Quinton Flowers is having one of the best seasons ever produced by a South Florida quarterback, averaging around 312 total yards per game. With both his arm and his legs, Flowers is leading the Bulls on their quest to the conference championship while also paving the way for yet another record breaking season for the offense.
Yes, Flowers was on the watch list for multiple awards like the Davey O’Brien, Manning and Johnny Unitas awards in the preseason, but he hasn’t managed to reach the national discussion. Without the prospect of a Big 12 conference bid, USF will remain the plucky little team that got too close to the sun a few years back. Players like Flowers will help keep the Bulls relevant on a national scale, but it will require him (and other Bulls) to get the hardware.
The junior signal caller is one of only two quarterbacks that ranks within the top 25 rushing yards in the nation; the only other quarterback is Heisman Trophy favorite Lamar Jackson. In fact, Flowers and Jackson are two of three quarterbacks that have rushed for at least 500 yards —the third being Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight— and are the only two that have rushed for at least 600 yards on the season.
Flowers is responsible for 20 of the Bulls’ 42 touchdowns this season, passing for 13 and running in seven. Last year, Flowers only threw 8 interceptions and has only thrown five this year on 181 passing attempts, averaging an interception every 36.2 yards. Before the last game against the Connecticut Huskies, where he threw two interceptions in 37 attempts, that average was actually sitting at one interception per 48 passing attempts.
Right now the offensive captain is on pace to overcome his season high passing yard total by 335 yards, putting him at fourth on the programs’ all-time season high list. Keeping consistent is key for the quarterback, because he is also on pace to match his program high 22 passing touchdowns in a season. Let’s keep in mind that Flowers, a junior, will have another year of eligibility after this year, potentially bringing the ruckus for the Bulls again next year.
So all of these accolades and impressive stats probably left you wondering where this was going. Well the question that keeps me up at night has nothing to do with presidential elections, rampant clowns or Zika. My biggest question is, “Why the Hell is this guy not getting more attention?”
Flowers wasn’t heavily scouted as a quarterback coming out of high school; in fact, USF head coach Willie Taggart was the only person to offer Flowers a chance at playing behind center. Flowers has gone 15-6 in each regular season game that he has started, winning 10 of the last 12 regular season games he has played in, dating back to last season.
It could be argued that Flowers’ success is a byproduct of the implementation of the ‘Gulf Coast’ offense. I argue that Taggart would tell everyone that the offensive scheme is a direct result of Flowers’ abilities. His ability to stretch plays with his legs and elusiveness is something that Taggart took into effect when implementing the offense.
“You look around and unfortunately he don’t get the hype like some of them,” said Taggart about the lack of recognition around the country for Flowers. “I guarantee that if you watch what he does, he can do it better or just like the rest of them out there. He’s one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the league if you ask me. Some of the stuff he does out there is like a video game.”
Taggart knows the weapon that he has out there; the potential mismatch that is on the field for the every play. This best part of it all; every play must go through him. Flowers’ decision making has progressed in every game, showing that he knows when to tuck and run.
Take a look at his stats from last year and you’ll see that Taggart truly does let him make his own decisions on the field. Last year only two other quarterbacks totaled more rushing yards that Flowers’ 991 yards. The two other players were Houston’s Greg Ward and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, the latter being one of 2015’s three Heisman Trophy finalists.
If you were to ask Flowers what he thinks about him being one of the better quarterbacks in the league, he would tell you that he thinks he is the best. In fact, he said that there was no one better; and there is nothing wrong with that. He doesn’t say it with a smile or chuckle, but with a stare that will convince anyone who thought otherwise.
“He’s a winner. He tries to find a way and he loves playing the game and helping his football team,” said Taggart about Flowers dedication.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty aspects of his game that Flowers needs to clean up; more accurate passing being the top priority. The point of this piece is to question why a player who ranks as high as Flowers does in multiple categories is not considered for more national recognition.
With his team sitting outside one of the power five conferences, Flowers and other Bulls player will continue to be overshadowed for recognition. The biggest factor will be where the team lands at the end of the season and if they will be able to win any opportunity they have against a ranked opponent.