Incumbent quarterback Blake LaRussa will not be on the roster once ODU opens their season against Norfolk State next August.
LaRussa is set to graduate early and transfer to a seminary school after leading the Monarchs to a win over Virginia Tech and starting eight games in 2018.
The 5’10” junior completed 63.4% of his passes this year for a total of 3,015 yards and 19 touchdowns. LaRussa played in 11 games this season, earning him Conference USA All-Conference honorable mention accolades.
LaRussa’s proficiency passing the ball helped elevate senior receivers Travis Fulgham and Jonathan Duhart into NFL draft prospects.
Old Dominion added two quarterbacks to their roster during the early signing period this week. Stone Smartt, a JUCO commit will be set to compete with incoming freshman Hayden Wolff from Florida.
LaRussa did have one year of eligibility left but will forgo that final season.
ODU Head Coach Bobby Wilder spoke with The Athletic following the Monarchs’ upset win over Virginia Tech to give some insight into LaRussa’s personality.
“He’s such a likable person,” Wilder said. “Nationally, now people will get to know him. What you’ll find out is he’s very religious, he’s smart, he’s a good student. He’s the type of person you enjoy being around, because he’s always positive, and he genuinely cares about everybody he’s in contact with. His stature in the community will grow. He’s the type of person you pull for.”
LaRussa’s departure is a big hit for a quarterback room lacking veteran experience, sans Steven Williams who will be returning after starting four games in 2018. The Monarchs will have practically no on-field experience to point to behind Williams. Drayton Arnold and Jonah Fitzgerald are two underclassmen quarterbacks who saw limited playing time for the Monarchs this season.
LaRussa’s decision could be a factor in the Monarchs going after Smartt prior to early signing day, and could drastically change the future of Monarch football.
This article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.