Christian Chapman may have began the season as the backup quarterback, but now he is the starter for the Hawai'i Bowl. In late November, starting quarterback Maxwell Smith went down with a season-ending torn MCL, leaving the postseason hopes with Chapman.
Although Chapman is a redshirt freshman, he has performed admirably as the starting quarterback in relief, helping continue the Aztec's nine-game win streak. Although only asked to throw 14 times vs. Air Force, he completed nine of those passes for 203 yards. He was named the Offensive MVP as a result.
One dimension that Chapman brings that Smith doesn't is his mobility, as he showed the ability to move around the pocket and tuck and run when needed, accumulating 32 yards. One such run was a 13-yard gain at the end of the game which effectively ended the Mountain West Championship Game.
Chapman clearly didn't let the big stage affect him, as he was able to relieve Smith and play well in his absence. In addition, the Aztecs have enough talent on their offense, particularly in the run game, that they could still be effective and put up points with a redshirt freshman at quarterback.
The Bearcats will need to take Chapman seriously, despite his limited playing time, as he has proven in his short time as a starter that he can play. So far, Chapman has accumulated 323 yards, completing 55% of his passes with a touchdown.
In the absence of a college highlights video, here are highlights of him only a couple years ago in high school, offering a glimpse at what Chapman brings to an offense.