1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

USF could be close to settling on No. 3 QB

Walk-on Kirk Rygol has impressed coaches with his arm and savvy
USF walk-on quarterback Kirk Rygol is on his third college program in as many seasons. [Photo provided by USF Athletics]
Published Aug. 19

TAMPA ― Two days after Bulls coach Charlie Strong confirmed freshman quarterback Jahquez Evans has moved to receiver, offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell indicated walk-on Kirk Rygol has a slight lead in the battle for the No. 3 job.

A 6-foot sophomore in the pro-style mold, Rygol redshirted last year in his lone season at ASA College (a private, for profit two-year program) in Brooklyn. He originally signed with Division II North Greenville (S.C.) State before heading north.

In 2016, he threw for more nearly 3,500 yards and 36 touchdowns as a senior at Nation Ford High in Fort Mill, S.c. He has been battling former Miami walk-on Augie DeBiase and Gardner-Webb transfer Kaden Frost for the No. 3 spot behind Blake Barnett and Jordan McCloud.

“(Rygol) is the shortest of 'em all, but he’s got a natural little savvy about him,” Bell said Monday.

“He throws a nice ball, he’s got a really good arm, so he’s the best right now. Augie is a guy who really picks up the system well, he knows what he’s doing. So I’d say those two are right now the guys we’re trying to find out who can be our third guy.”

MORE USF: Now, Blake Barnett has the ingredients to lead USF

Meantime, Evans, recruited by USF’s prior offensive staff, embraced the move to receiver, Bell said. The nation’s No. 21 dual-threat QB from the Class of 2019 (per 247Sports), Evans was struggling somewhat with the passing complexities of Bell’s offense.

“He’s a very sharp kid, but he just hasn’t been in that kind of a system where he has to go through reads and things like that,” said Bell, adding Evans eventually could move back to quarterback in the offseason.

“He was more of a straight-spread, run the ball, throw it to one guy. It was gonna take him a while, so now we’re just gonna give him a chance (at receiver). He wanted to move, too.”

O-line rotation set

Eleven days before the season opener against No. 19 Wisconsin, first-year offensive coordinator Jeremy Darveau indicated his starting five is entrenched.

Barring injury, left tackle Billy Atterbury, left guard Demetris Harris, center Brad Cecil, right guard Donovan Jennings and right tackle Marcus Norman will take the field against the Badgers a week from Friday at Raymond James Stadium.

“Our starting five is as good as you’re gonna find right now,” Darveau said Monday.


Backing up Atterbury will be 6-3, 330-pound freshman Josh Blanchard, a three-star prospect from Miami Norland. Junior Jarrett Hopple, a 6-7 Virginia Tech transfer, will back up Norman.

Redshirt junior Michael Wiggs, who started the first six games at center last season, remains in the rotation as a center/guard hybrid, Darveau said.

“(Blanchard) has been just a heck of a player,” Darveau said.

“He’s got a big body, he’s long. He learns the plays quick and he’s gonna be a special, special player. Y’all can put my mark on that, check up with me in about a year and a half. He’ll be a pretty good player.”

Odds and ends

Barnett is on the expansive preseason watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. ... Atterbury on Blanchard: “He’ll tell you he’s the fastest offensive lineman we have. I’ll tell you different, but yeah, he’s a great athlete. He’s a great addition to the team and everyone loves being around him.” ... lists USF’s odds of winning the American Athletic Conference title at 8.5-to-1. UCF (1.25-to-1) is the favorite.


  1. USF redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud warms up before Saturday night's game against South Carolina State. McCloud totaled five touchdowns in the Bulls' 55-16 triumph. SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times] SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The redshirt freshman’s five total touchdowns were the most by a Bulls first-time starter
  2. USF rejoices after defensive end Kirk Livingstone, getting hugged, recovers a first-half fumble against South Carolina State. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Journal: The Bulls force a single-game record eight turnovers against South Carolina State.
  3. Relentless pressure caused this first-half fumble; No. 20 Bentlee Sanders knocking it free with No. 4 Greg Reaves ready to pounce. USF recovered, then scored a touchdown just a few plays later against visiting South Carolina State. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    At least one unit still has some serious shortcomings entering conference play.
  4. Not perfect, but not too bad for USF quarterback Jordan McCloud in his first college start. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The redshirt freshman quarterback totals five touchdowns in his starting debut as the Bulls beat South Carolina State 55-16.
  5. UCF defensive back Aaron Robinson runs after intercepting a pass against Stanford during the first half of Saturday's 45-27 Knights win. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Fennelly: Like last year and the year before, Saturday’s big win (this one over Stanford) isn’t music to every ear.
  6. UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel throws a pass against Stanford during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday in Orlando. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    The true freshman quarterback throws four touchdowns in a 45-27 victory over the Pac-12 Cardinal.
  7. Warming up before the game Saturday night, USF redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud, a Plant High alum, got his first start as a college quarterback. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The former Panther gets the nod over Blake Barnett against South Carolina State.
  8. UCF quarterback Brandon Wimbush runs the ball against Florida A&M on  Aug. 29, 2019 in Orlando. GARY MCCULLOUGH  |  AP
    But who will start at quarterback Saturday for the No. 17 Knights?
  9. USF, Florida, FSU and more games on the air.
  10. Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith (12) throws the ball during the NCAA college football game between Kentucky and Eastern Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Lexington, Ky. BRYAN WOOLSTON  |  AP
    Miami’s starting quarterback has a weird role in whom the Gators will face Saturday at Kentucky.