BYU camp notebook: USF names starting QB, LT Blake Freeland named All-American

In this Dec. 7, 2019, file photo, Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) rolls out to pass against Oklahoma during the first half of an NCAA college football game for the Big 12 Conference championship in Arlington, Texas. Bohanon was named the starting quarterback Monday at South Florida.

In this Dec. 7, 2019, file photo, Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) rolls out to pass against Oklahoma during the first half of an NCAA college football game for the Big 12 Conference championship in Arlington, Texas. Bohanon was named the starting quarterback Monday at South Florida. (Jeffrey McWhorter, Associated Press)



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IN CAMP β€” BYU wrapped up the first full scrimmage of fall training camp Saturday, with a key emphasis on depth and development as presumed starters Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney, Dallin Holker and Keenan Pili were held out to preserve health.

On the other side of the Cougars' line of scrimmage, though, a key starter was being determined.

On Monday, South Florida coach Jeff Scott confirmed what many had already posited: Gerry Bohanon will be the starting quarterback for the Bulls' season opener Sept. 3 against BYU.

"I've been excited for it since I came here, put my head down, and went to work. I'm just amazed at how the guys embraced me and welcomed me," told USF athletics' internal media. "It's just a great feeling to know I get to lead these guys out there come Sept. 3."

Bohanon, the 6-foot-3, 226-pound transfer from Baylor, threw for 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns, with nine more rushing scores, in 12 games last season with the Bears before opting for South Florida, where he has been competing with sophomore Timmy McClain to be QB1. Bohanon transferred to USF in May, after being beat out by quarterback Blake Shapen at Baylor.

"Jeff Scott will firmly tell you β€” and I believed him β€” that the Bulls weren't looking at a transfer quarterback. But when a name like Gerry Bohanon inquires about your program, you can't turn that down," 247Sports reporter Will Turner told ESPN radio in Utah County.

"And Baylor is an example that Jeff Scott has used several times, as a program that had a complete 180 from 2020 to 2021, to winning the Big 12 championship and the Sugar Bowl. That's kind of the model USF wants to use in that turnaround."

Along with the news, McClain, who completed 55% of his passes for 1,888 yards and five touchdowns last year as a freshman, has entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to 247Sports.

"Everywhere you go there's competition," McClain told 247Sports at the start of fall camp. "You need competition in the quarterback room, it's going to make me better, it's going to make him better, it's going to make the team better, so whatever can make the team better is all that really matters."

In the absence of McClain, the Bulls will likely turned to big-armed sophomore Katravis Marsh and true freshman Byrum Brown in reserve at quarterback. The Bulls haven't had a quarterback start every game since 2017, when Quinton Flowers led the Bulls to a 10-2 record, a victory in the Birmingham Bowl and No. 21 final ranking.

Blake Freeland named All-American by The Athletic

BYU left tackle Blake Freeland added to his haul of preseason honors Monday when he was named to The Athletic's preseason All-American first team. The 6-foot-8, 305-pound junior was the only BYU player named to the 22-player roster on offense, with 22 more on defense and three specialists from 17 FBS schools.

Freeland started all 13 games for the Cougars in 2021 at left tackle, earning all-independent first-team honors from Phil Steele Magazine and the Pro Football Network. With Freeland anchoring the left side, BYU ranked 11th nationally in sack rate according to TruMedia, with the then-sophomore allowed just one sack and four pressures in 408 pass-blocking snaps a year ago while helping Tyler Allgeier rush for 1,606 yards en route to 33 points per game.

Along with left guard Clark Barrington, Freeland was also named to the 2022 preseason watch lists for the Outland Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi Award. Barrington received preseason All-American honors from Phil Steele, Athlon Sports, Sporting News and Lindy's Sports.

And while BYU offensive line coach Darrell Funk admits most of his players will cross-train at multiple positions β€” even Barrington has experience playing center, even if he's cemented at left guard β€” he also doesn't see much reason to move Freeland, if he doesn't have to.

Left tackle is that well set.

"Why rep Blake Freeland anywhere but left tackle? If he's in the game starting, and he should expect it, there's no reason to cross-train him," Funk said. "But most guys are cross-training, too."

JUCO transfer arrives at BYU

BYU football added a junior college addition Monday when Tyler Junior College defensive back Mory Bamba announced he had arrived in Provo.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound defensive back with three years of eligibility remaining could see time as a depth cornerback in 2022, and could be a critical addition for the Cougars' first season in the Big 12 after departing seniors D'Angelo Mandell and Kaleb Hayes leave the program.

Bamba, who also had interest from Utah State and Auburn, among others, recent posted a 4.34 40-yard dash at a pro day-like event held at Tyler Junior College, where former BYU defensive back Tanner Jacobsen recently took over as head coach.

NBC names new broadcast crew for Notre Dame football

Notre Dame will have a new broadcast crew this season from NBC, after Mike Tirico opted to leave the booth to focus on Sunday Night Football and Drew Brees cut ties with the network.

In their stead, NBC will bring in Notre Dame alum Jac Collinsworth β€” the son of prominent sports media professional and Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth β€” to pair with former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett for Irish home games, which includes the Oct. 8 Shamrock Series game against BYU in Las Vegas. Kathryn Happen will remain with the network as pregame and postgame host, with Zora Stephenson as sideline reporter.

Fifth-ranked Notre Dame will open the Marcus Freeman era Sept. 3 against No. 2 Ohio State. The Fighting Irish will kick off the home opener Sept. 10 against Marshall on NBC.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for KSL.com since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.

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