South Florida’s offense will still be dynamic despite losing Marlon Mack
South Florida football is coming off its best season in school history. With Marlon Mack headed to the NFL, the Bulls will need someone to step up.
South Florida has created an exciting brand of football over the last few seasons. It’s an offense that averaged 511.5 yards per game in 2016. Former head coach Willie Taggart built this juggernaut, but now it’s time to see if it can survive some major losses.
Three-year starting running back and USF all-time leading rusher Marlon Mack declared for the draft in January. Also, senior leading receiver Rodney Adams will be gone as well. Without two of their major contributors, they’ll need some other players to step up.
Luckily for the Bulls, they already know they have playmakers. Although they are losing Mack, South Florida returns an experienced dual threat back in D’Ernest Johnson. He’ll help in the running game and with the passing attack. The junior back has recorded 1,000 career rushing yards and nine touchdowns. In his last two seasons, he’s rushed for 850 yards. He’s been even stronger through the air, snaring 61 passes for 746 yards and 10 touchdowns in his three seasons.
Johnson was actually tied on the team for the second most receptions this season with 28. He will certainly be key to their success offensively. Furthermore, the Bulls return all their major receiving contributors outside of Mack and Adams. Junior Tyre McCants and senior Marquez Valdes-Scantling provide deep threats for the offense. They caught a combined 47 passes for 799 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 17 yards per catch in 2016.
Those two mixed with rising, soon-to-be sophomore tight end Mitchell Wilcox should create a lethal combination. Wilcox caught just 12 passes but for 278 yards and two scores in his freshman season. He’ll definitely be someone to watch.
Despite the two key losses at the skill positions, South Florida has one thing every successful team needs, a strong quarterback. Senior Quinton Flowers has done just about everything a quarterback can do during his two years as a starter.
He’s led the Bulls to their first ever double-digit win season in 2016. He’s put up huge numbers throwing and rushing for nearly 8,000 offensive yards. He’s set records rushing for the most yards by a quarterback in a career with 2,594.
He’s a wild, compact spark plug that can ignite the offense at anytime. His return gives the Bulls an experienced signal caller with a lot of production. His arm strength and this big play offense go hand-in-hand, but his legs separate him from every quarterback in college football.
Most dual threat passers can scramble, throw on the run and pickup first downs. Flowers can break a game open in one run. He had compiled seven runs of 40-plus yards. The Bulls offense will be dominant with Flowers back under center.
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