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Steven Duncan throws a pass in WKU's game against Ball State on Saturday. The Hilltopper quarterback had 94 passing yards and 55 rushing yards in the 28-20 win. 

With nine days until the kickoff of the 2019 football season, the Hilltoppers have found their starting quarterback. 

Head coach Tyson Helton named redshirt junior Steven Duncan the starting signal caller on Tuesday morning after practice.

“I felt it was a very close battle,” Helton said on Tuesday. “Both him and Ty Storey were pretty even to be honest with you. Told both of those guys I’m going with my first instinct and that was to run out Steven out there.”

Duncan appeared in nine games a season ago, throwing for 1,071 yards, completing 58% of his passes and throwing nine touchdowns.

Last year, Duncan led a comeback win at Ball State. He replaced injured starter Davis Shanley at the start of the second half and subsequently threw for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 28-20 victory.

While the first-year coach is open to making a change at quarterback in the future, Helton made it clear that Duncan is the guy as of today.

“Steven needs to know, ‘Hey, I’m the quarterback, I need to feel comfortable,’” Helton said. "He needs to get in a rhythm. So that’s the first thing, trying to find a rhythm for Steven.”

The head coach also made it clear graduate transfer quarterback Ty Storey will also have a role in the WKU offense.

“Ty will play,” Helton said. “He will have a role. It’s gonna be competition every single day. But we will have Ty out there.”

Helton said the former Arkansas quarterback handled the news of losing the competition to Duncan in a very professional manner.

“Outstanding — like a pro,” Helton said. “Like he should. He’s here right now. He’s here for the team.”

Helton called naming a starting quarterback just another step toward being ready for the season opener against Central Arkansas on Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s an important part of the process,” Helton said. “But it is a normal process. I did want to have competition throughout. It was back-and-forth.

"Guys handle different situations in different ways. You got to take the whole body of work through camp and then step back and look at it and make your decision."

Reporter Alec Jessie can be reached at 270-745-6291 and alec.jessie226@topper.wku.edu. Follow Alec on Twitter at @Alec_Jessie.

Alec Jessie is a football reporter for the College Heights Herald. He previously covered the Basketball team.