TAMPA — Third-year sophomore incumbent Jordan McCloud is expected to take the first snap Saturday when USF opens its season at home against the Citadel.
First-year coach Jeff Scott said he plans to announce his starter at some point Thursday, when he releases his inaugural 2020 depth chart. Scott informed the quarterbacks of his decision Sunday night and told the team the following morning.
The Tampa Bay Times has learned McCloud, a Plant High alumnus who started the final 10 games last season, will start. Depending on how the game transpires, Armwood High alumnus Noah Johnson and North Carolina transfer Cade Fortin also could play against the Bulldogs.
“It’s still a very close competition,” Scott told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “It’s gonna go on, in my estimation, for a couple of weeks. ... My goal is to really have that solidified by the Cincinnati game Oct. 3.”
Mildly undersized and hampered by shoulder and wrist injuries most of last fall, McCloud went 4-6 as the Bulls starter, completing 55 percent of his passes (124-for-224) for 1,429 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. When Blake Barnett suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a relief appearance against SMU in Game Four, McCloud remained the only healthy scholarship quarterback on the roster.
Healthy was a relative term. McCloud barely could grip the ball in the days leading to a 27-23 homecoming win against BYU, and struggled to muster any velocity the following week in a 35-3 loss at Navy.
This summer, he reported for preseason camp roughly 15 pounds heavier, and video snippets from practice (provided by the school) showed far more crispness on his throws (Check out the the clip below). He’s listed at 6-feet, 193 pounds entering the season opener.