When then true freshman Mike White nearly led South Florida to a comeback victory in his debut in 2013, many believed that Willie Taggart had found his starting quarterback that would lead the green and gold for the upcoming seasons. Now, once the 2015 season begins, that same QB will be enrolled elsewhere as it was officially announced on Tuesday that White would transfer at the end of the spring semester. The unexpected news comes just days after the end of USF’s spring workouts. “Mike and I talked after the conclusion of spring practice and he expressed his desire to pursue the remainder of his career at another school,” Coach Taggart said when speaking about it. “We wish Mike all the best in his future and thank him for his contributions to our program and University.” White finished his career at USF with 2,722 yards, 11 TD’s, and 16 INT’s. Thus brings an end to the tenure of Taggart’s first true recruit at South Florida.
To say White was thrown into the fire of the position of starting QB would be a tremendous understatement. Amidst the QB turmoil during the first half of the 2013 season, White’s redshirt was promptly burned as the USF coaching staff was looking for any measures to spark the sputtering offense. The Fort Lauderdale native made his first start on Halloween night at Houston where he went 26 of 41 for 311 yards, 2 TD’s, and 1 INT in a contest where USF nearly upset the then conference leading Cougars. Despite White’s struggles and freshman mistakes for the duration of the season, the potential for progression and growth within the young QB was certainly anticipated.
However, a switch to new offensive coordinator Paul Wulff, early season injuries, and a constantly changing QB situation brought a plethora of struggles and inconsistencies in 2014. After a rocky start, White would progress during the middle portion of the season, upping his completion percentage and number of passing yards in each game, all coming to a head in a monstrous second half comeback victory at Tulsa that left many people believing the Bulls offense had finally turned a corner. However, a Cincinnati game filled with miscues and turnovers briefly landed White on the bench. By the time White would be brought back to start for the final two contests of the year, the late season quarterback roulette disrupted the rhythm of the USF offense to the point where they were shut out by rival UCF at the end of the season.
With USF making another major change in the offseason in switching to an up-tempo, spread style of offense, the now third year QB suddenly found himself 3rd on the depth chart throughout spring practice. From there, he ultimately decided to make the decision to transfer shortly after the spring game. With White out of the picture, Taggart will now hitch his success to senior Steven Bench and sophomore Quinton Flowers to take the reins for the 2015 campaign.