No more than 72 hours after announcing he was entering the transfer portal, former South Florida QB Timmy McClain has announced he is coming up I-4 to join the UCF Knights.
McClain is ineligible to play for the Knights in 2022, having transferred after the July 1 deadline. But he will redshirt and will be a competitor for the starting QB job in 2023.
McClain is an Orlando local, having graduated from Seminole High School in 2021. He led the Seminoles to a state championship in his senior season:
For his high school career, he was a 64.7% passer for 6,351 yards, 68 TDs and 11 interceptions, and also ran for 940 yards and 17 rushing TDs over 36 games.
Here’s his commitment video from South Florida:
He committed to USF and was thrust into the starting lineup as a true freshman in 2021. He played in 11 of the Bulls; 12 games last season, throwing for 1,888 yards on 145/262 (55%) with just 5 TDs and 7 interceptions. The Bulls finished 2-10.
His best game was against Houston, where he was 22/46 for 289 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions, and ran 11 times for 46 yards and another score.
In the season finale at UCF, McClain was 18/29 for 222 yards and a rushing TD, but nearly gave Knight fans a collective heart attack as he led the Bulls down to the UCF goal line in the final minute with a combination of his arm and legs. However, his youth ended up costing the Bulls the game, as he took two costly sacks on the drive, including on the final play of the game:
Hopes were high for McClain coming into this season, but South Florida head coach Jeff Scott secured former Baylor starting QB Gerry Bohanon in the transfer portal. The 5th-year veteran and 2021 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention was named the starter on Monday.
McClain reportedly entered the Transfer Portal the same day.
72 hours later, he announced his commitment to UCF.
McClain’s transfer out of South Florida is not a surprise given the Bohanon situation. Scott is entering his third season as their head coach and desperately needs to improve upon his 3-18 career record. it stands to reason that going with a veteran like Bohanon may give him a better chance of doing so than continuing with developing a true sophomore.
Then again, McClain’s struggles were not entirely his fault last season, and it could be argued he did the absolute best he could with what he had around him. The Bulls’ defense was ranked near the bottom of FBS in every major category, which did him no favors.
Even though he was sacked only five times last season, that was largely due to his athleticism, as we saw on Black Friday. For a non-scientific and completely anecdotal example, when I was searching for the photo of McClain to use atop this article, literally every image in the Getty archive was of him either running from or getting crushed by opposing defenders.
The UCF QB Room
McClain also joins a QB room that is low on depth.
Mikey Keene and John Rhys Plumlee continue to battle for the starting role for this season. Neither has been named the starter as of 13 days before the regular season opener against South Carolina State.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility that whichever does not win the starting job may decide to transfer, or in the case of Plumlee, may hang up football and focus entirely on baseball.
Either way, the QB room heading into 2023 will at the absolute most include Keene and Plumlee (who has two years of eligibility remaining including this season), along with the likely-redshirting freshman Tommy Castellanos, McClain, and incoming freshman and verbal commit Dylan Rizk from Fort Lauderdale.
As far as McClain is considered, given the beating he took last year, taking the 2022 season to sit back and learn Gus Malzahn’s system may be the best thing for him heading into 2023.
He also continues the Seminole-to-UCF pipeline that has brought players such as Gabe Davis and the Henderson twins to UCF.