South Florida QB Quinton Flowers Could Be This Year’s Lamar Jackson

quinton flowers south florida

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, March 26, 2017 11:40 PM GMT

Lamar Jackson was a huge long shot to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy at this time last year. Looking for another somewhat off-the-radar guy who could take home the award in 2017? I give you South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers.

Be honest: Did you know much about Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson entering last season? He wasn’t even the Cardinals’ starter for all of 2015 as a freshman. He really burst onto the national scene in Louisville’s 27-21 Music City Bowl win that year over Texas A&M by throwing for 227 yards and two scores and rushing for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Still, Jackson was a 100/1 long shot on the 2016 Heisman odds last spring.

Jackson is a dual-threat quarterback from south Florida – Pompano Beach, to be exact. A guy who reminds me a lot of Jackson and who is +3300 on BetOnline college football odds to win this year’s Heisman Trophy is University of South Florida senior Quinton Flowers – a dual-threat quarterback from south Florida, Miami to be exact.

In 2016, Flowers led USF to an 11-2 record and a final ranking of 19th in the AP poll – the first time the program finished a season ranked. He was he American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the Birmingham Bowl MVP. He threw for 261 yards and two scores while rushing 21 times for 105 yards and three touchdowns in the 46-39 overtime bowl win over South Carolina. Of course the Gamecocks’ head coach is Will Muschamp. When he was the head coach at Florida, Muschamp recruited Flowers but wanted him to change positions.

Overall, Flowers threw for 2,812 yards and 24 touchdowns last year while rushing for 1,530 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was the first-ever 2,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in not just South Florida history but first for any player from a school in the Sunshine State. Only Jackson rushed for more yards by a QB in 2016.

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To win a Heisman Trophy these days, you have to play on a good team. The Bulls should be excellent in 2017 with 16 starters back under first-year coach Charlie Strong. Flowers will be even more of a focal point of the offense because tailback Marlon Mack, who rushed 174 times for 1,187 yards and 15 scores in 2016, has moved on.

It’s quite conceivable that USF is unbeaten in the regular season. The non-conference schedule is very easy with games against San Jose State, Stony Brook, Illinois and UMass. The Bulls avoid Navy in AAC regular-season play. Their toughest tests figure to be Sept. 21 vs. Temple, Nov. 4 vs. Houston, Nov. 18 vs. Tulsa and Nov. 24 at Central Florida. USF will be the betting favorite to win the AAC title. 

One thing working against Flowers would be that the Heisman tends to only go to players from Power 5 conferences. The last time it didn’t was in 1990 when BYU quarterback Ty Detmer won it. So it probably will take an unbeaten regular season for Flowers to draw enough of a national profile. That’s doable.

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