Spring practice begins on Tuesday 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: Joey King (First season at USF)
Key Losses: Mitchell Wilcox (28 receptions, 350 yards, five touchdowns)
Key Returners: Jacob Mathis (13 receptions, 202 yards, two touchdowns), Fred Lloyd (11 games, zero catches, Chris Carter (11 games, zero catches)
Key Additions: Thomas Nance from defensive line
How do you replace the greatest tight end in South Florida Bulls history? That’s the question new tight end coach Joey King will have to figure out this season.
Ole Miss transfer Jacob Mathis will step into Wilcox’s shoes as the starting tight end after starting to make a difference on offense in the middle of 2019. Not only did his production see a jump from 2018, he became a very good run blocker when the Bulls used two tight ends.
Behind Mathis though are three giant question marks in Lloyd, Carter, and converted defensive end Nance.
Everyone reading this has as many career catches as the trio combined. Outside of defensive end, this unit may have least amount of experience heading into the 2020 season.
Lloyd was used sparingly in 2019 offensively, but one key area to look for improvement from him is his blocking skill. Last season when he was used in two tight end sets, he was consistently beaten, and he’ll need to be more stout at the point of attack.
Carter is a complete unknown at this point. He went from tight end to defensive end, and then back. He was used only on special teams in 2019. It remains to be seen if his skills and size (6’4, 246 lbs) can translate to a successful career at tight end.
Nance could prove to be a difference-maker in 2020 for the Bulls if he can pick up the position, and playbook in short order. He was a top tight end/defensive end prospect coming out of high school two years ago. The Florida Gators were in on him for some time before Nance shut down his recruitment.