Coach Ruffin McNeill announced Kemp as the starter Monday.
Kemp is a junior college transfer who redshirted last season behind record-setting QB Shane Carden.
Kurt Benkert had been designated the starter before suffering a season-ending right knee injury last week. Kemp had been his top backup, and McNeill said "he's next in line."
McNeill said backup junior Cody Keith returned to practice last week after missing two weeks of drills with a foot injury.
The Pirates begin their second season in the American Athletic Conference on Saturday night against Towson of the FCS.