Bonner was done for the year, and that untested freshman Layne Hatcher would be assuming duties under center.
Hatcher responded with his own storied season, placing the coaching staff in a quandary – stick with Hatcher’s hot hand, or maintain loyalty to Bonner. Both quarterbacks offered identical games – effective passing and limited legs. Neither provided a significant advantage over the other. Rather than make the hard decision to chose one over the other, Anderson chose to punt.
In a stupid season of COVID-19, the unconventional madness of rotating two QBs maintained a measure of method; you never knew when the virus was going to take out a player. Keeping both QBs game ready seemed wise. And quite frankly, the rotation is not the root cause of the Red Wolves’ woes in 2020.
Bonner and Hatcher are essentially the same The Guy, matching nearly perfectly on the statistic sheet. Sometimes, Hatcher had the hot hand. Sometimes it was Bonner. Both earned the staring job and neither earned the bench.
Yet, it was Bonner who decided to move on. Hatcher, with more years of eligibility, could afford to bide his time. Bonner’s iron is hot right now. He wants to be The Guy, not The Other Guy. Bonner called an audible.
With all due respect to Tabar, Logan Bonner is the Greatest Red Wolves QB We’ll Never Really Know. He played through pain. He was patient behind Hansen. He made big plays. He’ll be a superstar somewhere else.
That’s how it goes sometimes.
PHOTO CREDIT: Travis Clayton Photography