Blake Barnett, Willie Taggart and Dan Mullen debuting this weekend

New USF starting quarterback Blake Barnett is among the notables making his debut across the state this weekend. [ OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times  ]
New USF starting quarterback Blake Barnett is among the notables making his debut across the state this weekend. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published August 31

Barnett's big chance

Before Blake Barnett ended up at USF as a grad transfer, he was a blue-chip recruit in 2015. A look at the other top quarterbacks from that class:

1.       UCLA QB Josh Rosen: Started for three years before turning pro and becoming the Cardinals' first-round pick.

2.       USF QB Blake Barnett: Will start tonight against Elon after stints at 'Bama, a juco and Arizona State.

3.       Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray: Former Aggies signee is replacing Baker Mayfield as the Sooners' starter for one year before pursuing pro baseball.

4.       Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham: Potential first-round pick for a College Football Playoff contender.

5.       Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush: Still the starter in South Bend, despite completing 49 percent of his passes last year.

6.       FSU QB Deondre Francois: Led the largest comeback win in school history in his last Labor Day start (Ole Miss in 2016) and will start again on Labor Day against the No. 20 Hokies.

Dan Mullen's debut

Coach Dan Mullen hopes his Gators debut starts better than his first game as the head coach at Mississippi State (a 45-7 win over Jackson State). In 2009, he and his team ran out of the tunnel through the smoke, hit the sideline … then got called back in for a half-hour lightning delay.

"So let's hope we avoid that," Mullen said.

Fingers crossed.

Fuente vs. Taggart

New FSU coach Willie Taggart has faced Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente four times, either as a coach or player. He's 0-4. To make it 1-4 in Monday's top-20 matchup, Taggart's Gulf Coast Offense will have to attack a traditionally sound Hokies defense that has been decimated by attrition and lost at least three potential starters in the secondary.

Eye on the NFL draft

Aside from having an awesome nickname, LSU CB Greedy Williams has first-round potential (an SEC-high six interceptions last year). Miami WR Ahmmon Richards could be a high pick, too, assuming he rebounds from an injury-filled 2017. Watch how often they face each Sunday night in Arlington, Texas.

Audibles

"We're not elite until we win enough games to say we're elite." – Miami coach Mark Richt

"I just want to make sure when I run out of the tunnel I don't trip and fall. Got to look like an athlete." – FSU coach Willie Taggart

Advertisement