During a championship effort in 2013, senior quarterback Quinn Epperly became the third Princeton quarterback to win the Bushnell Cup as Ivy League Player of the Year. Recently, the 'Prince' had the opportunity to sit down with the man himself to discuss sweet tea, superstitions and the all-important concept of "swag."
Where are you from, and what’s the best part about living there?
I’m from Knoxville, Tenn. Best part about living there is … I’d have to go with University of Tennessee football. It’s a huge deal down there. It’s really fun to be around.
Are people from the South markedly nicer than people from the North?
I think a little bit. There’s definitely a few more “hellos” when you walk by and generally more smiles passing by people you don’t know.
What led you to come and play at Princeton?
Really, they were the ones who recruited me the most and the ones who wanted me to come here and play. And the fact that it was such a good academic institution was something I was blessed to fall into.
What did you think they saw in you, especially as a recruit?
I guess my athleticism. They had me do some different drills, like linebacker drills, to test how I could move and get around. I think that intrigued them a little bit.
Who was your favorite player growing up?
I was a Peyton Manning fan, considering that he played at Tennessee.
Why do you wear number four?
That’s really just the number they gave me. I do know that it was a good number to have passed down. The quarterback who wore it before me was Jeff Terrell ’07. He won the Bushnell Cup, and Princeton won the Ivy League while he was here. He went on to the NFL for a little bit. I think he’s a good guy to follow.
Do you find that the Bushnell Cup is big enough?
(Laughs) Yeah, it’s a pretty big trophy.
Have you ever heard any comparisons made between you and another scrappy lefty signal caller who was also number four and went by the name Tim Tebow?
Yeah, I’ve definitely heard some comparisons, based on the style we play: running and throwing. But I also look up to him in how he was religiousand how he carried himself on and off the field.
What’s your favorite thing when not playing, practicing for or studying for football?
It’s kind of a boring answer but just hanging out with friends. I’ve had a couple of great roommates and rooming situations these past few years. So it could be just watching a funny TV show or going out to the Street together.
Which freshmen would you say have made the biggest impact so far?
I would probably say [defensive lineman] Kurt Holuba. He’s either starting right now or getting significant playing time. He had a couple tackles for us. And [linebacker] Joe Percival, too.
Your center Joe Goss graduated with the Class of 2014. Could you describe the fairly intimate relationship a quarterback has with his center?
Joe was one of the guys I’ve been closest with. A very intense, play-hard type of guy. He was someone I could always turn to to get the team and offensive line going.
Which player on the team has the best swag?
I’d say probably [junior running back] DiAndre Atwater. But he also takes the most pride in it, so I almost don’t want to say him. He takes the cake in that one.
Worst swag on the team?
Someone who always jokes about not having any but really could care less is [senior linebacker] Mike Zeuli. We always joke around that he doesn’t have any. But that’s kind of his swagger, to not have any swagger.
Do you have any comments on the lyrical stylings of Weston Gates aka [former Sprint football player]John Wolfe ’14?
Definitely pretty aggressive. Real funny though. I actually got to know Wolfe pretty well this past year. I think he mentioned me in one of his songs, which made me feel kind of famous. Definitely aggressive.
How long did you cry in solitude after the graduation of [wide receiver] Roman Wilson ’14?
A lot. I’d say hours. Roman was a tough guy to lose, in terms of his big play ability. Against Harvard alone, he was always there for a clutch play or a big down. He’s definitely missed this year, as a player and a person. It’s not that other guys can’t step up and fill his role. But a lot of crying.
Could you describe your feelings toward Harvard University, especially its football program?
Oh man. My feelings toward them are not the warmest. I won’t go into it too deep but mainly because I went to their camp as a recruit. It did not go the best. I think I was called by the wrong name the whole camp and ended up leaving early. To say that Harvard was top of the list of teams I wanted to beat when I came into college would be very accurate.
Do you have any pregame superstitions?
Mine is to listen to worship music to sort of calm myself. If I get too amped up, it’s almost detrimental to me. There are some funny ones that I’ve gotten tied into by rooming with Connor Michelsen. We’ve ended up rooming together the past two and a half years. Whoever opens the hotel door first will have to keep opening the door first while we’re on a win streak. And it’s the same thing for whoever sleeps closest to the window.
What’s the funniest/most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on a football field?
In high school, I scored a touchdown and went to turn to do a celebration. As I turned, I wiped out in a huge mud puddle —it had rained. Right in front of the student section.
How intense was the level of competition in last year’s Powder Puff football game?
It was very intense. There was almost a fight between the coaches, led mainly by DiAndre. We had had a couple practices before to get ready. I was on Pi Phi. There were some mixed feelings toward the coaches afterward due to the allocation of playing time. It was flag, but there were some tackles and hits.
How excited were you to be listed on NFL.com’s "14 for ’14" top small-college prospects?
I was excited. But you can’t take those things too seriously. Being in the NFL would be a dream come true, so it was humbling to see my name on a board with some talented guys. But that honor comes with what we did as a team last year. We were able to win some games, so attention comes with that. So I like to put that kind of stuff in the background and let time take care of that.
What has been your proudest moment as a Tiger?
I would have to say winning the Ivy League championship last year. After winning the Yale game, it was a great team moment, knowing everything we’d gone through. Individually, second to that, probably the Harvard games from the last two games. Those were some pretty special wins.
To wrap it up, here’s the classic On-Tap question: If each of your fingers were a tap, what drinks would they dispense?
We’ll go with … chocolate milk. I’m a big chocolate milk fan. And sweet tea. That’s not up here very much. Gatorade, purple or blue. I guess water, but that’s pretty boring. And an Arnold Palmer. We could throw that on there.