Who will replace Blake Bortles as UCF’s starting quarterback?
The Knights’ coaching staff still doesn’t have an answer to that question, but one should be coming very soon.
UCF head coach George O’Leary told reporters he wants to name his starter Sunday in order to build chemistry in the huddle. The coach has plenty of options from which to choose.
Sophomore Justin Holman is considered the favorite after entering fall camp atop the depth chart. Holman was the team’s primary backup last season and played in three games. Pete DiNovo was in the same recruiting class as Holman, but he redshirted last season and now gets his chance to compete for the starting spot. Freshman Tyler Harris is a four-star recruit with plenty of natural ability. Finally, Boise State transfer Nick Patti arrived on campus this summer after being a promising three-star recruit as part of Boise State’s 2012 recruiting class.
“Once coach makes a decision, it’ll be somewhat of relief for everyone just so we don’t have to answer that question people are always asking,” senior wide receiver J.J. Worton told the Orlando Sentinel‘s Shannon Owens-Green.
With O’Leary’s decision only a day away, the picture has started to clarify for the rest of the team.
“I think it’s starting to show itself and reveal itself,” said Charlie Taaffe, UCF’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “But having said that, none of these guys have really played any significant gamer. … So now we have to see how they perform in a game. Some guys are great practice players, but can’t transfer it to the game field and vice versa. Some guys show up on game days. We’re still learning. You got four guys that we know very little about and that’s the way it is.”
Whichever quarterback is eventually named the starter won’t be eased into the position. The Knights open their season Aug. 30 in Dublin, Ireland against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
With a new head coach in town, it’s far from surprising to see somewhat of a personnel exodus in the spring. In that vein, Jimbo Fisher‘s first-year Texas A&M roster is the latest FBS football program to see such attrition.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, offensive lineman Koda Martin announced that he would be transferring from A&M to Syracuse. On the same social media website a day later, teammate Kemah Siverand announced that he too will be leaving College Station as a transfer.
Unlike Martin, Siverand (pictured, left) did not reveal his next college football home in the tweet.
As Siverand will be leaving the Aggies as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2018 if that’s the tack he takes.
Siverand was a four-star member of A&M’s 2015 recruiting class. After beginning his collegiate career as a wide receiver, the Cypress, Tex., native moved to defensive back between the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He caught two passes for 16 yards in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, then was credited with six tackles in 12 games last season.
Talk about a hard-luck story.
After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring. With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.
According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.
Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class. He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons. A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.
We’re less than a week away from former college players officially finding out their new homes with the start of the 2018 NFL Draft and the excitement is palpable no matter if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan or somebody who dons the cardinal and gold of USC.
Naturally this is a big deal for the players’ former programs as well and their recent head coaches will be taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity to future recruits by stopping by the draft itself at AT&T Stadium for the festivities. The NFL released a list of 14 college football coaches and one recent one on Friday as being confirmed to attend the event and there are a few notable names beyond the big ones we’re used to seeing every year:
In addition, Stanford head coach David Shaw will serve as a draft analyst on NFL Network for a seventh year in a row and even ESPN’s College GameDay is getting involved with a pregame show outside the stadium they are quite familiar with from big games over the years.
Georgia’s injury luck this spring isn’t getting much better as the defending SEC champions move toward their annual G-Day spring game over the weekend.
Head coach Kirby Smart confirmed with reporters after Thursday’s practice that sophomore defensive back Mark Webb suffered a knee injury earlier in the week and tore his meniscus. He already had the knee scoped and is expected back before fall camp after the rather minor procedure.
Webb originally landed in Athens as a wideout but made the move to the secondary just as the season was getting going. He appeared in 13 games in 2017, mostly on special teams, but was expected to challenge for one of the starting spots at cornerback heading into the upcoming campaign.
The absence of Webb in the lineup for the final week of spring adds to a growing list of injuries for the team during practice as they do a little bit of roster building toward the future. Receiver Michael Chigbu’s career may be over due to lingering injuries and defensive back Divaad Wilson tore his ACL not long after enrolling this semester.
Safe to say that G-Day on Saturday might not be as physical as Smart and the coaching staff would otherwise like as a result of trying to keep the team healthy as they prepare to head into a big offseason.