Versatile freshman finds his way onto the field


By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

SIU senior quarterback Mark Iannotti has the starting job locked down this season. Despite this, one of his backups has found ways to earn playing time.

Instead of biding his time until a starting spot opened, redshirt freshman quarterback Matt DeSomer is demonstrating his value as a weapon all over the field. 

DeSomer lines up at wide receiver and returns punts, in addition to taking snaps occasionally. DeSomer said where he is on the field does not matter, so long as he is playing. 


“I like it, because they’re trying to use me,” he said. “I’m just trying to get out on the field, doing whatever I can to get out there.” 

DeSomer picked up 34 yards on eight carries in the Salukis’ season-opener at Indiana — all out of the backfield as a quarterback and on wide receiver sweep plays. 

He added another 60 all-purpose yards at Southeast Missouri State on Saturday. He gained 26 yards on the ground, 13 receiving, 12 on punt returns and nine returning kickoffs.

Junior wide receiver Billy Reed said DeSomer’s versatility gives SIU an advantage by keeping the opposing defense alert. 

“It really helps our offense,” Reed said. “It kind of just keeps the defense off balance. If he can run, it helps open up our passing offense to run screens and other stuff.” 

A native of Lowell, Ind., DeSomer said playing the first game of his college career against his home state’s flagship school — Indiana University — could have been nerve-wracking, but he was able to avoid jitters. 

“I was just trying to stay calm, stay relaxed and not think about anything,” he said. “And it’s a good thing I didn’t, because I thought I was relaxed the whole game.” 

Iannotti said he was impressed with DeSomer’s performance in his college debut. 

“Right before he came in the first time, he seemed a little nervous, asking me about some of the reads,” Iannotti said. “I just told him to go out there and trust himself and have some fun. And he did.”

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tdonleyDE.