USF announces Barnett as new starting quarterback

- The head coach of the University of South Florida Bulls football program knew the question was coming at his news conference Tuesday. Who will be USF's starting quarterback?

"I thought that would be my last question," second-year Head Coach Charlie Strong said, with tongue in cheek.

Strong officially made the choice public, naming journeyman Blake Barnett; a transfer from Arizona State and Alabama.

Strong knew he couldn't wait any longer. The Bulls open the season against Elon Saturday at 6 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.

"The team needed to see who is going to be the guy," said Strong. "When you keep rolling guys out.... they've got to get a feel for it and now, here is our guy. That's the decision we came to."

Strong said picking Barnett, who transferred to USF just four months ago, was a process of long deliberation. It was a tight battle between Brett Kean and Chris Oladokun, both entering their third year with the Bulls. Strong ultimately made the call after consulting every coach on the team.

"Because I wanted to hear everyone else's opinion," said Strong. "When you get everyone else's opinion... at the end of the day, you're going to pick a starter, but I like to hear what everyone else thinks and how they feel about it."

Barnett is the second five-star recruit to play for the Bulls. He has a strong pedigree, but Barnett is now facing the challenge of having to follow USF's all-time greatest quarterback, Quinton Flowers. 

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