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.
Position Coach: Justin Burke (3rd season at USF)
Key Losses: None
Key Returners: Mitch Wilcox (43 catches, 540 yards, 2 TD), Jacob Mathis
Offensive building block Mitch Wilcox chose to remain at USF for his senior season as opposed to entering the NFL draft, which boosts the offense quite a bit and gives the tight end position a veteran presence that would be otherwise lacking.
Alas, the key to this group is the health of Wilcox. The Tarpon Springs native battled an ankle injury nearly every week, but he still managed to appear in 12 games in 2018. In the process, Wilcox and first-year QB Blake Barnett managed to create a pretty awesome bromance off the field that extended to the field.
Wilcox caught a career-best 43 passes for 540 yards, a USF single-season record for a tight end. He also surpassed the school record in receiving yards by a tight end with 976 at the end of the 2018 season. Keeping him healthy is absolutely vital.
Former Berkeley Prep standout Jacob Mathis made his return to the Bay Area after spending two years at Ole Miss. More involvement from him could end up being a big help - Mathis was used in a blocking role mostly. He did catch three passes for 15 yards in the Bulls’ loss at Temple.
Redshirt sophomore Frederick Lloyd Jr. found his way to the special teams’ kick coverage team for the majority of 2018, and and appeared in 12 games in 2018. He could end up blocking in two or three tight end sets if Bell’s offense includes plans for him.
Chris Carter and Justin Hinck both enter their redshirt freshman years after not playing in 2018.
- Who will backup Wilcox? Mathis’ three receptions in 2018 represent the only other catches by a tight end on the roster.