The decision of the fall in east Orlando is rapidly approaching.
Speculation regarding UCF’s next quarterback has waged since Blake Bortles declared for the NFL Draft just days after the Knights’ improbable Fiesta Bowl win. Head Coach George O’Leary indicated he could name a starter heading into the spring game, then said the choice would be announced following the spring game, and ultimately pushed a final declaration into the fall.
There has never been another decision that has captivated this fanbase the same way. Blessed and cursed by a taste of success, it’s only natural to want to see those good times charge on.
O’Leary has once again dropped hints that the next starter under center will be known by the end of this week as practice opens back up to the public. Despite the false starts on an announcement, I believe the right call has been clear for some time.
Justin Holman is the only choice to take the first snap in Ireland for the Knights against Penn State. Holman is the de facto leader in the clubhouse and his challengers do not have the resume to pose any serious threat.
Fellow Class of 2013 member Pete DiNovo already lost out on the battle to be Bortles’ backup. He lacks Holman’s size and arm strength. As mediocre as Holman was in the spring game, DiNovo’s performance was worse.
A heralded true freshman in Tyler Harris has ushered his way into the discussion based on promise. He shares the Bortles’ measurables, but the chance of a first year signal caller getting the nod from the start are slim, especially under O’Leary’s watch.
Where the majority of the QB debate centers is on Boise State transfer Nick Patti. Patti is the hometown kid, from the powerhouse local high school (Dr. Phillips), who is coming back to Orlando to write the wrong of not signing with UCF from the get-go.
It makes for a great movie script, but the story is purely Hollywood fantasy. Patti came into a down Boise program in the post-Kellen Moore era and could not wrest the starting job away from his mediocre competition. Plus, he is even smaller than DiNovo and has been in the system even a shorter period of time than Harris.
While fans and local media gush about Patti, in reality, he is probably the least likely contender to the Bortles throne. Just look at the facts and there is no preseason debate, it is Holman’s job to sink or swim in.