If twoâ€™s company and threeâ€™s a crowd, then five must be a party, and M.J. McPeek is invited.
The sophomore quarterback is one of five quarterbacks in the mix this spring for the starting job, but heâ€™s a distant fifth behind top-runners T.J. Borcky, Jon Eastman, Nico Ranieri and Pete Thomas.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound sophomore preferred walk-on transferred to CSU last fall from Kansas State. He served as the scout team quarterback during practice throughout last season, an experience he said could help with his competition this spring.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t our offense, running the Utah and Air Force offense every week, but it was nice because there were similarities to our offense,â€ McPeek said. â€œIt was a good change of pace to get out there and go full speed against the defense and see what itâ€™s like.â€
Borcky, Ranieri and Thomas have taken the majority of snaps in practice thus far, but McPeek did get some reps in the teamâ€™s second practice, connecting with receiver Jyrone Hickman for a 50-yard completion.
Itâ€™s little opportunities like those that McPeek needs to take advantage of and show what he can do.
â€œCertainly M.J. can get thrown into the mix,â€ said quarterback coach Daren Wilkinson. â€œCoach Fairchild is not shy to throw a guy out of there if he starts making mistakes, and thatâ€™s where you get your chance and you make the most of it.â€
With only so many opportunities in practice, Wilkinson said the mental work the quarterbacks do in the film room is vital.
â€œItâ€™s huge. The way we spread out our days, they get time to go watch film and digest things they do, so thatâ€™s where they learn,â€ Wilkinson said.
McPeek is hitting the playbook hard, studying every aspect of the game.
â€œThatâ€™s probably where itâ€™s going to be won or lost, the mental game, making the right reads, progressing the right way, knowing what blitzes are coming, when theyâ€™re coming,â€ McPeek said.
A 2008 graduate of Rangeview High School in Aurora, McPeek passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns his senior year. He walked on at Kansas State that fall as a freshman.
But the Rocky Mountains called him back home. McPeek, who enjoys fishing, hunting and going to the mountains, grew homesick and returned to Colorado, walking on with CSU last fall.
â€œIt was a great learning experience and everything, but I was homesick and it was tough being away, and itâ€™s just a little bit more home (at CSU) than it was at Kansas State,â€ McPeek said.
Since McPeek was with the team throughout the fall, Wilkinson and the coaching staff know the skills he has.
â€œM.J. has good size and a good arm. I think heâ€™s a tough guy as well and has shown some intelligence,â€ Wilkinson said. â€œHeâ€™s shown that he can be a leader and certainly done some good things in the offseason. Weâ€™ve got to get him a snap or two and see what he can do.â€
Now McPeek just has to wait for his opportunity.
â€œI feel like I just need to keep going at it. Iâ€™m giving it my all and just hoping that some of these cards fall in my favor one of these days,â€ McPeek said.
Football Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.
Weight: 218 pounds
Joined the Rams as a walk-on in August and spent the season as a scout-team quarterback.