As a true freshman last season, Texas Southern quarterback Andrew Body found the information being thrust his way and the increased speed of the game may have been a bit much to absorb.

But it’s very different this time around.

Thrown into the starting role around midseason in 2021, Body now seems so much more comfortable in his role. It’s evident whether in his attire where he wore a turtleneck underneath his suit jacket in the Alabama heat during last month’s SWAC Media Day or how No. 1 takes control of the offense during practice.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t say comfort level,” Body said to The Defender. “I would say I feel a lot more confident because last year being a freshman, you might have a couple of freshmen moments, but I feel like this year going in, I feel like it’s going to be a lot more… I’m a lot more mature.”

Much is expected of TSU sophomore quarterback Andrew Body who made things happen for the Tigers last season with both his arm and his legs as a legit dual-threat quarterback.

With that growth comes increased expectations. While not much is expected from the long-struggling Tigers this season, all eyes are certainly on their young dual-threat quarterback who came in and immediately made things happen with his arm and legs.

Body threw for 2,017 yards, 11 touchdowns versus four interceptions, while completing nearly 57% of his passes and finishing his freshman season with a 142.1 rating. He also ran for 642 yards and five touchdowns while playing an instrumental role in the Tigers breaking a 16-game losing streak and finishing with three wins last season.

In a league loaded with quarterback talent this season, Body impressed the SWAC coaches enough to select him to the All-SWAC Preseason Second Team despite his team being picked to finish last in the West Division in the preseason poll.

Body simply shrugs off the increased expectations.

“It just comes with it,” said Body, who this summer inked a Name, Image and Likeness deal with local food truck The Fry Guys. “If you play the game right and you do what you’ve got to do, it’s just going to come with it. You just have to go with the play calls and the coaches are going to coach you so you know what you’ve got to do on the field. So going game-by-game, week-by-week, practice-by-practice, it’s just going to be easy because you know what you are doing to execute.”

Body takes a much more serious tone when the discussion shifts to the low expectations placed on his team. Tigers coach Clarence McKinney played quite a few young players during last season’s 3-8 campaign. So they return much more experienced and the Tigers have also added some talent through the transfer portal which all may not have been accounted for during the preseason poll.

“People are going to pick how they feel, but they are not the people on the field,” said Body, known to his teammates and around campus as A.B. “Based off those rankings, that [has] nothing to do with us. We are just going to go into every game, but we are going to keep that in the back of our mind though.”

Quarterback Andrew Body passed for 2,017 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading the Tigers to three wins a true freshman last season. Credit: TSU.

But it all starts with Body.

McKinney, who isn’t quick to wax poetic about his players, wants to see his young quarterback improve over last season when he played on pure raw talent. He has been pleased with what he has seen so far in training camp.

“We hope that there is a huge growth from the first year to the second year,” said McKinney, whose team opens the season facing rival Prairie View A&M in the Labor Day Classic on Sept. 3. “He understands what we are asking him to do a lot better. Last year he felt like he had to make every play. Now he understands that his teammates can help him make plays, make it a lot easier on him.”

In the meantime, Body is growing into his role and coming into his own in the process.

“Every person has a mojo for sure, so I will just say, I’ve got my swagger for sure, and I’ve got my swagger off the field for sure, for sure,” he said. “I do feel comfortable, I can be myself now.  I’m just focused on one thing and that is Week 1 and then going week-by-week and practice-by-practice because it’s helping me and it’s going to be something to look forward to, for sure.”

ABOUT ANDREW BODY

Height: 6-feet-2

Weight: 195

High School: Miller (Corpus Christi)

Social Media: Twitter (@ANDREWBODY), Instagram (@andrew_bodyfanpage526)

NIL Deal: The Fry Guys