STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - New Years Eve, Georgia Southern’s starting quarterback, Shai Werts, announced he was entering the NCAA Transfer Portal to play his sixth year of college football at another school.
Werts has made a place for himself in the Georgia Southern football record books, but after four years as the Eagles starting quarterback, he decided it was time to start a new chapter.
He said heading into the New Orleans Bowl, he knew that was his final game as an Eagle, but was unsure if he would transfer, or enter the NFL Draft. He explained he had been nursing a shoulder injury for the entire season, telling WTOC sometimes he was receiving injections that would numb his shoulder before the game and at halftime, and after sitting the final games out, he didn’t even practice until bowl week.
“I’ve done put my body through this for four years, you know what I’m saying? And I’ve been on everybody else’s terms, risking my body, sacrificing everything, and I just felt like, ok, this is a time I’ve got to choose myself,” Werts said about his decision to play. “I’ve got to go with my gut feeling. I told myself, ‘Ok, if I can’t go, if I’ve got to rely on this shot to play, then I’m not playing.”
He says he was probably 75-percent healthy, but managed to win MVP, throwing for one touchdown and rushing for three.
Werts said he is looking at Power Five schools, and is making the switch to wide receiver or athlete, a position he has never really played outside of a high school all-star game, but he says he feels that is the best decision for his future
“I don’t want there to be no question about, ‘ok he played receiver, but he ain’t really played against no competition.’ Like, I don’t want that to be a question. Like, I want to play against the best, because I feel like I am, I’m one of the best, and I feel like if I can do that in a good conference, it shouldn’t be no question,” Werts explained.
The four-time All Sun Belt Honorable Mention player made national headlines after he was arrested for cocaine possession in South Carolina just before the 2019 season. The charges were eventually dropped following an investigation.
Over the summer, when social justice came to the forefront, Werts used his experience to advocate for change.
As a 2020 finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is given to a college football player that serves others, while also performing on the field and classroom, he hopes those are the things Eagle Nation remembers him for.
“The biggest thing for me is the impact I had off the field, and that means more to me than anything, any touchdown, any record, any bowl game, bowl ring- anything like that.”
The Clinton, South Carolina native said his recruitment is going well, and he wants to enroll in January, so it will be a quick decision, but he added Statesboro and Georgia Southern will always mean a lot to him, no matter where he ends up.