From the beginning of the season, redshirt freshman Nick Starkel received rave reviews on his arm strength.
“[He] can throw it through the wall,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said at SEC Media Days.
So far, Starkel hasn’t held any demolition demonstrations, but Saturday one of his throws broke open the hand of senior tight end Tanner Schorp. The injury required three stitches.
“He was sorry about that because it was right before the game,” Schorp said. “I kind of just rubbed it off. That kid’s got a cannon. I can vouch for that.”
While running short slant routes during warmups, prior to the senior night game, one of Starkel’s passes connected with Schorps hand awkwardly, Schorp said. After the pregame workout, Schorp said he noticed blood dripping through his glove.
A deep gash split between his index and middle finger, which trainers quickly taped up for the game, he said. While he said he could have handled catching a pass during the game, he was not targeted Saturday.
Once the adrenaline of the 55-14 victory wore off, he realized he was in a considerable amount of pain and had the cut stitched up, he said.
The week prior, senior wide receiver Damion Ratley said he took precautionary measures before his second touchdown catch against Auburn to avoid any injury due to Starkel’s power.
“'Look, it’s going to be open and I’m going to be five yards away from you and you don’t have to throw a bullet,’” Ratley said he told the redshirt freshman.
“He listened to me and he threw it right in there and I was able to catch it and keep going,” Ratley continued.
In just over three halves of play this season, Starkel has posted 795 yards and seven passing touchdowns, while throwing one interception. His 416 yards in the first half of Saturday’s bout with New Mexico was 95 short of the school’s single-game record set by Kenny Hill in 2014. Starkel earned SEC freshman of the week honors.
Schorp, who was roommates with former A&M quarterback Trevor Knight, declined to compare Starkel’s arm strength to past Aggie quarterbacks, but currently sports a noticeable reminder of Starkel’s missiles.
“He definitely puts a lot of zip on the ball,” Schorp said. “He can really sling it, no doubt.”