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USF Bulls could have fierce quarterback battle next fall

Steven Bench, the most mobile QB on the current roster, will enter 2014 with the experience edge.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Steven Bench, the most mobile QB on the current roster, will enter 2014 with the experience edge.

TAMPA

The midpoint of USF's season has arrived with meteorological irony. Here we are, at last on the cusp of crisp temperatures, and Bulls fans find part of themselves pining for next summer.

When a team is 2-4 and hasn't scored a meaningful offensive touchdown in 11 quarters, its constituents tend to direct an eye long term. And the way things are shaping up in the Bulls' camp, August 2014 figures to be hot — at least behind center.

Hope should arrive with the humidity. Barring any defections, injuries or about-faces, the preseason quarterback derby could be USF's most intense in, well, ever.

Adding to its intrigue is last weekend's re-commitment of Miami Jackson dual-threat prospect Quinton Flowers. Should he stick with USF — a big "if" in the fluid world of recruiting — Flowers projects as an instant contender with Steven Bench, Mike White and, theoretically, Matt Floyd.

Expect the Bulls to add at least one more QB to its '14 class.

"As a quarterback, (Flowers') field awareness is amazing. He sees everything, and reacts with his arm and his legs on every play," said Larry Blustein of the Miami Herald, who has covered prep football for more than 40 years.

"His arm strength is tremendous, and ability to move the chains as a runner is a major asset. This is an athlete who enhances any team."

Blustein's observations are echoed by most recruitniks who have seen Flowers. Rated a four- and five-star recruit at other positions, he's believed to favor USF because it will let him play QB.

Sturdy at 6 feet, 210 pounds, he possesses agility, arm strength and a leadership gene that seem to offset concerns about his height and accuracy.

"He pretty much took the Jackson program on its back last year," said Corey Long, editor-in-chief of FUEL Recruiting and contributor to Bulls247.com.

"I think he's a tremendous leader. He plays with a lot of passion. He's the type of guy who, I think on a personality level, will be a good fit for the types of guys (Coach) Willie (Taggart) wants to bring in because he works hard."

He'll have to. Bench, the most mobile QB on the current roster, will enter 2014 with the experience edge. White, a 6-5 pocket passer who committed the day Taggart was introduced as Bulls coach, boasts physical upside and a Class 3A state title.

And the Bulls aren't done recruiting yet.

Yep, could be a scorcher.

ERIN'S ENCORE: No team on campus is playing with more consistency and confidence than the Bulls volleyball team, which might have a fringe All-America candidate in 5-11 sophomore Erin Fairs.

For the second consecutive Monday, Fairs was named American Athletic Conference player of the week after tallying double doubles in weekend victories at SMU (in five games) and Houston (four).

Fairs has 16 double doubles for USF (11-10, 5-2), which has won three straight and five of its past six. The Bulls host Memphis and Temple on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

ODDS AND ENDS: No sense panicking (the opener remains 18 days away), but men's basketball PG Anthony Collins still hasn't been cleared for full practice. Collins, who underwent minor offseason knee surgery, engaged in one-on-one work Monday. … In the wake of his second individual title in three fall tournaments, sophomore Chase Koepka is 10th in the Golfweek national men's rankings. … The women's soccer team's RPI ranking jumped 15 spots to 53rd after a win against Memphis and a draw with Rutgers over the weekend. USF is 8-4-4.

USF Bulls could have fierce quarterback battle next fall 10/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7:12pm]
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