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Illinois football 2017 opponent watch: USF’s quarterback Quinton Flowers

USF’s QB Quinton Flowers is one of the nation’s most exciting players. The Illini will have their hands full trying to contain the 2016 AAC Player of the Year.

Navy v South Florida Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images

Anybody remember Vince Young? That’s who Quinton Flowers- the current quarterback at South Florida resembles. Forget the height difference for a second- (Young is five inches taller)- Flowers DOMINATES games with the football in his hands.

In 2016 Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack now of the Indianapolis Colts (drafted in the fourth round) combined for what was one of the most lethal zone-read option attacks in the country. The Bulls went 11-2 last year, losing to Florida State and to eventual AAC Champions Temple. Flowers won AAC Player of the Year in 2016 and led the conference in passing efficiency and average yardage per rushing attempt.

Flowers’ numbers from last year are staggering: 24 touchdowns through the air and another 18 on the ground. Just seven interceptions. Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson are likely to begin preparing for this game against South Florida early on in training camp. Flowers is a quarterback who relies on instincts to make the right decisions- and he’s freakish enough of an athlete to make defenders pay.

Illini travel to Tampa to play Charlie Strong’s USF Bulls on Friday, Sep 15 at 6PM Central on ESPN.