Spring practice report: TE competition remains stiff
Eleven practices into spring camp, the competition for the starting tight end job remains close between sophomore Kano Dillon and redshirt freshman Mitch Wilcox, first-year position coach David Reaves said Friday.
Wilcox, lining up with the second-team offense Friday morning, provided one of the practice's highlights, working his way to the right side of the end zone to snag a 12-yard TD catch from scrambling QB Brett Kean.
"I was trying to work back just to get open in the end zone, and he found me," said Wilcox, who has battled nagging shoulder soreness this spring. "Good pass."
At 243 pounds, Wilcox said he's roughly 18 pounds heavier than when he arrived at USF, when he found himself behind seniors Sean Price and Marlon Pope, and ultimately Dillon (nine catches, 208 yards in 2015). Similarly, Dillon says he's five to seven pounds heavier -- to 255 -- and has improved his blocking technique and footwork.
"(The competition) is tight," Reaves said.
"Mitch obviously was redshirted last year, but he has all the tools to be a good player, and Kano played for us last year and made some plays for us. So with those guys and the different multiple sets and things we do, both those guys are gonna have to play for us next year, and they're working hard."
'FREE AGENCY' BEGINS: The Bulls formally began their buildup for next weekend's spring intrasquad game with coaches trying to entice "free agents" (within NCAA guidelines) to join their respective teams.
The White team snagged QB Quinton Flowers and MLB Auggie Sanchez, while the Green acquired OLB ("stinger") Nigel Harris and first-year starting C Michael Galati.
Final rosters are expected next week. The April 16 game at Corbett Stadium begins at 4 p.m., preceded by a "Bulls Block Party" on Elm Street starting two hours before the game. Admission and parking to both events are free.
HEADED TO THE 727: The Bulls, who stage at least one spring practice a year off-campus, will work out today at Pinellas Park High starting at 11 a.m. Expect another situational scrimmage as a full-padded precursor to the spring game.
ODDS AND ENDS: Flowers had a 45-yard TD strike over the middle to walk-on WR Chase Whitehead in seven-on-seven work Friday. ... Sophomore QB Ronnie Hoggins had a pick-six of Asiantii Woulard, who was running the second-team offense, in an 11-on-11 period. ... With starting LG Cameron Ruff in Phoenix this weekend attending the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, third-year sophomore Michael Smith worked with the first team. ... Reaves said walk-on H-back Riley Sheehan, a redshirt freshman from Sarasota Riverview, has a legitimate shot to get on the field this fall. "He's just a hard worker," Reaves said. "He gives you everything he's got every time out."