Rodney Adams Leads Loaded USF Receiver Crew Into New Season
Sporting a whopping sixteen players on the roster, with two incoming freshmen arriving in the fall, the USF receiver core is the most depth-laden position on the roster and will be a force to contend with for opposing defenses.
Hey! South Florida's spring practice finally started this week! We have actual football activity to fill the black-hole void of the college football offseason. You want visual proof? Here's Quinton Flowers throwing some passes on Friday.
The very identity of the Bulls' offense is predicated through the run, as the unit ran the ball 65.24% of the time in 2015. But that fact makes USF's aerial attack all the more dangerous as numerous times we witnessed defenses load the box in anticipation for Marlon Mack, only for Flowers to release a strike over the middle to the likes of Rodney Adams, Chris Barr, D'Ernest Johnson, and Sean Price.
Under the tutelage of new Co-OC/WR coach T.J. Weist, the deepest unit on the team will feature a senior looking to one-up his record breaking 2015 campaign, a transfer from NC State returning home to wreck shop against AAC defenders, and possibly a highly touted four-star recruit from Miami who could see the field sooner rather than later in his freshman campaign.
Second, holy smokes, that's a lot of wide receivers! Including the two incoming freshmen, there will be eighteen wideouts that Quinton Flowers will potentially have at his disposal once the Bulls kick off vs. Towson this September. Obviously several of these players will barely see the field, but the sheer amount drives into Taggart's mantra vast competition and as he says "recruiting guys to come in and take the current player's jobs."
At the forefront of the receiver group is senior Rodney Adams, who himself had a record-breaking season in 2015. The second-team All-AAC wide receiver was set the USF single-season receiving record in yards (822) and touchdown catches (9) while also serving as a force during kick returns, averaging a conference leading 29.1 yards per return and possessing the ability to turn on the jets for a touchdown at any given time. Whether in jet sweeps, screen passes, or downfield post routes, Adams' speed and ability to burn defenders in the open field makes him a useful weapon in a plethora of aspects for the USF offense as he looks to set even more records in 2016.
A testament to the coaching staff's ability to lure local transfers back to the Bay area is not only Adams, a transfer from Toledo, but also his Lakewood High School teammate Marquez Valdes-Scantling who is eligible to play this season after sitting out 2015 due to NCAA transfer rules. Playing under Dave Doeren at NC State, the long named junior caught 44 receptions for 538 yards and one touchdown in his two seasons in Raleigh. Named the team's best scout team player in 2015, Valdes-Scantling will utilize that year of practice as one of the Bulls' top options within the Gulf Coast. Also, let's hope we get more interviews like this from him:
The number of guys you could see pop in and out of different packages and make key catches in 2016 ranges greatly from upperclassmen like Ryeshene Bronson and A.J. Legree (another transfer Taggart lured back home) down to sophomores such as Jordan Reed, Chris Barr, and Tyre McCants. Barr as a true freshman appeared in all thirteen games for USF, etching his way into the offense as the third leading receiver while McCants arrived on the scene late in the season, catching three passes for 88 yards and a touchdown in the Miami Beach Bowl.
And then there's 2016 commit Darnell Salomon, who will arrive to campus in the summer. Snagging the four-star Miami Central wideout from ALABAMA of all teams and fending him off from Temple and Pittsburgh was an incredible coupe for the USF staff, especially after the departure of popular WR coach Ron Dugans to the U.
Salomon was the prized possession of an all-around solid recruiting class for South Florida, as the receiver ranks as the twelfth highest rated prospect for the Bulls since 2000 according to 247. Number 204 on ESPN's Top 300 list for the class of 2016, several people, including the USF coaching staff, contend that the 6-3 freshmen has the skills to step on the field almost immediately. Expect him to gradually gain more and more reps as the season goes on, being fully unleashed towards the end of the year.