TAMPA ― Tailback Trevon Sands hasn’t had the straightforward career he once envisioned at USF.
He never has reached the depth chart’s top rung, toiling behind 1,000-yard rushers Marlon Mack and Jordan Cronkrite, among others. He committed to USF under former coach Willie Taggart, and stuck with the Bulls when Taggart departed for Oregon after the 2016 season.
He enters his final season with 180 yards on 45 attempts, and more offensive coordinators (three) than career starts (two).
Despite the regular change, Sands remained in Tampa.
“It’s my brothers,” Sands said. “I will never leave my team. They kept me here.”
In the era of the transfer portal, it seems easier than ever for student-athletes to make the leap to a new campus. Look no further than the Bulls’ transfer-laden roster.
Sands never considered leaving the Bulls. Instead, he turned his attention to his teammates and their work on the field.
“I’m here because of them,” Sands said of his teammates. “I won’t regret anything.”
The former three-star recruit, and once-quiet running back, is actively welcoming new teammates as he enters his senior season. He is more vocal in practice, working to encourage the young players who will see the field this season.
“Leadership comes with time, it’s not something that’s given to you,” said quarterback Blake Barnett, himself a graduate transfer. “I think [Trevon’s] doing a great job. He’s a guy that’s been here for a good amount of time, and the team really respects him.”
This year, USF’s running back room features Cronkrite, Sands, junior Odunayo Seriki Jr., sophomore Dave Small, freshman Josh Berry and sophomore Johnny Ford (when not aligned in the slot). Sands, who views himself as a power back, added 20 pounds with strength training and a new diet this offseason to become the heaviest tailback on the roster.
“What’s special about this group is that, if you take one out, there’s no falloff,” said Sands, listed at 5-foot-11, 221 pounds. “Everyone’s ready to work.”
His role as a vocal leader, vision for team unity and offseason preparation has him feeling excited for the upcoming season.
“We’ve got to stay a team, one brotherhood, one heart, one soul, one goal,” said Sands, also expected to remain a significant special teams contributor. “If we do that, we can beat anyone in the country.”