USF Spring Camp starts on Tuesday and we cannot WAIT to see the finished product come March 27th when the team is set to play in Ray Jay for the annual USF Spring Football Game. Before the dust settles, Mike Cusimano and Josh Katz predict how the offensive side of the ball may shake out at the end of camp next month.
Projected Starter: Mike picks Cade Fortin, Josh goes Jarren Williams
Projected Backup: Mike picks Jarren Williams, Josh goes Cade Fortin
I am going with the guy that has been with the program the longest here in Cade Fortin even though Jarren’s experience at the University of Miami makes him an intriguing option for the program moving forward. This is a QB room chalk full of talent so don’t discount Katravis Marsh, Jordan Smith, and true freshman Timmy McClain either. Will the QB battle be over after spring camp? Probably not, but I would love to see a guy come into fall camp as the favorite once camp is over…
Jarren Williams has a more than likely chance at becoming Head Coach Jeff Scott’s starting QB for the 2021 season. Between all of the South Florida Quarterbacks which includes Katravis Marsh, Jordan Smith, Cade Fortin, and of course Williams, I see the former Miami Hurricane being under-center for the Bulls’ matchup Week One against N.C. State. Coming from the University of Miami, Williams has played a fair share of ACC football, and it will definitely be interesting to see what his impact will be as a Bull. Williams enters the USF program with more than the necessary experience to be the Day One guy for USF.
Running Back (RB)
Projected Starter: Kelley Joiner Jr.
Projected Backup: Brian Battie/Darrian Felix (Mike added Darrian Felix in anticipation that all three backs will be utilized equally)
Give credit to former running backs coach Pat White and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. for utilizing this backfield in the way that they did in 2020. I felt like all three RBs at any given time (Joiner Jr., Ford, and Battie) were utilized properly and gave this Bulls rushing attack something to be reckoned with last season. Expect more of the same in 2021 with Darrian Felix inserted into the equation much like he was against UCF. Also look for Colorado transfer Jaren Mangham as a goal-line back for this group as someone that could/should see significant play time once he is with the program in the summer.
For the Running Back position, I am going with the guy who was USF’s starter for the 2020-21 campaign. The loss of Johnny Ford to the Transfer Portal, and then to FAU, is a crucial hit for the South Florida squad, but Kelley Joiner Jr. has what it takes to be a consistent starter for USF. Joiner Jr. can do it all as a Running Back. With that being said, Battie should still get a solid amount of carries every game (he blossomed towards the end of 2020).
Wide Receiver (WR)
Projected Starter (Z): Latrell Williams
Projected Backup: Logan Berryhill
Projected Starter (Inside): Bryce Miller
Projected Backup: Omarion Dollison
Projected Starter (X): Xavier Weaver
Projected Backup: Sincere Brown
As it stands now, USF has four guys that they can really lean on at the position in Williams, Miller, Dollison (who should start inside as well in 4 WR sets), and Weaver. I say that in lieu of the experience that the four have in comparison to the rest of the position currently. What I am really looking for in 2021 is who becomes the other two guys behind the starters (Assuming that the staff wants six strong WRs heading into the season). I will assume that Berryhill and Brown are those guys for now with the staff high on Brown’s potential as the 2020 season ended. Be on the look-out for early enrollee Nickolas Tshivuadi who could vault himself into the group with Baylor transfer Yusef Terry, Jimmy Horn Jr., and Cadrece Mobley being guys that could really work themselves into the fold when the join the team in the summer.
The Wide Receiver Room is where things might get fishy. The Bulls have many veteran Wide Receivers on this team, but at the same time there’s many younger guys who are quickly and aggressively improving. Williams, Miller, and Weaver are the guys who I ultimately think get the “call” for Week One once the new season rolls around. With that being said, I still expect guys like Dollison and Brown to get their fair share of balls as well. This team has a lot of talent at this position, so don’t be surprised to see true-freshmen Jimmy Horn and Nickolas Tshivuadi having an impact too.
Tight End (TE)
Projected Starter: Mitchell Brinkman
Projected Backup: Gunnar Greenwald
I am going with the true freshman here as the backup behind Brinkman with Mitch being utilized in both the passing and running game in 2020. I would love to see the TE position utilized more in 2021 and that could be a possibility with both guys being the all-purpose TEs that coaches look for. Don’t forget about Chris Carter who served as Brinkman’s primary backup in 2020 after most USF folk figured that Jacob Mathis would be the guy behind Brinkman throughout the year.
Veteran TE Brinkman will most likely secure the starting role here. As the 2020 starter, it only makes sense to allow him to continue to do what he thrives at—catching footballs and providing support in the run game. I think Gunnar Greenwald, a true freshman, will end up seeing the field as a pass catcher, and will gradually work his way into the starting role for the following season (2022-23). Both of these guys are very versatile at this position and Head Coach Jeff Scott will have a tough decision to make about when and where to use each of them. Towards the end of the season, do not be surprised if Greenwald is getting more playing time.
Offensive Line (OL)
Projected Starter (LT): Donovan Jennings
Projected Backup: Joshua Blanchard
Projected Starter (LG): Demetris Harris
Projected Backup: Sebastian Sainterling
Projected Starter (C): Brad Cecil
Projected Backup: Dustyn Hall
Projected Starter (RG): Michael Wiggs
Projected Backup: Uriah Greene
Projected Starter (RT): Demontrey Jacobs
Projected Backup: Andrew Kilfoyl
Don’t be surprised to see this position group pushed by redshirt freshman and/or true freshman on the two-deep. Someone like Kilfoyl (as an early enrollee) could find themselves being the next man up depending on how the guys already on the roster perform throughout camp. I will be curious to see who grabs the bull by the horns (pun intended) at the right tackle position that saw Jarrett Hopple, Joshua Blanchard, and Demontrey Jacobs see playing time throughout the 2020 season. Besides RT, I’m looking for some depth across the OL (along with continued development across the OL position) heading into the summer with the position group sitting with a number of guys ready to take the next step if/when the opportunity presents itself.
Just like most of the offensive positions for the Bulls, this Offensive Line starting five will definitely be pushed by the younger guys of the group. Looking back at last season, it’s actually quite difficult to tell who was a starter and who was a backup due to the countless injuries the Offensive Line faced. Generally, the starting five on the O-Line stays the same here. The biggest “locks” here are going to be Left Tackle Donovan Jennings, Left Guard Demetris Harris, and Center Brad Cecil. These three have been the anchors of this front five and I don’t see any of them losing their roles. True-freshman Andrew Kilfoyl and Redshirt Sophomore Dustyn Hall will most likely see the field, especially if the starting five becomes prone to injuries similar to the 2020 season.