USF is turning to Quinton Flowers to run its new-look offense.
After a lengthy battle to earn the starting nod, team officials announced Monday afternoon that Flowers beat out senior Steven Bench as starter for the Bulls in their season opener against Florida A&M on Sept. 5.
Coach Willie Taggart is expected to address the decision in a press conference today at 10 a.m.
Flowers, who was rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, becomes the fourth USF quarterback to start an opener in four seasons. The 21-year-old saw action in five games last season, completing 8-of-20 passes for 111 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 73 yards on 13 attempts.
Flowers made one start at SMU on Nov. 15, going 6-for-15 for 105 yards before being pulled in the final minutes of the game for Mike White, who led the Bulls to a come-from-behind victory.
With USF switching to a new spread-like offense this past offseason instead of the West Coast style system Taggart ran during his first two seasons, Flowers fits the mold as a dual-threat option.
In three years manning a similar offense at Miami Jackson High, Flowers threw for 6,402 yards and rushed for 2,002 more with 32 total touchdowns.
Rated No. 82 overall on Scout’s top 300 players in the nation, Flowers was heavily recruited as an athlete by Power Five schools, such as Florida, Alabama and Miami. But after flip-flopping on his verbal commitment to the school twice, he eventually signed with USF last February because of the opportunity it provided to play quarterback.
On the flip side, this is the second straight season Bench will be relegated to a backup role to start the season. The 2013 Penn State transfer was narrowly edged out by White before last year’s opener, but appeared in six games with one start against Houston in November.
White transferred to Western Kentucky during the offseason.
Whether Flowers’ job is secure or not remains to be seen, however.
After naming White the starter last season, Taggart rotated between the three quarterbacks on several occasions before eventually concluding the year with an open competition.