CARBONDALE — College football has been a bit of a roller coaster for Stone Labanowitz. SIU head coach Nick Hill named Labanowitz the Saluki starting quarterback after a three-way battle for the job in training camp.
Following a successful freshman season at ASA junior college in New York, Labanowitz said he committed to Hill during a phone call–knowing nothing about SIU. Last year, he threw one pass as the third string QB behind Sam Straub and Matt DeSomer. He had offseason back surgery and missed essentially all of the spring practices, but then came into fall camp and delivered consistent production to earn the trust of his teammates and the starting nod from his head coach.
"I think I’m a players’ player, you know the term ‘players’ coach’? I think I’m a players’ player," said Labanowitz. "I think guys can get behind me because they’ve seen flashes of what I can do, and they know my abilities and capabilities. I can earn trust from a lot of guys a lot of time. And it’s natural, it’s organic. None of it’s ever fake, I’m not a fake person. So I feel like I create a great relationship with a lot of these guys, and that translates directly to the field."
"Stone has a good presence about himself, a confidence presence that he’s a good teammate," said SIU head coach Nick Hill. "His teammates have seen him be a good teammate in a backup and every role, and signal plays, and go through back surgery and come out and all that kind of stuff. Stone can relate to a lot of guys on the team."
Labanowitz says he’s anxious and excited to lead the Salukis into battle next Thursday night in the season opener at SEMO.