At this time last year, Kieran McDonagh was a senior at Vancouver (Wa.) Skyview High, and most of his collegiate suitors envisioned the 6-foot-1, 240-pound standout as a future star linebacker.
And that wasn’t the only hurdle he had to clear to prove he could be a quarterback at the Division I level.
According to an Oregonian story published earlier this fall, McDonagh went from having his scholarship offer from Portland State rescinded to earning it back by taking his team to the state championship game, being asked to grayshirt and eventually winning the starting job in fall camp to become the first true freshman opening-game starter in the Vikings’ recent memory.
And the story has only gotten better midway through the season.
Running Portland State’s pistol spread, McDonagh’s proving to be a dangerous dual threat sooner than anybody could have ever expected.
In the Vikings’ most recent game, a 77-10 victory over Idaho State two weeks ago, McDonagh accounted for six touchdowns, running for 67 yards and four TDs and passing for 280 yards and another score. His final score came on a 22-yard touchdown reception.
With 229 passing yards per game, McDonagh ranks 29th overall in the FCS. The only other freshman rated ahead of him is Northern Iowa’s Sawyer Kollmorgen.
But McDonagh is the top-performing true freshman. Kollmorgen redshirted at Northern Iowa last season.
McDonagh also ranks 10th in the FCS in points responsible for, accounting for 16 per game. There isn’t another freshman in the top 25.