Former Penn State QB Steven Bench announced on Twitter today that he's transferring to USF.
I’ve decided to attend the University of South Florida and become a bull!! #DoSomething— Steven Bench (@SBench12) May 23, 2013
Bench announced last month that he was transferring, as he didn't want to fulfill his surname behind JuCo transfer Tyler Ferguson and five-star freshman Christian Hackenberg.
USF was in play with a number of immediately eligible transfers, including Clint Trickett (bound for WVU), Brandon Mitchell (headed for NC State). What makes Bench more desirable than Mitchell and Trickett is that they're relative short-timers. Trickett has two years of eligibility, while Mitchell is a one-and-doner. He'll play for a year at his destination, and if it goes well, great -- but if not, you've sent the program back a bit, and have to hope a freshman or underclassman can step into the QB position the next season.
Bench, on the other hand, is not a one-and-done. As a redshirt sophomore, Bench has three years of eligibility, as Penn State's sanctions allow all Nittany Lions players to transfer with immediate-eligibility until July. He has a chance to grow with the program.
Does Bench shoot straight to the first string? Every QB on the roster will have to get used to Taggart's offense, so no one will have the leg up knowing the playbook. However, Bench has a season of coaching in Bill O'Brien's pro-style offense, which isn't dissimilar to the offense Taggart's bringing in, while Skip Holtz's "go out there and make a play" offense might be a hindrance for incumbent QBs Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd. Freshman Mike White is also in the mix
Taggart's willingness to pursue transfer QBs doesn't bode well for the incumbents. Eveld is a less-mobile, pocket-passer type, so will he fit with the power-running, pro-style offense that Taggart is bringing in? As for Matt Floyd, he'll have the same chance to grow with the program, but he'll have to show that last season's performance, 57-for-110 with no TDs and 5 INTs, was just freshman growing pains.
What Eveld and Floyd do have is much more game experience than Bench. Floyd played in seven games last season, and Eveld has played in 13 games, going 82-for-150, with 3 TDs and 7 INTs. Both will have to show they can take care of the football if they want a chance for the starting spot.
As fans, all we can really hope for is competition at all positions, and Taggart bringing in Bench shows that he'll go to extra lengths and won't settle for who we have in-house. Let the competition begin.