A program-record four seniors, who turned around a much-maligned USF football program, are set to play one last college game in a USF helmet when they participate in the 93rd annual East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field January 20.
The Bulls have sent at least one player to the game in 11 consecutive years and have sent 19 players overall.
Quarterback/GOAT Quinton Flowers, fresh off claiming his second Birmingham Bowl MVP honor in as many years, will be one of six quarterbacks in the Shrine Game. Flowers took a step back this year as a passer under offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, but has shown flashes of being able to throw the deep ball with some accuracy and touch.
He probably won’t get drafted or signed in the NFL as a QB, but it’s nice to see him get a shot in front of scouts to play the position every coach in the country said couldn’t play coming out of high school (Looking at you Fat Will Muschamp).
Flowers will also head to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Flowers owns almost 40 USF records, including career total yards (11,802), rushing yards (3,672), rushing TD’s (41), and passing touchdowns (71).
Running Back D’Ernest Johnson will also head to the Shrine Game to (finally) show off the versatility out of the backfield that Gilbert refused to utilized at all in 2017.
Johnson was the the biggest casualty of the Gilbert offense. He caught just 11 passes this year for only 128 yards. He caught 54 passes combined in 2015 and 2016. It’s great to see him get a shot in front of scouts after Gilbert handcuffed him this year.
He rushed for nearly 1,800 yards in his career, had over 800 receiving yards, 1,400 yards in kick and punt returns.
He also complete two-of-three passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns. He can do it all.
Cornerback Deatrick Nichols has played outside corner, nickel, and even safety at times this season with great success. What he lacks in height (listed at 5’10” lolol), he more than makes up for in tenacity, coverage skills, tackling and instincts.
He’s a three time all-conference team member including a first-team in 2015 and 2017 and became the shutdown cornerback USF had lacked since the days of Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams.
Nichols finished his career with 175 tackles, 14.5 TFL, and 11 interceptions which is third all-time at USF, behind only Williams (16) and J.R. Reed (18).
Defensive Tackle Deadrin Senat rounds out the group headed to the Shrine Game after completing a dominant senior campaign where he finished second on the team in tackles (66), sacks (6), and 10.5 TFL.
He led a defensive turnaround in 2017 along with fellow seniors DE Mike Love and interior linemate Bruce Hector.
Senat exploded for three sacks during the Bulls 38-34 Birmingham Bowl win over Texas Tech in December.
The soft-spoken big man will also join Flowers at the NFL Scouting Combine.