2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 36 South Florida Bulls
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the South Florida Bulls
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No. 36: South Florida Bulls
South Florida Bulls Prespring Status
It was the year South Florida had sort of been hoping for, but without the American Athletic Conference championship. Willie Taggart’s team roared offensively, cranking up over 511 yards per game, overcoming a flawed defense that gave up points almost as fast as the Bull O could put them on the board.
Losses to Florida State and Temple were the only blips, the season closed out with five straight wins and an OT bowl thriller over South Carolina, and everything was being set up nicely for a big 2017. And now, with Taggart off to Oregon, Charlie Strong gets to reap the benefits.
RB Marlon Mack left early for the NFL, but seven starters are back to the high-powered offense including most of the other key skill guys. The defense that struggled so much is loaded with veterans, getting back eight starters for Strong and company to work with.
South Florida Bulls Biggest Issue
Only four starters are gone from the offense, but they were good ones. Mack was the team’s top running back, coming up with 1,187 yards and 15 scores, Rodney Adams led the team with 67 catches for 822 yards and five scores – the No. 2 wide receiver caught 25 passes – and LT Kofi Amichia and RG Dominique Threatt were keys to the ground game.
South Florida Bulls Biggest Positive
The defense might not have been any good, but at least everyone has time logged in. There’s a chance for Strong and his staff to take all the talent in place and make it rock, even though two of the top three tacklers are gone. Auggie Sanchez is a tackling machine at one linebacker spot, and seven of the top nine tacklers are back. Only four of the top 25 tacklers are gone and almost all of the top pass rushers return.
Really, Why Are The South Florida Bulls Ranked Here?
The pressure will be on Strong right away to keep USF among the American Athletic elites – there’s no excuse not to be. QB Quinton Flowers should be the preseason conference Player of the Year, there are more than enough weapons to work with, and again, the defense is full of veteran talent. Strong is walking into a great situation.