The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the USF Bulls.
No. 64: USF Bulls
Spring Practice Starts: March 5
Spring Game: April 14
USF Bulls Spring Status
Charlie Strong proved he could keep everything rolling from the Willie Taggart building job, but now he has to get the program over the hump. With 21 wins over the last two seasons, USF has been fantastic, but it hasn’t won an American Athletic title.
There might be some key losses at quarterback and running backs, but it’s a talented team with the offensive backfield likely to be fine despite the loss of QB Quinton Flowers.
The other side of the ball is the issue losing four starters on the front six and with safeties Deatrick Nichols and Devin Abraham done in the secondary.
There won’t be the Best Group Of Five Team hype like there was going into last season, but the results could be stronger. After the success of the last two years, the expectations are set higher now.
USF Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. The bigger problem might be the defensive line after losing tackles Deadrin Senat and Bruce Hector, but the focus is on the quarterback situation with Flowers done. Special both as the team’s leading rusher and a decent passer, he was amazing over the last three seasons.
Junior Brett Kean and sophomore Chris Oladokun both saw a wee bit of time last season, but it was all Flowers, all the time. The 6-1, 209-pound Kean is a nice passer, but Oladokun is the pro-style passer with the upside to put more pop in the downfield attack.
USF Biggest Issue
The special teams have to be sharper. The penalties have to slow down after being nailed for over nine per game – the Bulls were the second-worst in the country in sins – but the bigger problems were in the third phase.
Emilio Nadelman was great – hitting 21-of-25 field goals, but he’s gone. The kickoff return game was non-existent, and the coverage team was a problem, allowing over 24 yards per pop. The team averaged just 35.8 net yards per punt, and worst of all, allowed seven blocked kicks.
USF Biggest Positive
The passing game might be more dangerous. The ground game won’t be as good without Flowers, Darius Nice and D’Ernest Johnson, but Florida transfer Jordan Cronkrite will help the cause, and the passing attack should do more considering the talented passing quarterbacks battling it out.
Marquez Valdez-Scantling is done along with Temi Alaka, but Tyre McCants its dangerous, Darnell Salomon is a playmaker, and best of all, Ryshene Bronson is back after missing last year with an injured shoulder.
Really, Why Are The USF Bulls Ranked Here?
It’ll be easy to think USF will take a step back with all of the high-profile offensive losses and with the top three tacklers done on the defensive side.
But Taggart and Strong recruited well with the infrastructure in place to to be double-digit win good again. The stars have to rise up on both sides, though, to be American Athletic Conference title great.