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USF Bulls mostly snubbed in All-AAC voting despite historic turnaround

Record-setting receiver Sean Atkins is a second-team all-conference pick.
 
USF wide receiver Sean Atkins (38), who set Bulls single-season records for catches and receiving yards, was a second-team choice on the coaches' All-American Athletic Conference squad released Wednesday.
USF wide receiver Sean Atkins (38), who set Bulls single-season records for catches and receiving yards, was a second-team choice on the coaches' All-American Athletic Conference squad released Wednesday. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Nov. 29, 2023|Updated Nov. 29, 2023

In terms of individual accolades, USF’s surreal transformation from basement dweller to bowl eligibility yielded minimal recognition from coaches in its conference.

The Bulls were mostly bypassed in balloting for the American Athletic Conference postseason honors, chosen by league coaches and released Wednesday morning. USF, bowl eligible at 6-6 after totaling four wins the previous three seasons, had no first-team all-conference selections.

Receiver Sean Atkins, who set Bulls single-season records for catches (86) and receiving yards (961), was USF’s only second-team pick. No Bulls made the third team, though four — cornerback Aamaris Brown-Bunkley, defensive tackle Rashad Cheney, linebacker Jhalyn Shuler and right guard Zane Herring — were honorable-mention selections.

Arguably the most glaring snub: redshirt sophomore quarterback Byrum Brown, the AAC leader in total yards per game (320.6) and one of two Football Bowl Subdivision players (LSU’s Jayden Daniels is the other) to collect at least 3,000 passing and 700 rushing yards this year.

Brown (3,078 passing, 745 rushing yards) was not among the four league quarterbacks recognized on the squad.

Meantime, USF first-year coach Alex Golesh, who oversaw the second-best turnaround of any team in major college football this past season, was bypassed in coach-of-the-year balloting. That honor went to Tulane’s Willie Fritz, whose 17th-ranked team (11-1) hosts SMU in Saturday’s league title contest.

The Bulls’ six wins under Golesh are two more than the program totaled in three previous seasons under Jeff Scott. USF’s five-win improvement is the program’s best one-year turnaround, and second-best in the Football Bowl Subdivision behind Northwestern, which improved from 1-11 to 7-5.

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