The race to be the quarterback of the University of Louisville football team this season has at least five players battling for the starting position, including three who participated in spring ball.
Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee spent all spring watching Reggie Bonnafon, Kyle Bolin and Tyler Ferguson try to improve.
McGee said he was happy with the “level of development,” shown by all three quarterbacks heading into the fall camp. Will Gardner was injured and didn’t participate, while Lamar Jackson is a freshman and wasn’t enrolled yet but both will jump into the mix in fall camp.
”I thought we had a good spring,” McGee said in a recent interview. “They all did some nice things but we still have a long way to go.”
McGee and head coach Bobby Petrino said after spring practice they were unsure when they would name a starter.
But they don’t lack for options.
Many feel like Bonnafon, who started and won last season at Notre Dame as a true freshman, has a leg up on the competition heading into the fall.
”Reggie has really improved; he’s taken the steps forward we wanted to see,” McGee said. “I like his progression.”
Bonnafon played in 10 games as a freshman, starting five before suffering an injury in the Kentucky game. He threw for 864 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing for 164 yards and five more scores.
Sophomore Kyle Bolin has also improved a great deal, according to McGee. Bolin was the third stringer last season and had to come in and play against Kentucky, a game where he threw for 381 yards and led a comeback.
Bolin then started the Belk Bowl against Georgia.
”He’s really developed and I think that’s because he played some,” McGee said. “He got in there and had to perform. He’s a little bigger and a little stronger. He’s doing a lot, we just have to put it all together.”
Ferguson is the wild card. He’s the transfer from Penn State who sat out last season and has what McGee called a “really big arm.” Ferguson was able to go through Petrino’s rookie practices all last season.
”We spent a lot of time with him last year and he can really throw the ball,” McGee said. “He’s a really strong kid.
”Tyler has the ability to make throws that some people can’t make. Now, sometimes when we are grading him he gets a negative for delivery but a plus for execution and results.”
Add Gardner – who won the job heading into last season – and the highly-touted Jackson to the mix and McGee said the fall camp is going to be “whole lot of fun.”