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USF has quarterback derby after all

Four players are vying for the No. 3 spot on the Bulls’ depth chart.
First-year USF offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell speaks to reporters following Monday's practice on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times]
First-year USF offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell speaks to reporters following Monday's practice on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times]
Published Aug. 6, 2019

TAMPA ― As USF coach Charlie Strong can attest, possessing a roster with three proven quarterbacks has evolved into one of the greater challenges in the transfer-portal era.

The offseason departures of scholarship quarterbacks Chris Oladokun (Samford), Brett Kean (Charlotte) and Octavious Battle (Tennessee State) have left Strong and first-year coordinator Kerwin Bell scrambling to find a reliable No. 3 guy behind incumbent Blake Barnett and redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud.

Freshman Jahquez Evans, the only other scholarship quarterback in camp, has taken third-team snaps, but so have sophomore junior college transfer Kirk Rygol, Gardner-Webb transfer Kaden Frost and former Miami walk-on Augie DeBiase.

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“That’s where we’ve just got to continue to develop the guys that we have,” Strong said after Tuesday’s practice, the Bulls’ first in full pads.

“We have three or four guys there that are taking a lot of reps, so it’s more of us giving them the reps. Once they get the reps and they can learn the offense, then we can see where we are.”

A four-year starter at Jacksonville Raines, DeBiase (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) threw for 105 career touchdowns before walking on at UM. He played last year at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, completing 51 percent of his passes (53-for-104) for 793 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Rygol (6-0, 195), a 5,400-yard passer (and 1,300-yard rusher) at Nation Ford High in Fort Mill, S.C., redshirted last year in his lone season at ASA College ― a private, for-profit two-year program ― in Brooklyn.

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Frost (6-3, 197), who threw for 6,162 yards and 44 touchdowns in four seasons at Naples Gulf Coast, redshirted as a freshman at Gardner-Webb last season.

Whether any of them ― including Evans ― have distinguished themselves through five practices is unclear.

“That first and second group really has great knowledge,” Bell said Monday.

“That third group is frustrating right now because (it’s) a lot of the freshmen, and they’re trying to pick it up; they’re way behind. But I really like our first and second group right now as far as where they’re at as far as our knowledge of the offense.”

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Fan Fest set for Saturday

USF’s annual Fan Fest, where fans can get autographs and snap photos with football players and coaches, will be held Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at the Yuengling Center. Admission is free.

Free “Fan Fest” posters will be available at the event for use in obtaining autographs; outside items will not be permitted to be signed. Bulls football merchandise also will be on sale, and interactive fan events will be held.

Following the event, a youth flag football clinic will be held from 4-6 p.m. at the Morsani Football Practice Complex, across the street from the Yuengling Center. Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL, will conduct the event.

The clinic is open to the first 200 registrants; boys and girls from third to eighth grade are eligible. To register, go to this link.


  1. USF guard Laquincy Rideau drives to the basket between Houston's Nate Hinton, left, and Fabian White during a game on Jan. 26, 2020, in Houston.
  2. USF athletic director Michael Kelly (left) and first-year football coach Jeff Scott have confirmed the Bulls' spring football game will remain on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  3. USF coach Brian Gregory's club dropped its third consecutive game Thursday, falling 65-55 at Wichita State.
  4. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (22) smashes into LSU Tigers safety John Battle (26) in the second quarter. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
  5. BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times
Florida Gators wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) catches the ball near the end zone in the third quarter in a game against LSU at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, October 6, 2018.
  6. USF defensive back Mike Hampton (7), returning an interception during the 2018 season opener, will help lead the Bulls through what could be the American Athletic Conference's toughest schedule in 2020.
  7. USF wide receiver Randall St. Felix (84) and the Bulls have only one open date in the 2020 season. USF's complete 2020 schedule was finalized Tuesday.
  8. Former USF coach Charlie Strong (left), greeting Alabama coach Nick Saban at a 2017 summer football camp on the Bulls campus, reportedly has joined Saban's staff in an analyst role.
  9. Connecticut's Megan Walker, left, drives past USF's Shae Leverett during the second half of the Huskies' 67-47 triumph Sunday at the Yuengling Center. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
  10. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma brings his team to the Yuengling Center for the final time as an American Athletic Conference member today.
  11. USF coach Brian Gregory, pacing the sideline during a January game at the Yuengling Center, watched his team score only 11 first-half points in Saturday's 56-48 loss to Tulsa. [OCTAVIO JONES | TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  12. USF interim coach Jess Moore watches her team from the dugout on the opening day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.