Kevin Olsen named starting quarterback at UNC Charlotte

by: Phil Orban Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former Miami Hurricane recruit Kevin Olsen has won the starting quarterback position for UNC Charlotte.

And it’s no surprise to many.

Despite the winding path he took to get to UNC Charlotte, Olsen was one of the top prospects in the country out of high school.

Olsen, the younger brother of Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, said the opportunity means so much to him.

“I really realized that it was stuff I brought on myself,” Olsen said.

Olsen spoke very openly about this new stage in his college career as a red shirt junior.

Charlotte is the fifth program he's played football with and he knows if it doesn't work at Charlotte there won't be a sixth.

“This is a last chance that I think a lot of people usually don't get,” Olsen said.

A highly touted recruit out of New Jersey, he signed with the University of Miami, redshirting in 2013.

He was projected as the starting quarterback the following season but after three suspensions and a DUI arrest, he was dismissed from the team.

“It was just really a ‘me’ issue more than anything; immaturity, stupid decisions, not really seeing the big picture,” Olsen said.

The next year and a half were a blur with a stop at Towson University where he never played a down.

“Everybody speculates everything. It just wasn't the place for me. I was kind of contemplating what I really wanted to do. I ended up leaving halfway through that spring semester,” Olsen said.

Olsen’s next stop was Garden City Community College in Kansas. The Broncos call themselves Opportunity USA but upon arriving in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas, Olsen questioned whether that opportunity was worth it.

“We get there, I'm looking around and my mom asked me, ‘Hey what’s up?’ and I'm like, ‘I don't know if I want to do this, Mom, I really don't,’” Olsen said.

He decided to stick it out.

“I just didn't want to end my career like that. At least I wanted to give it one more shot. It just wasn't something I was willing to throw away yet,” Olsen said.

A last-minute change in the offense led to a last-minute transfer to Riverside City Community College in Southern California and at last Olsen was playing meaningful football games.

He threw for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns, and caught the attention of 49ers head coach Brad Lambert in the process.

“I think my coach gave me a lot of good things that Coach Lambert wanted to hear about what character I had and what I brought to the team at Riverside,” Olsen said.

Olsen was offered his next chance.

“I had to go through a lot of bad times, people saying stuff, but it was true there’s no way you cannot take advantage of it now,” Olsen said.