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2018 USF Football Spring Practice Preview: Tight End

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Mitchell Wilcox will look to put the fumble against C. behind him as the primary tight end.

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-South Florida vs South Carolina Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Spring practice begins next week so we will breakdown each position group as we gear up for football season. Note: We will not guess on what impact freshmen who are not on campus yet will have on the team. Except for quarterback because #BattleHive.

Tight End:

Key Losses: Elkanah Dillon-Transfer (11 catches, 119 yards on 21 targets)

The one position that really couldn’t handle attrition between seasons suffered a huge setback when redshirt junior TE Elkanah Dillon announced on February 2 that he would be transferring from the school, just days before 2018 National Signing Day.

That leaves just rising redshirt junior Mitchell Wilcox as the only tight end on the team that has seen any meaningful game action in a USF jersey. In previous years that would be concerning, but offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert flat-out refused to use the tight ends last season and we can only assume the same will be true in 2018 with less talent at the position.

[All target stats and numbers are from SBNation’s Bill Connolly and his team profiles]

Tight ends at Texas in 2016 had just six targets under Gilbert, good for 1.6% of the Longhorns total targets. Tight ends at Tulsa in 2015 under Gilbert had seven targets (1.5% of the total targets).

Wilcox had 17 catches for 158 yards and two (2) touchdowns on 29 targets in 2017. While his target number was up from 2016 (20), he, along with Dillon were used as blocking H-backs more than they were used as receiving threats. Wilcox’s average yards per target (5.5) was down over eight yards from 2016 to 2017 and his yards per catch were down nearly 14 yards—23.2 ypc in ‘16 to 9.3 ypc in ‘17.

Behind him there’s redshirt freshman Frederick Lloyd, Jr who was a part of the 2017 recruiting class. The 6’5”, 201 lbs tight end from Tifton, GA was a three-star prospect according to 247sports and caught 33 passes for 608 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. He was a second-team all-state selection as well.

Converted defensive lineman Nicholas Munera is only other tight end on the team.

Lloyd’s cousin, three-star tight end Chris Carter Jr, will join the team in the fall to provide more depth. We’d also expect multiple walk-ons to join the team as well.