Third-string freshman quarterback Byrum Brown will start for South Florida football Friday at 9 p.m. when facing Tulsa at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
Brown will have his first career start for the Bulls (1-8, 0-6) when facing the Golden Hurricane (3-7, 1-5) after sophomore quarterback Katravis Marsh injured his neck from a hard hit in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against SMU.
Interim coach Daniel Da Prato said Marsh had successful neck surgery Monday and was discharged Tuesday afternoon.
Da Prato and other teammates visited Marsh in the hospital after the game and Marsh has been communicating with the rest of the team via video messages.
“We’re expecting a full recovery,” Da Prato said. “He’s in great spirits. He’s got that big old smile and he’s a very strong, healthy young man.”
Brown watched Marsh and junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon during practice to get the same repetitions.
Sophomore running back Brian Battie has full confidence in Brown’s ability to lead the Bulls when they face the Golden Hurricane on Friday.
“Byrum always carried himself in a mature way,” Battie said. “He’s a freshman, but you wouldn’t be able to tell … I feel like even if we didn’t have Gerry and Katravis and he had to start from the beginning of the season, he would have had a great year … I got a lot of confidence, I know he’ll do good.”
Redshirt freshman Ryan Bolduc is now USF’s backup quarterback, Da Prato announced Tuesday. He described Bolduc as a player who carries himself well with a special “moxie.” He threw for 623 yards and eight touchdowns through his first four games of his high school senior year.
Tulsa will also have a freshman quarterback — Braylon Braxton — starting Friday, because senior quarterback Davis Brin injured his shoulder while facing SMU in Week 8. Braxton had his first career start last week against No. 21 Tulane and threw for 146 yards and rushed for 32.
However, that doesn’t take away from the physicality of the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa’s defense has racked up a total of 725 tackles for the current season and 13 sacks for 76 sacks for loss. On the offense, senior wide receiver Keylon Stokes is Tulsa’s all-time leading rusher with 3,582 yards.
“They’ve had some injuries at times at different positions,” Da Prato said. “We’ve seen some new guys there. But they’re a physical team that plays very hard.”
Despite the cold weather and elevation in the quarterback depth chart, the Bulls are excited to claim a primetime spot and play in front of a national TV audience.
“We’re fired up … and obviously with an injury that’s incredibly difficult. But, I think you need to get up for every opportunity,” Da Prato said.
The Bulls will head to Tulsa for its last away game of the season against the Golden Hurricane on Friday at 9 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and broadcast on BullsUnlimited.