Dominique Shoffner signed with the 49ers in December of 2019 and has positioned himself to compete early on in his time in the Queen City. Charlotte is Shoffner’s third stop, and second in the state of North Carolina as he started his career at NC Central before transferring to Monroe college in New York. Depth is much improved across the board for the 49ers, and the next man up mentality will be on display this weekend as Charlotte looks to secure a program-changing victory over North Carolina without their starting quarterback.
With both the size and speed to bring a dual-threat look to the offense, Shoffner will fit right in with Will Healy’s spread scheme. Standing at 6’0” and 209 lbs, Shoffner has the physicality and pocket awareness to do damage on the run. His game will translate well as starting quarterback Chris Reynolds carried the ball 153 times in 2019.
Shoffner brings a competitive attitude to the locker room with only two scholarship quarterbacks, himself and Reynolds.
“I definitely didn’t come here to be a backup,” Shoffner said over the summer. “I’m going to compete day in and day out and work to be the best version of myself.”
Competition breeds excellence, and that is exactly what Dominique Shoffner brings to the table. The 2019 quarterback competition consisted of the eventual starter, Chris Reynolds, and two grad transfers, Brett Kean, and Evan Sherriffs. With the departure of both grad transfers, the quarterback room lacked solidified depth until the newly minted offensive coordinator, Mark Carney, scouted Shoffner out of New York.
Shoffner led Monroe College to an 8-3 record and threw for 2,488 yards and 27 touchdowns, as well as 441 yards and 14 scores on the ground in 2019. The Cary, North Carolina native earned both first-team all-conference and Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Before the inevitable pause of spring practice, Dom had quickly risen to number two on the depth chart. Coach Healy was hesitant to name a starter in his first year calling the shots, but was extremely clear this offseason.
“This is Chris Reynolds’ football team. Competition is a part of life. Every day somebody is trying to take your job. Every day somebody is trying to take my job. They need to compete every day like their job isn’t safe.”
“Getting Dom at quarterback… We had to add somebody in that room that could compete and help us win next year,” Healy said.
No better time than the present.
Following a tough loss against Appalachian State, Reynolds has found himself sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Shoffner will step in and be the starter against the #12 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels - trial by fire, you could say.
Shoffner posted the 4th highest QB efficiency rating in JUCO last season but will be hounded by a Carolina defense that racked up seven sacks against Syracuse last week. You can expect to see a lot of run-pass-options, and plenty of carries for Shoffner and his roommate, running back Tre Harbison.
HB: When did you start playing football, and what inspired you to continue playing the game?
Dom Shoffner: I started playing football at the age of five, the first year it was tackle football, and I really loved it. My first year I was on the offensive line, but sixth grade was when I started playing quarterback. I was a really active kid, and I just really loved football. My family is big on football, and I really embraced it in high school and felt the passion - that’s what kept me going. The chips on my shoulder - in high school I was overlooked. I had to go out there and send my film out to get coaches to see me.
HB: Tell me about your journey starting from Middle Creek High school to now being in the Queen City.
Dom Shoffner: I was 28-2 as a starter in my junior and senior years of high school, and I made a whole bunch of accolades for that. I was originally committed to Army - they really loved me, and I thought that was the path I wanted to go. I just felt like that military standpoint, I really wasn’t feeling it. North Carolina Central stayed in touch with me the entire time, and Coach Mack (who’s now at Rice) - he recruited me. I was there for two years, and after one redshirt year, I got in the mix in the second season. Central had a coaching change every single year I was there, and it wasn’t a stable situation. I wanted to be somewhere where I could be the man and showcase my talent, so I chose to go the JUCO path with Monroe college in New York. I had a great season there, and I think I broke every passing stat for Monroe, and now I’m here with Coach Carney.
HB: Charlotte has changed offensive coordinators every year for the past three seasons, but this time via promotion. What is your relationship like with Coach Carney?
Dom Shoffner: Coach Carney was the main man to recruit me out of New York. I have a great relationship with him, and I’m fully confident in his ability to make play calls. It’s great when the QB coach is the OC too, and I know the quarterback coach will want to throw the ball.
HB: What kind of talent do you bring to the program when you step on the field?
Dom Shoffner: I would say leadership abilities. Grabbing the guys to buy into who I am. I would say I’m a dual-threat quarterback as well so I can pass it as well as maneuver around and run it as well. I feel like I have the ability to get the guys to buy in and win that conference championship.
HB: Did you operate in the spread offensive scheme at Monroe?
Dom Shoffner: Yes, definitely. We did a lot of RPO’s and drop backs there. The same as high school. Tre Harbison is actually my roommate so that chemistry is building as well.
HB: What did you see from Charlotte in 2019 that sparked your interest?
Dom Shoffner: Coach Healy really just came in here and changed the culture here. In a one year span, to go to a bowl game is just awesome. I’m here to just build on that. I want to change the program as well and just follow his guidelines. I know they had success on offense, and I feel like it can continue to improve.
HB: What role do you hope to play on this team?
Dom Shoffner: I definitely didn’t come here to be a backup. I’m going to compete day in and day out and work to be the best version of myself. I just want to have that leadership role - just encouraging guys, no matter what it is, on and off the field. I just want to be a good student, guy, football player, son - and just being a good person all around.
HB: The offense is losing substantial pieces up front from 2019 to 2020, how do you think this unit will fill the gaps?
Dom Shoffner: I know that we have almost all of our receivers coming back, and D’mitri Emmanual and Jaelin Fischer are coming back on the offensive line, those are two important guys. We definitely have a lot of guys that can fill the gaps. I’m confident that as long as we are working every day; the sky is the limit this season.