USF Bulls 2015 Preview: RBs & Receivers

By on August 25, 2015


As we continue to preview the upcoming 2015 USF Bulls season, we take a look at the final two positions on offense: Running Back and the Receiving core.

In their 4 wins last season, the Bulls Running Backs averaged 6 yards per carry, while in their 8 losses, they averaged 2.42 yards per carry which ranked 126th in the country.  To help bring life to an otherwise anemic offense, Willie Taggart brought in Danny Hope.  It is the job of Hope to figure out how to properly utilize a deep running back and receiving group.

TOUCHDOWN BULLS!  Rodney Adams scores last season vs. UCONN  (photo USA TODAY Sports / Kim Klement)

TOUCHDOWN BULLS! Rodney Adams scores last season vs. UCONN (photo USA TODAY Sports / Kim Klement)

Nobody had more of an impact on the Bulls offense than Freshman Marlon Mack.  A virtual unknown heading into his freshman season, not much was expected out of the former three star recruit from Sarasota, FL.  Then came the injury to Darius Tice.  Inserted into the starting lineup at the last minute, Mack burst onto the college football scene rushing for 275 yards, finishing the season with a USF freshman record 1,041 yards and earning AAC Rookie of the Year honors.  Mack enters 2015 being named to the 2015 Maxwell Award Watch List.

Joining Mack in the backfield will be former four star prospect D’Ernest Johnson from Immokalee, FL.  Johnson became a reliable 3rd down option for the Bulls last year culminating in a season high 41 yards against UCONN.  Johnson and Mack combined for 249 rushes and 29 catches last year.  Darius Tice looks to make an impact as well in the backfield along with sophomore Sta’Fon McCray and freshman Trevon Sands.

Whoever Willie Taggart decides to name as starting QB will have plenty of options to throw to.  The receiving core is the deepest unit on the Bulls roster.

There will be 11 targets battling for 3 or 4 spots.  Returning for the Bulls are veterans Rodney Adams, Ryeshene Bronson and Sean Price, who combined to average 7.3 yards per target with a 48 % catch rate.  Price is the most experienced of the group having caught 56 passes for 601 yards and was named to the Mackey Award Watch List.  Adams has the most potential of the three having caught 23 receptions last year for 323 yards and 2 TDs.

Joining the receiving core will be first year transfers A.J. Legree (Kentucky) and Austin Aikens (Western Kentucky).  Redshirt freshmen Stanley Clerveaux should see action this season as well as speedy true freshmen receivers Jarris Baxter and Chris Barr.

Taggart and Hope hope to run 85-90 plays per game.  If all goes according to plan, then this up tempo spread option offense should create opportunities for more touches per running back as well as more catches for the receiving core.

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