From a heartbreaking childhood to stardom in Tampa, USF quarterback Quinton Flowers has already carved out an impressive legacy in just his junior season with the Bulls.
Quinton Flowers had nowhere to go. Connecticut Husky defenders were all around the South Florida quarterback on a designed run in the first quarter of the Bulls’ 42-27 win back on October 15. The play was, at best, net zero yards.
Or so it seemed.
Flowers juked three defenders, found clean air, and was off to the races. Fifty-four yards later, he was in the end zone celebrating a touchdown. It was a little Barry Sanders mixed with Bo Jackson. It was extraordinary. It was magnificent. It was just another day on the football field for Quinton Flowers.
The 6’0 210-pound junior quarterback from Miami, Florida has been making highlight reel plays all season long, accounting for 27 total touchdowns while leading the Bulls to a 7-2 record.
“He’s like a video game,” Flowers’ head coach Willie Taggart told Campus Insiders.
The best player that no one is talking about, Flowers has blossomed into a star in Tampa. He will soon eclipse the 2,000 passing yards/1,000 rushing yards mark, something only 28 men in college football history have ever done.
For Flowers, his actions on the field are a way of showing his teammates that they can count on him.
“I lead by example. I don’t like to talk too much because most of the time when you talk people can take it the wrong way. So I lead by example; I don’t have to say much. If I do have to talk, I pull guys aside to see what I can do to help them, help me, help the team. I’m not a person to call somebody out in front of the team. We can have that talk one-on-one.”
That leadership has always been there, but Taggart did not put any pressure on his quarterback to accept responsibility too soon.
“He’s grown a lot,” Taggart said. “Quinton, when he started, I told him, ‘I’m not looking for you to be a leader. I just want you to run our offense.’ We had a lot of other leaders. After the year he had last year, he saw within himself that he needed to do more from a leadership standpoint, and he’s been awesome at it this year.”
The pressure of third down and long is nothing to Flowers, who went through a heartbreaking childhood. Flowers’ father was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting when he was seven years old. While starring for Miami Jackson High School on the football field during his junior season, his mother passed away from cancer.
The tragedies didn’t stop when he arrived in Tampa. The same week he was named the starter for the Bulls, his stepbrother was shot and killed. He was playing football with his kids.
The heartbreak has made family even more special to Flowers. It’s a force that drives him to be his best at all times.
“My family is very important. If they’re smiling, I’m smiling. I just want to see them happy. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them happy. My mom, she’s not here. My dad, he’s not here. One of my oldest brothers, he’s not here either. I try not to let that get to me, and at the end of the day, if they were here, they’d be on the same team. That’s my motivation: to keep going.”
With another year of eligibility left and potential dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate talks looming, Flowers said he is solely focused on the task at hand in 2016.
“All I’m thinking about is what’s in front of me this year. We still have games, a bowl, and we’re still playing for an AAC championship. I’m just looking at things that are in front of me right now.”
Taggart will have the pleasure of coaching Flowers for another season, but he said that when time is up, he wants the quarterback to be remembered not just for his play on the field.
“Someone that played the game the way he’s supposed to. Someone who loved the game and appreciated it. And someone who came in and took advantage of every opportunity he got here at the University of South Florida – that’s academically, socially and meeting all the folks he needs to help him with his future. I want Quinton to be a kid that came and took advantage of all the opportunities he created for himself, and not just in football.”
For Flowers, any legacy talk goes well beyond the football field.
“I want people to say that he was a great student, the best student-athlete. He always made people he was around laugh. He was a good friend and always had a smile on his face.”
Another year of Flowers. College football fans are lucky.