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USF football spring practice preview 2023: Wide Receiver

Can the Bulls find replacements for their lost production?

NCAA Football: South Florida at Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Spring practice begins on Monday 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-Marcus Davis then, Matt Middleton and now finally (???), L’Damian Washington

Key Losses: Xavier Weaver (Phantom Zone), Jimmy Horn (Colorado), Omarion Dollison (James Madison), Holden Willis (Middle Tennessee State)

Key Returners: Khafre Brown (Jr.), Ajou Ajou (So.), Yusuf Terry (Jr.),Javohn Thomas (RFR) Sean Atkins (Jr.), Christian Helms (Jr.)

Key Additions: Seth Jones (Jr. -Baylor) Naiem Simmons (Jr.-Wagner),Demetrius Carter (Fr.-Early Enrollee)

If this was five years ago, USF would be returning one of the best one-two receiver punches in college football. Unfortunately, we are in the transfer portal era and the Bulls lost four of their top six receivers from 2022 to the portal. However, while the portal taketh, the portal also giveth. USF brought in two transfer receivers in Seth Jones and Naiem Simmons. Both look to be contributors this season. In the past, the portal also gave USF three of their top returning receivers in Khafre Brown, Ajou Ajou and Yusuf Terry.

This group is low on proven production and high on potential. Terry has been on campus for a couple of years and has 13 receptions. Ajou was a much heralded transfer last season but injuries limited him to two catches in his one game of action. Brown is a player who had meager production last season, but he could take a big leap in this new style of offense. The most productive returner is once and future walk-on Sean Atkins. Atkins was the third leading receiver in 2022 with 19 receptions and 3 touchdowns.

Naiem Simmons is moving up a level joining the Bulls from FCS Wagner. Simmons was explosive and productive with 50 receptions, 796 yards and six touchdowns for the Seahawks. Seth Jones did not have the production of Simmons, but he did start the first four games for Baylor in 2022. At worst, he provides a familiar face for fellow former Bear Gerry Bohanon. Demetrius Carter Jr. is an early freshman enrollee from Steinbrenner High School. Carter initially committed to the previous staff and affirmed the commitment in the early signing period. He possesses a good mix of length and athleticism that is coveted in this offense.

USF has some more help on the way for this room in the summer, but there will be a talented group on the field this spring They will be asked to do a lot under new head coach Alex Golesh’s offensive scheme. This offense puts a lot of responsibilities on the receivers, but other stops have been able to pick it up quickly. If the group struggles with the new offense I wouldn’t be shocked to see another addition in the portal post-Spring.