TAMPA, Fla. – At 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, Gerry Bohanon has the look of a quarterback that can hoist the USF offense upon his considerable shoulders.
The Baylor transfer also sounded comfortable and confident as he stood at the podium during Wednesday afternoon’s media session when he spoke about his desire to be at his best every day at how USF seemed like a perfect marriage for him.
Nothing will be handed to Bohanon, though. Indeed, the quarterback competition this year is far different from that of Jeff Scott’s first two seasons leading the program.
In Timmy McClain, the third-year coach has a quarterback who started the final nine games last season. Scott did not have such a returning experienced QB to work with in 2020 and 2021.
Bohanon helped lead Baylor to the Big 12 title last year. The Arkansas native spent four seasons in Waco and started 12 games for Dave Aranda’s Bears in 2021.
“I firmly believe that we now have two quarterbacks on our roster that we can win with this fall,” said Scott.
The 6-foot-1 and 198-pound McClain was thrown into the fire last season as a true freshman. He showed flashes of his immense talent while also experiencing ample growing pains – not all on him as dropped passes and poor routes were not uncommon — while placing last in the American Athletic Conference and 101st out of 110 qualifying signal callers nationally in pass efficiency.
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“I am really excited about his development,” said Scott. “The thing I am most pleased about with Timmy, is how he has responded ever since Gerry got here.”
Bohanon, whose first name is pronounced “Gary,” missed the Bears’ final regular season game and the Big 12 championship tilt against Oklahoma due to a leg injury. He returned to start a Sugar Bowl win over Ole Miss before losing his job in the spring to Blake Shapen, who was MVP of the conference championship game.
Bohanon, who threw for 2,205 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for nine scores last season, entered the transfer portal and did not arrive at USF until May.
Adding a quarterback was not something Scott planned on. However, with sophomore Katravis Marsh having entered the portal in December, before withdrawing his name, and two freshmen from this year’s signing class, Byrum Brown and Gunnar Smith, needing time to learn, adding a fifth-year quarterback with two seasons of eligibility was a good move.
“You’re sitting there saying you have one guy right now that I feel like we can win with,” said Scott, in referring to McClain. “It is hard to have one guy. With the transfer portal, there are opportunities late in spring to add the right pieces to your puzzle.”
Now, it is time to begin sorting out how those pieces will fall into place. Identifying the quarterback who will be under center for the season opener against visiting BYU on September 3 is a large box Scott desires to have checked much sooner than later.
“Our goal, and obviously things can change, is to make a decision after the first scrimmage on August 13,” he said “I want whoever wins the job to have three full weeks to be seen as the starter by the offense and to work with the first group of offense.”
That would be the most ideal situation for all concerned in the locker room. It is also something that needs to happen for a team that by all accounts has a great culture, but has won only three games the past two years.