TAMPA ― For the first time in more than a month, USF quarterback Jordan McCloud is set to open a game at full strength.
Even if his depth chart remains a bit under the weather.
McCloud, hampered by no fewer than three injuries over the last five games, said Tuesday he’s 100 percent entering Thursday night’s ESPN-televised showdown against American Athletic Conference foe Temple (8 p.m., ESPN) at Raymond James Stadium.
“I feel as good as I felt like, earlier in the season,” McCloud said. “That’s how my body feels right now.”
McCloud has battled a wrist contusion, first-degree shoulder separation and mild ankle injury over the past six weeks, but hasn’t missed a start during that span.
Debilitated by the shoulder injury, he barely could muster any velocity in a 35-3 loss at Navy (11-for-23, 50 yards, one interception), but sparkled in the following week’s 45-20 win at East Carolina (9-for-12, 102 yards, two TDs) before exiting at halftime with the ankle ailment.
"People don’t know what he played through a couple of games. We probably shouldn’t have played him … that Navy game,” offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell said.
“And yet we went with him, and he told us he was healthy enough to do it. But listen, I’ve played this position also; sometimes you tell coaches that, and really you’re just trying to survive. But now, he’s pushing the football down the field, you can see he’s healthy.”
Far more questionable is the status of freshman Jah’Quez Evans, who flourished in a wildcat role (six carries, 99 yards, one TD) at East Carolina before exiting with what Bell said was a concussion.
“We’ve got to wait ‘til he gets cleared by our trainers. That hasn’t happened for sure right now, total clearance,” Bell said. “So we don’t know right now for sure if he’ll be able to make it for this Thursday night.”
With Evans likely out, walk-on Kirk Rygol, who posted solid numbers (6-for-12, 74 yards, one TD) during the second half at East Carolina, remains the clear No. 2.
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls