Next up on my 2021 USF Football Top 5 Players List is a man straight out of the A-T-L. This Mays High School alumnus (Atlanta) has been an absolute force to be reckoned with ever since he stepped onto the field as a Bull in 2018.
This Linebacker stands at 6’1” and weighs in at 213 pounds.
The second-best player on the countdown is none other than Linebacker Antonio Grier.
#2: Antonio Grier
Since 2018, Grier has been a tackling machine and an opposing offense’s worst nightmare. Every year, he has consistently been one of South Florida’s best tacklers—and leaders.
Textbook sack by Antonio Grier #LBLove
— Sam Barrington (@Sam_Barrington_) October 12, 2019
2018: Freshman Year
In his first season as a Bull, Grier mostly had an impact on Special Teams. He appeared in 12 games and recorded eight tackles (six solo), and one fumble recovery.
But that was just the beginning for USF’s future star Linebacker.
2019: Sophomore Year
The following year, Grier totaled 58 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble, and one pass break up. With Grier appearing in games in more than a Special Teams aspect, he became a very known name across the American Athletic Conference (AAC).
Down goes the Bearcat!
Antonio Grier with his team-leading 4th of the year. pic.twitter.com/IOhOcgewuh
— USF Football (@USFFootball) November 17, 2019
2020: Junior Year
In his most recent season, Grier had an absolutely prolific season. He led the Bulls in tackles with 59, had 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Considering that South Florida won a single game in 2019, these statistics prove that Grier is not done yet. He was named as a 2020 Second Team All-AAC member for his fantastic season for the USF Bulls.
Congrats, @AntonioGrierjr5 👊
— USF Football (@USFFootball) December 15, 2020
Greatness. That is what’s next.
— SoFloBulls (@SoFloBulls_) October 3, 2020
The South Florida football team kicks off their season on the road against the N.C. State Wolfpack (9/2), then in Tampa they face off with the Florida Gators (9/11). Though the team’s schedule is technically one of the hardest in the conference, I do not see it having a negative impact on Grier. With that being said, the Wolfpack and Gators better be on high alert. These two games will show that Grier is the real deal. More importantly, they’ll show why he is #2 on my list.
No. 36 in my #AACTop50:
USF LB Antonio Grier
Tackling machine who wears a visor, has a neckplate, and wears a single digit? Yeah that's a Top 50 player for sure pic.twitter.com/uXVGQmp34T
— Joe Broback (@joebroback) July 27, 2021
Do not be surprised if Grier ends the 2021 campaign with over 65 tackles, 5-6 tackles for loss, and 4-5 sacks.
Watch out for #5 on the defensive side of the ball. Don’t blink, you will most likely miss something exciting.