Jacolby Criswell on why he’s returning to UNC football program

Remember the name Jacolby Criswell?

If you do, it’s because he was in a pretty tight battle for the QB1 spot with Drake Maye ahead of the 2022 UNC football season.

Sam Howell recently departed for the 2022 NFL Draft, leaving North Carolina with two largely unproven quarterbacks at the collegiate level.

Criswell transferred to Arkansas ahead of the 2023 campaign, with Maye locking down the starting job not far into 2022. The hope for Criswell was to compete with KJ Jefferson for the starting job, but Criswell only played four games in reserve action, though he did throw three touchdowns.

Criswell, an Arkansas native, re-entered the transfer portal two weeks back and found his destination – North Carolina.

It’s not uncommon to see a student-athlete enter a transfer portal, but it is rare to see them back at their initial program.

In a recent interview with InsideCarolina, Criswell explained his decision in returning to Chapel Hill:

“Well, I’m still close with all the guys here,” Criswell told InsideCarolina’s Jeremiah Holloway. Just being around those guys my first couple of years and the culture here — I mean, this is where I committed to begin with. So there was a reason why I committed here. And just looking back at everything, this is actually my home. And a lot of times, when you leave somewhere, it’s not good to go back. But when it comes to Carolina, it’s always great.”

Criswell’s return gives UNC yet another weapon and tough choice at quarterback, as Duke’s Mayo Bowl starter Conner Harrell and Texas A&M transfer Max Johnson were already competing for the starting gig. Harrell’s upside is a strong arm, longstanding chemistry with his teammates and familiarity with the system, while Johnson brings several years of starting experience to the table.

Criswell has not started a game yet, but he’s even more familiar with North Carolina’s system than Harrell.

Will that familiarity be enough to land Criswell the starting job in his return?

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire