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Bulls QB McCloud likely to start in UConn road game

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Bulls redshirt freshman QB Jordan McCloud won the starting spot over veteran Blake Barnett two weeks ago, and will keep his spot under center this week as the Bulls take on conference opponent UConn.

However, the decision to keep McCloud at QB1 was not due to last weeks performance against SMU. If that were the case, it would probably be Barnett, who jump-started the offense with three touchdown passes on three straight drives in the second half of a 48-21. But unfortunately, he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Mustangs that has rendered him unable to practice. 

Barnett completed 13 of 21 passes for 222 yards, his 10th career 200-yard passing game, and added 24 rushing yards in an valiant relief effort. However, it was too little too late for the Bulls last Saturday night, after getting steamrolled in the first 3 quarters and allowing SMU to score 41 unanswered points.

So it looks like they’ve got to stick with the Tampa Native, who was seriously tested in his second ever career start. McCloud was sacked six times and turned the ball over in the end zone on a 16-play, 77-yard drive, that could’ve tied the game up and turned the momentum in the Bulls favor early in the game.

McCloud was out in the second half after suffering a wrist injury, but has been able to practice at full speed this week.

The Bulls have had a rocky season all around, highlighted by tottering quarterback performances, making it impossible for the offensive staff to know which guy will be the one to spark something on offense.

After two disappointing performances by Barnett to start the season, McCloud made his starting debut for the Bulls in their matchup against South Carolina State. He finished the game throwing for 217 yards with three touchdowns, and rushing for 56 yards. Most importantly, he proved to be shiftier behind a spotty O-Line, which allowed him to complete more plays than Blake Barnett has this season.

But as mentioned above, this past weekend proved otherwise.

Right now, the team is in a poor position, with a dismal 1-3 record, and two injured quarterbacks heading into the heart of conference play.

Sophomore quarterback Kirk Rygol will most likely be the backup if Barnett is a non-option, and McCloud’s wrist starts to give him trouble.

Given all of these setbacks, history is on USF’s side against the Huskies as they hold a commanding 11-5 series record. The Bulls have beaten the UConn seven times in a row, with the last USF loss being back in 2011.

UConn enters into the game with a 1-3 record for the season, matching the Bulls, with two 20+ point losses from Indiana and UCF.

So, if McCloud can return to his third week performance and his wrist can hold up, there’s potential for this to be a nice bounce back week for Charlie Strong’s struggling program.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

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USF Bulls

USF QB Barnett undergoing season ending surgery

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Barnett’s wild college career may be coming to an unfortunate end, sooner than expected. Multiple sources have reported that his ankle injury will require surgery that will keep him out the the remainder of this season.

Bay News 9 Tampa Bay reporter Chris Torello broke the news Thursday night.

It’s also been confirmed by Bulls beat reporter, Joey Knight.

Barnett suffered the injury in the Bulls Week 5 game against SMU. Last week, USF head coach Charlie Strong said that Barnett would not be available for the Bulls’ game vs. BYU and would meet with doctors to re-evaluate the injury. Unfortunately, the news was not good for the 23 year old, veteran quarterback.

Out of high school, he was heavily recruited and landed on Alabama’s roster as the starter before being quickly beat out by freshman Jalen Hurts. From there, he spent a season at Arizona State before transferring again to South Florida where he was named QB1.

In his first season with the Bulls, Barnett threw for 2,705 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in 11 games, missing two crucial conference games with injury. He led them to a strong 7-0 start to the year before the team fizzled out on a 0-6 losing streak to end the season.

His second season in Tampa started off rockier when began the year with a 49-0 shutout against Wisconsin. It didn’t get much better as the Bulls found themselves with a 1-3 record in their first four games. In 2019, Barnett threw for 434 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Jordan McCloud, who is still nursing a shoulder injury, will continue to start for USF, with sophomore Kirk Rygol now at backup with Barnett down for the season. OC Kerwin Bell confirmed on Wednesday that McCloud should be ready to play by Saturday in their matchup with Navy.

As for Barnett, it is still up in the air as to whether this will be his final season as a college quarterback. Because he’s only played in four games this season, he could attempt to take a medical redshirt after already using his regular redshirt. However, he’s already been to quite a few programs, so it’s possible that he may just elect to end his college career.

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Former USF QB Quinton Flowers returns to Tampa in XFL

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Next February, the XFL Football League will reemerge in its reformed version by Vince McMahon. On Tuesday, the league’s eight teams were making preparation’s with a draft of players. And, this includes the Tampa Bay franchise, The Vipers, who in the 5th round, selected former USF Bulls quarterback, Quinton Flowers. 

Even though his previous seasons in Tampa have been spent under center, he has been selected as a running back for the Vipers.

 

We wrote previously, that a local high school and SEC star, Aaron Murray was given to them as their starting Quarterback.

Murray has ties to the Tampa Bay area, as a native who led Plant High School to a State Football Championship. He’s also the Southeastern Conference all-time leader in completions passing yards and passing touchdowns in a career.

Murray briefly was with the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles from 2014-16.

He was last seen quarterbacking earlier this year in the now-defunct Alliance of American football with the Atlanta Legends (above) franchise. They selected Murray for the same regional interest of him having played college ball down the road in Athens, Georgia.

As for Flowers, in his time at USF he threw for 8,124 yards, 71 TDs and 23 INTs while also rushing for 3672 yards and 41 TDs.

Though he had a record-breaking career at USF (he owned or shared 34 school records), there was lots of debate about the dual-threat’s quarterback to succeed professionally.  Flowers was dominant as a run-heavy QB, and he became #1 in the schools career rushing attempts, career rush yards, single season rush yards, rush yards and attempts by a quarterback, rushing touchdowns in a season, career rushing touchdowns, and yards per rush in a season.

Many scouts felt as though he needed to consider a position change from quarterback if he hopes to succeed in the NFL, which ended up happening when he was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals, as an undrafted free agent in 2018 as a running back. After being waived the following summer, the Colts signed him to the practice squad, but then released him six days later.

Now, in the second ever XFL Draft, Flowers went number 37 overall, is returning to not only the same city, but same stadium that he took four years of snaps in during college.

The XFL have continued to fill out rosters in the Tuesday draft, with numerous players from Florida or Florida schools working out regionally for all of the clubs.

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