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: Bobby Bentley (2nd season)
Key departures: Demarcus Gregory (11 reception, 169 receiving yards, one touchdown), Bryce Miller (12 receptions, 110 receiving yards)
Key returnees: Xavier Weaver (41 receptions, 715 receiving yards, two touchdowns), Jimmy Horn Jr. (30 receptions, 408 receiving yards, one touchdown), Omarion Dollison (27 receptions, 218 receiving yards), Latrell Williams
Key additions: Ajou Ajou (Clemson transfer), Khafre Brown (North Carolina transfer)
With spring practice arriving, the wide receiver room for USF football is one of several position groups that will stand to benefit from continuity. Several key pass catchers from the 2021 core return to the field with a few newcomers from the ACC that could make an immediate impact for Travis Trickett’s offense.
Leading the pack is junior Xavier Weaver, who was the most consistent pass catching option for the Bulls in 2021. At 17.4 yards per reception, he was definitely the big-play option and stands to improve on that even more should we see improvement in the vertical passing game from Timmy McClain.
Alongside him are two 5’9” speedsters in Jimmy Horn Jr. and Omarion Dollison, both of whom can be dangerous screen options if given the opportunity. Horn—who’s put on 12 pounds since the end of the season— in particular has a built in rapport with his high school teammate McClain and USF fans saw glimpses of his gamebreaking abilities as a true freshman last year.
There were just a few departures to the transfer portal in Demarcus Gregory and Bryce Miller. These departures opened the door for the staff to once again reach in their bag of ACC connections and pull a pair of talented wideouts in Ajou Ajou from Clemson and Khafre Brown from North Carolina. Ajou was a no-brainer as Jeff Scott recruited the 6’3” wideout when he was at nearby Clearwater Academy International. Brown carved out a small role catching passes from Sam Howell in 2020, coming away with 15 receptions for 337 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.
One wildcard in the WR room is Latrell Williams who missed most of the 2021 season with a torn ACL. He’s been a favorite among the last two coaching staffs, and was heading toward a big year before his untimely injury early in the season.
On top of a more consistent and potent passing game, one aspect that can definitely be improved upon is simply getting these wideouts into the dang endzone. USF receivers caught just six passing touchdowns from quarterbacks in 2021 and that’s not going to cut it for a program looking to take the next step forward.