And now the first player on our countdown who needs absolutely no introduction, but we'll do it anyway because that's the point of this.
#87 WR Rodney Adams
Senior, 6'1", 190 lbs.
2015 Stats: Adams simply had the best season a USF receiver has ever had. He played in all 13 games and caught 45 passes for 822 yards and nine touchdowns. The yardage and touchdowns are both USF single-season records, and his 18.3 yards per catch rank fourth. He tied a single-game USF record with three touchdown catches against UConn, and recorded 100-yard receiving days against UConn, Temple, and Western Kentucky.
Adams did almost all his damage after USF's offense finally started clicking. In the first four games of the season, before the long-awaited breakthrough against Syracuse, he had a total of eight catches for 45 yards. He essentially broke the school's receiving record in nine games.
Adams also excelled as a kick returner, gaining 466 yards on just 16 returns. He housed the opening kickoff against Navy from 97 yards out, and his 29.1 yards per return ranked sixth in FBS and third in school history. On top of all that, Adams ran for 81 yards and a touchdown. He finished with 1,369 all-purpose yards, good for fourth in USF history, right behind the 1,492 yards Marlon Mack rolled up last year. Adams was named to the American's all-conference second team.
Position on Depth Chart: Rodney is the starting slot receiver and primary kick returner on the post spring depth chart.
How He Came To USF: Adams has had quite a college journey. Coming out of St. Petersburg's Lakewood High School, he originally committed to Florida, but had to drop out of it because of health issues and academic problems. Adams then went to Toledo, where his freshman year was more or less wasted. He played in seven games but only caught two passes for 15 yards. Then he lost his mother in a car accident in November 2013. Adams transferred to USF to be closer to his family, and received a hardship waiver to be eligible for the Bulls in 2014. (He was one of the last players to qualify under the old NCAA hardship rule. The new rule gives you an extra year of eligibility at the end, but requires you to sit a year out.)
Recruiting Rankings: Scout and Rivals rated Adams as a three-star recruit. ESPN and 247 gave him four.
Projected Playing Time: Well, since there's absolutely no question how much playing time Rodney will get (a ton), let's see how far away he is from breaking some USF career receiving records.
- Receptions: Andre Davis holds the career receptions record with 153. Adams comes into this year with 68. Considering USF isn't exactly running a pass-happy offense and no Bull has ever caught more than 62 passes in a single season, this one might be very hard for Rodney to break.
- Receiving Yards: Davis finished with 2,136 receiving yards. Adams is 989 yards away from that mark going into 2016. If you took Adams's production in the final nine games last year and projected it across a full 13-game season, including a bowl game, it comes out to 1,122 yards. This one's possible if things go right.
- Touchdowns: Davis had 17 career touchdown catches. Adams has 11. Definitely in reach.
- Yards Per Reception: Carlton Mitchell averaged 15.7 yards per reception for his USF career. Adams is already at 16.8 ypr. This record is the most likely to be broken, although Adams does need two more catches to officially qualify.
This is going to be a really fun year. By the end of it, we may have to decide where Adams lands on the list of the best transfer players in USF history. It's a long way to go to surpass Kawika Mitchell at the top of the list, but it's not completely out of the question.
Follow Him On... Rodney's on Twitter at @rodney_adams87, and Instagram at rodneyadams.