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Getting to Know New UCF Starter Timmy McClain

Article by Nick Williams. Photo courtesy of UCF Football.

At Albertson’s Field with 45 seconds left of the 4th quarter, QB John Rhys Plumlee was violently tackled by Boise State safety Alexander Teubner. As a result, Plumlee twisted his right leg and quickly got up where he visibly had a small limp. On UCF’s next play you could physically see the pain Plumlee was experiencing as he was unable to pivot off his right foot on the handoff to RB Johnny Richardson. Shortly after the victory, Plumlee reportedly walked out of the stadium on crutches (per Knights247).

On Monday morning Head Coach Gus Malzahn announced Plumlee is not out for the season. “He’ll (John Rhys Plumlee) be out for a few weeks, good news is he won’t need surgery and he will be back.” With Coach Malzahn’s optimism we can expect Plumlee to miss the remainder of the month of September and possibly more.

So the question remains, who is UCF’s new starter Timmy McClain and what can fans expect from him in the upcoming game against Villanova?

Timmy McClain was rated as a three star recruit coming out of high school according to 247Sports, Rivals, and Scout. McClain was also ranked No. 21 for dual threat quarterbacks on McClain garnered attention from ESPN where he was ranked No. 30 on the ESPN 300 2021 dual threat quarterbacks list. At Seminole High School McClain was a four year varsity starter where he threw for more than 6,351 yards and 68 passing touchdowns all while completing 64% of his passes and using his legs to earn 940 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. During his senior season, he was able to lead Seminole High School to an undefeated record and the 8A State Championship where they won 38-10 against Kissimmee Osceola.

Despite McClain being from the Orlando area and earning an offer from UCF out of high school, he chose UCF’s in-state rival, the USF Bulls. McClain got his QB start at USF in game three of his freshman season. He was able to start in nine games of the 2021 season for the Bulls and saw the field in 11 out of the 12 games. He was able to lead the team in passing with 1,888 yards on 145 of 262 attempts and ended the season with a 55.3% completion rating. He threw for an underwhelming five touchdowns and seven interceptions however, fans can keep in mind his head coach was Jeff Scott who was 4-26 during his three year tenure at USF with three of those four wins coming from FCS schools.

McClain eventually left the darkside and transferred to UCF on August 19th, 2022. He spent the 2022-23 season as a redshirt freshman for UCF. Fans can be optimistic that McClain will be prepared for his first start in the Big 12 conference. He notably has a rocket arm and has a keen ability to improvise in moments of pressure. During his time at USF it was evident he had a knack for focusing under pressure and turning dead plays into positive plays that kept the Bulls on the field.

As most UCF fans can recall, during McClain’s freshman season at USF he kept UCF fans on the edge of their seats. Being down 17-13 to the Knights he led the Bulls to an 80 yard drive late in the fourth quarter. During that drive, he was able to fire off a 30–yard completion to Jaren Mangham, a 35-yarder to Xavier Weaver and rushed for 23 yards. McClain exposed the UCF defense late in the game and was close to providing the upset. Close, but no positive outcome for the Bulls, as Tre’mon Morris-Brash sacked McClain with 12 seconds left in regulation with no timeouts left.

For UCF right guard Lokahi Pauole, respect was earned.

"We've seen what he can do, and I'm ready to see Timmy play."

A similarity between McClain and Plumlee would be their ability to run the ball. It will be hard for most fans to not see the No. 51 rusher in the nation who’s ranked 5th among rushing quarterbacks not play for a few games. Nevertheless, fans have to remember that McClain is a natural born rusher who can operate the run-pass option that OC Darin Hinshaw has implemented phenomenally this season.

Luckily for Knights fans, McClain will get his first UCF start against FCS opponent, Villanova. Villanova has started their season 2-0 with a 38-10 win over Lehigh and a 42-19 win against Colgate. The Wildcats have averaged 40 points per game on offense and their defense has held their opponents to 14.5 points per game. This will hopefully not be the case come this Saturday at 7pm where the sold out Bounce House will be the center stage for new starter Timmy McClain. Expect McClain to mainly target Javon Baker who’s been reliable this season as UCF’s WR1. Also, expect Xavier Towsend to get the same amount of targets he received during the Kent State home opener. Be on the lookout for Johnny Richardson to have a good amount of carries as well, with RJ Harvey being a little shaken up after some hard hit tackles against Boise State. Fans can look forward to Richardson having a productive game.

In Timmy McClain We Trust.

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