The UCF Knights quarterback situation just got more complicated on Wednesday. That’s when the university announced that the signal-caller who led them to a second straight win in the AAC Championship Game and then, started the Fiesta Bowl loss to LSU, is now out indefinitely.
Darriel Mack Jr., suffered what’s being called “a non-football injury” earlier this week, according to the UCF release and will not be available for fall practice:
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) July 10, 2019
Mack took over as the replacement for injured starter and AAC player-of-the-year McKenzie Milton last November. That’s when Milton was injured horrifically in the first half of the rivalry game with USF. He managed the lead that UCF had built to a 38-10 win, which clinched a spot in the Championship game.
The following week, Mack heroically lead the Knights to a roaring second-half comeback over the Memphis Tigers. After trailing 38-21 at the break, Mack threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 59 yards and four more scores in the 56-41 comeback win.
Mack was not nearly as successful in the Fiesta Bowl loss to LSU, where he completed just 11 – 30 for a puny 97 yards with one touchdown and one interception. And, he had -3 yards rushing on 11 carries, as the Tigers repeatedly sacked him that day in Arizona.
The first indication that something was amiss with Mack’s status, was when the school announced Tuesday that they would not be bringing him to the American Conference media “Kickoff” in Rhode Island next week.
The injury to Mack will give opportunity to Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush. Wimbush left the Fighting Irish program as a graduate transfer and is immediately eligible to help coach Josh Heupel’s offense.
Wimbush was a successful starter in South Bend in 2017. He threw for over 1,800 yards and rushed for over another 600 leading Notre Dame to a 10-2 record. He also set the Irish record for rushing TDs by a quarterback with 14 for that year.
However, he was replaced by Ian Book after the first three games last season, and Notre Dame went on to the College Football Playoff semi-finals.
The Knights also have a McKenzie Milton-like QB clone from Hawaii, again, in freshman undersized but speedy Dillon Gabriel. The 6’0 185lbs. Gabriel broke several of Milton and Marcus Mariota’s high school records in Hawaii, including most yards passing in a high school career.
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