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South Carolina to start a GA at QB

After arriving in Columbia to coach, Zeb Noland will now start South Carolina's opener at quarterback.

Well, he's done it.

South Carolina graduate assistant Zeb Noland will start at quarterback when the Gamecocks face against Eastern Illinois, according to multiple reports on Tuesday. ESPN's Chris Low was the first to report the news.

Noland arrived in Columbia this summer after spending the past two seasons at North Dakota State. His career began at Iowa State, where he competed for the Cyclones' starting job but injury took him out, and the job was won by then-freshman Brock Purdy. (Purdy, of course, is still Iowa State's starter.)

Noland then went to North Dakota State for the 2019 season, where he was beaten out by Trey Lance -- who, of course, is now gunning for the San Francisco 49ers' QB1 job as the third pick in the 2021 draft.

Noland did earn starters reps for the Bison in this spring season, but didn't play well enough to keep the job. He was eventually replaced by freshman Cam Miller.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Noland took the South Carolina job to begin his professional career, until fate had other ideas.

South Carolina opened camp expecting to start Luke Doty, a sophomore who started the Gamecocks' final three games last season. 

But Doty suffered a foot injury in camp, and the Gamecocks' only options behind him where another FCS transfer, a former walk-on, and a true freshman.

And so Noland will put the pads back on for a third school after beating out St. Francis transfer Jason Brown. All indications are that Noland is keeping the job warm until Doty returns. In fact, head coach Shane Beamer just last week said he expected Doty back in time for Saturday's opener, so Noland's time atop the depth chart may be short. 

But perhaps the football gods have a sense of humor. After losing his job to younger players due to his own injuries, maybe now it's Noland's turn to return the favor... at the highest level he's ever played.... after he thought his playing career was over.