Three games to go, but amazingly enough we’re already through nine games in the 2023 season.
The question on everyone’s mind is how does this Bulls team finish off the year?
Does the program return to its first bowl game since 2018 or will it be back to the drawing board?
While we wait, let’s discuss the players that have stood out to me on both sides of the ball…
MVP: WR Sean Atkins
Since the first week against Western Kentucky to last week against Memphis, there is no doubt that QB Byrum Brown’s favorite WR is Mr. Sean Atkins. With 60 receptions on the year for 639 yards and 4 touchdowns, the former walk-on has the opportunity to surpass Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS) single season USF record for receiving yards of 879 in 2017 with three games left on the year. That’s some good company to find yourself in! It’s great to see the Viera, FL product reach this level of success as a junior in Tampa with it being no surprise to former student-athletes who I’ve talked to that have played with Atkins in the past. Oh yeah, and he can PASS!
Honorable Mention: RB Nay’Quan Wright
Wright is the epitome of the benefits that the transfer portal can offer for a team looking for a player that can provide an immediate impact at a position along with the player looking for a new opportunity to showcase their talents at a new program. The Gator transfer has been the primary running back for the Bulls rushing attack with 642 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns to boot averaging 4.9 yards per carry on the year. Consistency would be the word that I would use for Wright so far this season and I’m excited to see how he finishes the year as the Bulls primary back beside Byrum Brown.
MVP: DE Jonathan Ross
Good things come from transfers and as described below, our honorable mention on defense is another transfer that has proven to be a plug and play defender for a Bulls defense that is looking to regain their image from previous Bulls defenses that put the program on the map. The Division 2 transfer from Bowie State joined the Bulls in 2022 but has REALLY took off this season and for a defensive line group that shuffles guys in and out more than any other team in the country, I’ve been incredibly impressed with Ross and his ability to make plays on a consistent basis. With 28 tackles, 6 TFLs and 2 sacks on the year, Ross has entrenched himself as a main contributor on the Bulls defensive line.
Honorable Mention: CB Braxton Clark
Similar to Wright above, Clark is a plug and play transfer from Nebraska who has taken the cornerback spot beside Aamaris Brown and run with it. His stat-line isn’t gaudy by any means (26 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, and 4 pass breakups), but Clark has been a nightmare for receivers going up against him throughout the year. I’ve been impressed with Clark in coverage and he fits perfectly for an aggressive scheme that wants to go man-to-man on a consistent basis. They don’t make corners like Clark at 6-4, 204 LBs that can run with any receiver often!