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2021 USF Football Spring Practice Preview: Tight Ends

Perhaps a new position group coach will bring fruitful production?

South Florida v Cincinnati Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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.

Tight Ends

Position Coach: Xavier Dye (Second season at USF, First as TE’s Coach)

Key Losses: Jacob Mathis

Key Returners: Mitchell Brinkman (15 receptions, 161 yards, 1 TD), Fred Lloyd (11 games, zero catches, Chris Carter (five receptions, 24 yards).

Key Additions: N/A

Coach Joey King departed USF to coach for Carrollton High School in Georgia, and in steps USF wide receiver’s coach Xavier Dye to assume the role as tight ends coach. Dye will look to increase the statistical productivity of a unit that was quiet on the stat sheet all last season.

Mitchell Brinkman is returning to USF for an additional season after transferring from NIU the season prior. He led the unit by far in all statistics, recording the lone touchdown by the tight end unit against The Citadel in week one. His 15 receptions for 161 yards was also much more productive than the other two tight ends to record a stat. Jacob Mathis recorded only two catches for one yard, and Chris Carter had five receptions for 24 yards.

Holden Willis is still a developmental tight end for the Bulls after seeing action in just two games last year.

However, at times it is difficult to judge a tight ends’ production as they can contribute mightily on run blocking and pass protection as well. USF has had to keep the tight ends in to pass protect more frequently over the last two season after the offensive line proved they couldn’t get the job done consistently. If the offensive line can be better, the tight ends should get better numbers.

Regardless, coming off a 2019 season with the best tight end in school history, Mitchell Wilcox, recording 28 receptions for 350 yards and five TDs, the 2020 season had a stark drop-off in production as a unit. Coach Scott did add prized tight end recruit Gunnar Greenwald from Satellite Beach, FL to bring the total to eight tight ends on the USF 2021 roster.