Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

Four more things we learned from USF football signing day

Jeff Scott may have found the long-term heir to Mitch Wilcox. Plus, a second-generation Bull surfaces.
New USF football coach Jeff Scott, right, addresses the Bulls players during his first team meeting in January.
New USF football coach Jeff Scott, right, addresses the Bulls players during his first team meeting in January. [ SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES ]
Published Feb. 6, 2020

TAMPA ― If his signing day news conference was any indication, Jeff Scott’s regular media interactions will be far longer ― and more informative ― than his predecessor’s.

Scott’s opening statement Wednesday exceeded 15 minutes, longer than some of Charlie Strong’s game-week news conferences. If that trend holds, it will benefit you the fan, who yearns for more insight into the program.

Speaking of insights, here are four more that we culled from Wednesday:

1. Willis the next Wilcox?

One of the more intriguing prospects in Scott’s 17-player class, Holden Willis (6-foot-4, 204 pounds) set a Tennessee single-season prep record with 28 touchdown catches for Greenback High last season. But Scott and tight ends coach Joey King anticipate Willis ultimately becoming as brawny as he is rangy.

Fact is, they envision him as a long-term heir to Mitch Wilcox.

“You see it all over the NFL, a lot of these guys that maybe played receiver, and you can see their body type kind of moving in that direction,” said Scott, who first observed Willis at a Clemson football camp two years ago.

“That’s when you can get some athletic guys. It’s easier with your strength staff and nutrition to put weight on an athletic guy than to take one that’s already 260 pounds and make them more athletic.”

Related: USF's Jeff Scott declares open competition at QB...and every other position

2. From wildcat to wide receiver

USF quarterback Jah'Quez Evans (14) is tackled by Memphis linebacker JJ Russell (23) for a short gain during last season's game at Raymond James Stadium. A wildcat QB last season, Evans has requested a move to receiver.
USF quarterback Jah'Quez Evans (14) is tackled by Memphis linebacker JJ Russell (23) for a short gain during last season's game at Raymond James Stadium. A wildcat QB last season, Evans has requested a move to receiver. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]

Sophomore Jah’Quez Evans, who has spent his brief tenure at USF alternating between the receiver and quarterback room, has requested to focus full-time on receiver.

Evans was recruited as a quarterback before being moved to receiver by 2019 offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell, but took snaps in a wildcat role last fall when injuries struck the quarterback depth chart.

“He said he that he had a desire to go to receiver and he felt like he could really help us at receiver, and I supported that,” Scott said.

“I’m not a head coach that comes in and tells guys that you’re switching positions. I’ve never been that way. If you’ve got to force a guy to play a position, he’s not gonna be committed enough to be successful for you.”

3. Smith’s a second-generation Bull

New quarterback Jordan Smith, who threw for more than 6,300 yards in the last three seasons at Lake City Columbia, is believed to be the first second-generation player in USF football history.

Smith’s dad, Quinton Callum, lettered three seasons (2001-03) at tailback for Jim Leavitt.

“He had Bulls stuff everywhere,” Scott said. “Green and gold was all over his house, and I think that’s important. He was someone that really wanted to play at South Florida.”

4. Strength in length

Chamberlain junior left tackle Cesar Reyes was one of two offensive linemen who signed with USF on Wednesday.
Chamberlain junior left tackle Cesar Reyes was one of two offensive linemen who signed with USF on Wednesday. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

Though several newcomers will have to add significant weight, the class’ collective wing span might rank among the American Athletic Conference’s most impressive.

Even taller than Willis is 6-foot-5 Charleston (S.C.) receiver Sincere Brown and 6-5 Miami Central quarterback Katravis Marsh. Chamberlain 300-pound interior offensive lineman Cesar Reyes also checks in at 6-5.

“(Brown’s) a long, long guy,” Scott said. “And again, he’s thin (175 pounds), he’s gonna have to put on some weight, but all of a sudden somebody’s gonna come out two years from now and go, ‘Where in the world did they find that guy?’”