Former Lions QB heading to South Florida

Former Penn State quarterback Steven Bench is heading back to the South. South Florida, that is.

Bench announced Thursday that he's transferring to South Florida, selecting the Bulls ahead of Mississippi State. He will be eligible to play immediately because of the loosened transfer policies the NCAA gave Penn State players after imposing major sanctions against the program last summer.

After backing up Matt McGloin in 2012, Bench competed in spring practice with junior-college transfer Tyler Ferguson. Bench and Ferguson shared snaps in Penn State's spring game, but days later Bench announced he would leave the program after head coach Bill O'Brien told him that he had slipped behind Ferguson on the depth chart. Ferguson instead will compete for the starting job with heralded incoming recruit Christian Hackenberg.

Bench tweeted Thursday morning: "I’ve decided to attend the University of South Florida and become a bull!! #DoSomething."

A native of Bainbridge, Ga., Bench will return to a Big Ten stadium this fall with South Florida, which visits Michigan State on Sept. 7.