Spring practice begins this 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: Xavier Dye (First season at USF)
Key Losses: None
Key Returners: Randall St. Felix (22 Receptions, 261 yards, 2 touchdowns), Bryce Miller (21 Receptions, 232 yards, 4 touchdowns), Eddie McDoom (13 Receptions, 174 yards), and Xavier Weaver (12 receptions, 166 yards)
Key Additions: Latrell Williams (University of Tennessee Transfer), Omarion Dollison (2020 Early Enrollee)
The wide receivers were one of the more disappointing units during the miserable 2019 campaign. They struggled at times to get separation from defenders. When they did separate, drops plagued the unit all season. Nobody was able to step up and create a consistent threat opposite Mitchell Wilcox. The lack of a true receiving threat outside the tight end and the decline of the QB play as the season went on allowed teams to play man coverage, load the box, and suffocate the USF offense.
Randall St. Felix and Eddie McDoom were both players that USF fans thought could be that threat opposite Wilcox. Both players had disappointing seasons, but there were some flashes of what could be. St. Felix was able to make some splash plays last season (the ECU game comes to mind) but couldn’t find a level of consistent production. McDoom had some untimely drops but was able to get open quite often. Unfortunately for him, the quarterbacks weren’t able to get him the ball. I would expect both players to see improved production in 2020.
One of last season’s few bright spots was the emergence of Bryce Miller. Miller entered the season an unheralded walk-on from East Lake HS by way of Southeastern University. He earned playing time with his ability to run precise routes and consistently get open. Miller ended 2019 third on the team in receptions and receiving yards. He was second on the team in touchdown receptions, trailing only Mitchell Wilcox. Jeff Scott and Charlie Weis Jr. have had success in the past with slot receivers that run great routes. Miller will be hoping to continue that trend next year.
Xavier Weaver showed some flashes of playmaking ability in his true freshman season. He returns along with three other receivers who recorded four or more catches (Terrence Horne, Jernard Phillips, and DeVontres Dukes). Jah’Quez Evans and Zion Roland will both be moving to receiver full time. Evans showed some explosiveness as the wildcat quarterback last season. Roland played receiver his freshman year before switching to defensive back last season. Also joining them at receiver are Christian Helms, Sean Atkins, and Logan Berryhill.
Added to the returners from last year are a couple of exciting newcomers: Omarion Dollison and Latrell Williams. Dollison, an early enrollee from Columbia, S.C., was one of the earliest players to receive an offer from Jeff Scott after taking over at USF. He was an explosive player in high school averaging 18.3 yards per touch while also accounting for 21 touchdowns. Williams, who has been clocked at sub 4.4 40-yard dash, transferred to USF before the start of the 2019 season but was unable to obtain a waiver from the NCAA. He was impressive in fall camp last year, with the former staff believing him to be one of the best receivers on the roster. Both Williams and Dollison will look to inject some explosiveness into a group that was sorely missing it last season.
Nobody knows for sure how Jeff Scott will do as a college head coach. All signs point to him being very successful, but you can’t say it’s a definite yet. One thing you can say with 100% certainty, however, is that Jeff Scott was an extraordinary wide receiver coach. His receiving corps at Clemson always performed at a high level. While they often had great talent, their players were also technically sound and detail oriented. This comes from great coaching. I have no doubt that Scott and receivers coach Xavier Dye, who played and coached for Scott at Clemson, will bring this same level of coaching to USF. With all the experience returning, and some explosive additions I would expect the USF receivers to show definite signs of improvement this spring and into the 2020 season.