TAMPA — With two syllables, Byrum Brown stiff-armed any lingering speculation about his future.
When asked after a lengthy bowl practice Friday if he plans to remain at USF in 2024, the prolific Bulls quarterback said, “Yessir.” Brown then was asked if he has zero doubt about that decision.
“Yessir,” he repeated.
“He’s the leader of the team,” senior defensive tackle Rashad Cheney said. “He’s the leader of this program, the face of the program. He’s the future.”
Questions about that future, however, began percolating midway through what evolved into a breakthrough autumn for Brown, and intensified as Dec. 4 — the first day players formally could enter the NCAA transfer portal — neared.
A redshirt freshman who started the final two games last season, Brown emerged as the onfield catalyst in USF’s historic turnaround, from a 1-11 season to 6-6 and bowl eligibility this year. He established a Bulls single-season record with 3,078 passing yards and finished seventh in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total yards (318.6 yards per game).
All of which prompted many to wonder if he’d put his name in the portal in pursuit of more lucrative name, image and likeness opportunities at a Power Five program. Other prominent Group of Five quarterbacks who already have entered the portal include James Madison’s Jordan McCloud (a former USF quarterback), Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall and Boise State’s Taylen Green.
But in Brown’s case, apparently no such decision will take place for at least another year.
“I feel I’ve grown as a player (at USF),” he said. “(The coaches) push me every single day, so I’m going to continue to just get better and fine-tune the details and be the best Byrum I can be.”
Brown and the rest of the Bulls participated in their third postseason practice Friday in preparation for the Dec. 21 Boca Raton Bowl against Syracuse. Brown enters that game 177 total yards shy of 4,000 for the season.
“I’m so proud of his growth, I’m proud of where he’s come to,” said first-year USF coach Alex Golesh, who tabbed Brown to operate his turbo-charged offensive system after a months-long competition.
“I think he’s got everybody’s respect, and now he’s got this really cool, innate confidence that I think the sky’s the limit for him. And he’ll be the first tell you, I’m sure, that he’s still got so much growth. But just what he’s become as a leader ... it’s such a pleasure to be around that young guy every day, because he gives you everything he’s got.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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