Senior dual-threat quarterback Trazon Connley.
Senior dual-threat quarterback Trazon Connley (14) back to lead the Prairie View Panthers’ explosive offense for the second straight season. Credit: Prairie View Athletic Department

It wasn’t like Prairie View quarterback Trazon Connley hadn’t played a lot of football coming into last season, because he had.

But as a full-time starter for the Panthers, there are nuances of the position he found himself lacking. But the dual-threat senior believes he has a much better grasp of the offense and his team as he heads into year two as the Panthers starter.

“When you go through the first year it’s like growing pains, leadership pains from time to time,” said Connley, who will lead the Panthers when they take on rival Texas Southern in Saturday’s 38th Annual Labor Day Classic at Shell Energy Stadium. “Now it’s all cool.

“We went through it last year and we lost certain games we weren’t supposed to lose. So now it’s up to me to be like, ‘Cool, we can’t lose those same games again. We can’t make the same mistakes twice.’”

“I have to lead them. I have to be that vocal leader because I know last year I didn’t do that. Now I do that and I’m not even a dude that talks. But when I do talk, they listen.”

Connley has the full attention of his team for sure, because much like last season, the Panthers’ success will depend heavily on him. He came close to guiding the Panthers to their second straight SWAC Championship appearance with a 7-5 overall record and 6-2 mark in conference.

Along the way, Connley proved to be one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the SWAC as a capable passer and exciting runner. He finished as the SWAC sixth-best rusher with 663 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, while ranking seventh in passing after completing nearly 59% of his passes for 1,462 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.

But Connley, who didn’t make the preseason All-SWAC team despite his impressive numbers, believes with the talent he has around him this year that even bigger things are in store. He believes they will be able to unlock even more of the offense in Bubba McDowell’s second season at the helm.

It will all be on display out the gate Saturday when Connley goes head-to-head against his more celebrated counterpart Andrew Body in the rivalry game.

“We have more weapons and when you have more people you can do a little bit more, you can make certain changes. They can do it. We didn’t have that last year.

“Now it’s more comforting, because y’all can change things, we can run this and we can run that. We are on the same page now, especially with the (No.1) group. Now, we have to get everybody else going.”

To get himself going, Connley attended the Elite Quarterback Camp of Black College quarterback guru Quincy Avery this summer in Atlanta. They worked a lot on improving his throwing motion and the improvement has been clear during fall camp.

“His game has stepped up quite a bit,” McDowell said. “He went to a camp this year in Atlanta with some pro guys and learned on the field things and he also learned some things in the classroom, as well, for four days. I think that helped him out quite a bit and he is looking really good.”

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....