Starting quarterback, depth chart to be announced Thursday

Jordan McCloud scans the field in the game against SMU on Sept. 28, 2019. The starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against The Citadel is expected to be announced Thursday along with the initial depth chart. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

The quarterback derby between Jordan McCloud, Cade Fortin and Noah Johnson will soon have a winner, according to coach Jeff Scott.

“I did meet with our quarterbacks Sunday night and informed them of who’s going to be taking the first snap and starting the game on Saturday,” Scott said.

Whoever Scott has picked will get the start this weekend against The Citadel, but the quest for a long-term starter will likely continue until USF’s conference opener on Oct. 3.

“It’s still a very close competition, it’s going to go on, in my estimation, for a couple of weeks,” Scott said. “My goal was to have that solidified by the Cincinnati game.”

A starting quarterback, along with an inaugural depth chart, will be released Thursday morning.

As for the starter under center, there’s a strong chance that the incumbent McCloud will take the first snap on Saturday, according to Bulls247.

Last season, the redshirt-sophomore went 124-of-224 for 1,429 yards and 12 touchdowns. He made 105 carries for 283 yards and carried four times into the end zone.

The other two contenders, Fortin and Johnson, also come with their own cases for the starting spot.

Fortin in 2018 appeared in four games at North Carolina before redshirting. He went 23-of-65 for 388 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 76 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Johnson was the 2018 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year at Alcorn State before sitting out all but three games of the 2019 season with a separated shoulder. In 2018, Johnson passed for 2,207 yards and 15 touchdowns, and ran for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Scott said that there is a separation between the three contending quarterbacks and that all three will likely play against The Citadel. 

Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. said that each quarterback has a unique set of tools and that the three of them will play a key role in his offense, one way or another.

“Each and every one of them has gotten better every single day,” Weis Jr. said. “All three have different skill sets and different abilities and I think we can use all of their strengths in different ways.”