TAMPA, FL - Jordan McCloud hasn’t been playing quarterback for very long.

He started playing the position as a junior at Sickles high. And if that last name sounds familiar…it should. Jordan is the little brother current Carolina Panther Ray-Ray McCloud.

Jordan would take his talents, and the family name, to Plant high school for his senior season. He would hone his skills under Panthers head coach Robert Weiner.  

“No one had a cooler temperament than Jordan,” said Weiner. “Our team fed off of that energy and they never lost faith in any situation because they knew (Jordan) wasn’t panicking.”

TRACK: McCloud’s progression in 2017 led to offers from a number of Power 5 schools including Oregon, Boston College, and Iowa State. But McCloud chose his hometown team and committed to USF.

“There is a lot of talent on that football team that would be a good example of players staying home to play at USF,” said Weiner. “But, when it’s the quarterback it really gets everyone to stand up and take notice.”

After redshirting last season McCloud showed his physical and mental growth; impressing all of his coaches, including new offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell.

“I think Jordan has really just thrived in what we are doing,” said Bell during spring ball. “He’s a very sharp guy. He’s got great intangibles, he understands the game. I really believe he is going to do well in this system.”

Slowly but surely Jordan McCloud became a factor in the QB room. Working through the spring and summer to prove he was ready for the college game.

Jordan’s moment was coming. It just came a lot sooner than most anticipated.

After a positive showing in the Georgia Tech game McCloud was given a chance to earn the starting job heading into USF’s home game against South Carolina State. It wouldn’t be until two hours before the game that Jordan got word of his coaches’ decision.

It quickly proved to be the right call.

McCloud would throw three touchdowns and run for two more…in what is arguably the best debut for a USF quarterback in team history.

“I think it’s unbelievable for him to come out and play the way he did,” said head coach Charlie Strong. “He has just that quiet confidence about himself and he does that at practice. That’s just the way he is. Nothing fazes him.”

“Just him having his head on right,” said sophomore slot back Johnny Ford him coming out there delivering passes like that its wonderful to see him playing quarterback.”

“It’s just something that I dreamed of as a kid and it came true today,” said McCloud.

McCloud not only helped USF to its first win of the season but also helped show what the best players in the Bay Area could do if they chose to stay home and play for the Bulls.

“Who knows where the next few weeks (play out) and where the future goes,” said Weiner. “But I think him being successfully in his first football game starts the wheels for guys in Hillsborough County.”

That just shows right there that there’s a lot of good talent here,” said Strong. “Now if we can get all that talent to get here…maybe with the way Jordan played tonight maybe guys will take notice. With him being at home everyone is going to see that.

“That’s the plan,” said McCloud with a smile. “If all Bay Area kids stay in Tampa we’ll have something real special here.”

Jordan McCloud is just starting his playing career at USF. But if his first game is any indication of what can happen when a Bay Made kid stays in the Bay Area, then the future could be very bright at USF.