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UCF names redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo starting quarterback

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday

With Blake Bortles off to the NFL, Central Florida has big shoes to fill at quarterback, and head coach George O’Leary let us know who will fill those shoes.

Following Sunday’s practice, O’Leary said that Pete DiNovo has been named the Knights’ No. 1 quarterback, with sophomore Justin Holman and Boise State transfer Nick Patti just behind.

"I'm naming (DiNovo) the No. 1 quarterback going into the first game with Holman and Patti 2A and B and (Tyler) Harris three,” O’Leary said, per UCFSports.com. “I'm still undecided on two, but (DiNovo) from a management standpoint, from the sidelines to the field, had the consistency that I was looking for. I thought Pete elevated himself this past week."

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound DiNovo redshirted his first season on campus in 2013 and was named the team’s Scout Team Player of the Year for his contributions in practice. DiNovo, a three-star recruit out of Tarpon Springs, Fla., was a part of the same 2013 recruiting class with Holman, the team’s primary backup who appeared in three games last season. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the race came down to those two players, with DiNovo ultimately coming out on top of the depth chart moving forward.

“We ran a lot of evaluation. (DiNovo) just seemed to manage the team the best with the type of team we have. It's not a dead issue, but right now he's the No. 1 quarterback and he'll take the No. 1 reps,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary said DiNovo’s calmness under pressure and the way he managed the huddle was what separated him from the rest.

“He handles sideline to huddle, management huddle, the best of the four as far as I was concerned. That was really the deciding factor as far as what he does,” O’Leary said. “I think the defensive line put a lot of heat on the quarterbacks with people in their face more than they should have been. I think he reacted the best.”

Offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said the decision is not “set in stone forever,” but if the season opener against Penn State in Ireland was tomorrow, DiNovo would be the starter.

For more UCF news, visit UCFSports.com.

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