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Former Penn State QB Steven Bench headed to USF

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench will transfer to South Florida. (USATSI)
Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench will transfer to South Florida. (USATSI)

Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench has decided to transfer to South Florida, choosing the Bulls over Mississippi State and NC State.

Due to the Penn State's NCAA sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Bench does not have to sit out a year like most transfers. The rising sophomore will be eligible to compete for the starting job immediately for Willie Taggart's USF squad.

Bench appeared in two games as a freshman for the Nittany Lions, completing 2 of 8 attempts. He competed against Tyler Ferguson during Penn State's spring practice but decided to transfer shortly after the spring game.

USF was reportedly in the running for former Florida State quarterback Clint Trickett and, to a lesser extent, Arkansas quarterback Brandon Mitchell. Trickett ended up picking West Virginia as his destination, and Mitchell selected NC State this week.

Mitchell's announcement narrowed Bench's choices to USF and Mississippi State. The Bulls have been in the market for a transfer quarterback to battle senior Bobby Eveld and redshirt sophomore Matt Floyd for the starting job. B.J. Daniels started 42 games during his career with the Bulls, with both Eveld and Floyd filling in when needed.

Bench's chances to start will depend on his ability to learn the details of Taggart's offensive scheme. The Bulls' first-year coach brought offensive coordinator Walt Wells and passing game coordinator Nick Sheridan from Western Kentucky, meaning all of the quarterbacks have to learn a new system -- Eveld and Floyd just got a head start in spring practice.

Bench won't start classes at USF until July 1. But according to the Tampa Bay Times, he plans to move to Tampa in the "next week or two" to start learning the offense.

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