The quarterback race for USF just got more competitive, but the addition of graduate transfer Blake Barnett may have an unintended effect on the position battle that was previously exclusively between Brett Kean and Chris Oladokun.
It is highly unlikely that Barnett, who is transferring for the second time in his three-year collegiate career, will earn a starting quarterback spot for the Bulls in the fall. Having him in the mix, however, will push Kean and Oladokun into a more competitive position battle.
Barnett is already starting behind the bill, as he was absent from spring workouts while Kean and Oladokun had the opportunity to work with the Bulls’ offense all last season and during spring camps.
I don’t expect any of the three athletes to concede the job to each other. I certainly don’t expect Oladokun or Kean to leave the team in reaction to Barnett’s transfer. With no shot at overtaking former quarterback Quinton Flowers in years past, the two stayed put, awaiting their time. Barnett, whose playing time in college is minimal, is on the same level as the duo, if not below.
Barnett is a former five-star recruit out of California. He played for Alabama and was poised to be the starter in 2016. He opened the game for the Crimson Tide before Jalen Hurts, a true freshman at the time, led the team to a victory against USC and earned the starting spot.
A trend with USF’s newest quarterback started there. Barnett became a backup quarterback for Alabama before transferring within a few weeks. He then went to Arizona State, which went 7-6 last season, where he again lost the starting job, this time to Manny Wilkins.
Barnett, while talented, has not been a consistent starting quarterback for a collegiate program. It is hard to believe that he will break from this trend in just one summer working with USF.
Though his time with USF is shorter, Barnett does have roughly the same in-game collegiate experience as Kean and Oladokun. Barnett has completed 24 passes in his career. Kean has completed 25 passes and Oladokun one.
Barnett, a pocket-passer who rarely extends plays by running from defenders, is labeled as a pro-style quarterback.
During his four seasons as Louisville’s coach, Charlie Strong’s offense focused on pro-style quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater was successful under Strong’s system and threw for 9,817 yards before becoming a top NFL Draft prospect.
So, while Kean and Oladokun have experience with USF’s playstyle, coach Strong has more experience with a pocket-passing quarterback.
To this point, Kean and Oladokun have shown consistently that they are friends and will continue to push each other to be the best for the team. Throwing a transfer quarterback in the mix could set a fire underneath the pair to spur them into a more competitive battle for the starting spot.
The Bulls now have three backup quarterbacks contending for the top spot on the depth chart. Barnett is not the man for that job.