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.
— CHRIS TORELLO (@TorelloSports) October 17, 2019
It’s also been confirmed by Bulls beat reporter, Joey Knight.
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) October 17, 2019
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.
Kerwin Bell said QB Jordan McCloud, still nursing a shoulder stinger, practiced today but sat out Tuesday. They’re optimistic he’ll be fine for @NavyFB on Saturday.
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) October 16, 2019
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.
Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?
And intriguing item popped up Friday morning involving former USF head coach Charlie Strong and him visiting Nick Saban the Alabama football program.
According to Alabama Insider and radio host, Aaron Suttles, Strong, who was dismissed last December after his third season with the Bulls, was in Tuscaloosa Thursday meeting with Saban and his staff:
Former USF/Texas/Louisville head coach Charlie Strong was in Tuscaloosa visiting with the Alabama coaching staff Thursday. Strong was let go from USF following the season.
— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) February 14, 2020
Strong had also been reportedly talking with the University of Florida about a possible consultant role, which likely would not affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.
Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.
USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.
There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.
However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.
Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.
Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.
Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart
New USF coach Scott buys home of ex-Bucs coach Lovie Smith
New USF Coach Jeff Scott is getting acclimated not only to the Bulls players, but also to the Tampa Bay area. And, an interesting housing connection to a former Buccaneers coach has now come to light.
A report by the Tampa Bay Business Journal on Tuesday afternoon says that the former Clemson co-offensive coordinator, who took over at USF in December, has purchased the home of former Bucs and current University of Illinois coach, Lovie Smith:
— Tampa Bay Business Journal (@TBBJnewsroom) February 11, 2020
The Business Journal cites Hillsborough County property records that Scott bought the 10,000 square foot, six bedroom home near the USF campus that Smith had purchased, when he became the Bucs head coach in 2014. The luxurious home, as you can see in the photo from the real estate listing above, sits on 13 acres in the upscale, Tampa Palms section of Tampa.
Lovie Smith was fired after two seasons with an 8-16 record in Tampa Bay. The former Bears coach was immediately hired by Illinois, where he has mostly struggled in four seasons of the Big Ten. Smith’s overall record is 15 – 34, but they did have two huge Big 10 upsets of Wisconsin and Michigan State this past season. The Illini ended up going 6-6 before losing their bowl game.
Smith also lost both of his head-to-head meetings to USF in 2017 and 2018.
Back to Jeff Scott. He agreed on a five year, $12.5 million deal to take over the Bulls after they fired Charlie Strong, who had gone 4-8 last season. Scott has been part of two previous National Championships, as offensive assistant at Clemson. He was the co-offensive coordinator, as the Tigers lost the National Championship game last month to LSU.
The TBBJ further reported that the Scotts got a good deal on the home purchase paying $2.5 million for it in late January. The house had been on the market for over three years years after Smith had paid 3.5 million for it in 2014.
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