QB Bench impressed by 'buzz' during USF visit
Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench made an official visit to USF this week, and while the transfer still has two visits scheduled in the next week, he said he left Tampa impressed by the excitement around first-year coach Willie Taggart.
"Everywhere you went, there was really a sense of excitement," Bench said by phone Wednesday. "Whether it was in the coach's voice or the player's voice, whoever you talked to, if you were on campus, there was just kind of this buzz about it, and that really stood out. It was really special."
Bench will visit N.C. State this weekend, then Mississippi State on Monday-Tuesday, and said he could make a decision by the end of next week, but didn't want to commit to any firm timetable. He said he spent time with "most of the players," including tight end Sean Price, who went to dinner with him one night.
"It was really impressive down there, a great visit, went really, really well," said Bench, who played sparingly as a true freshman last fall but can transfer and play this fall due to Penn State's NCAA sanctions. He'll have three years of eligibility at his new school.
Bench said he spent time with USF's assistant coaches and academic staff, got a tour of the Bulls' athletic facilities and "spent a lot of time around Coach Taggart."
"I really liked being around him. He's a cool guy, and I really liked getting to talk to him face-to-face, to kind of hang out with him, really," he said.
Bench is from Bainbridge, Ga., just across the Florida border, and he said it took him a little more than four hours to get to USF from home. He hadn't been to Tampa before his visit, and stressed that he's wide-open among the three schools and there's nothing to read in the order, other than when coaches were available to see him during visits.
USF is seeking additional competition for its starting quarterback job this fall to go with senior Bobby Eveld and sophomore Matt Floyd. The Bulls were a finalist for former FSU quarterback Clint Trickett, who eventually chose to transfer to West Virginia.