With a short Brett Kean toss into the end zone Tuesday, the curtain was pulled back on one of the most furtive developments of fall camp at USF.
Snagging the pass in single coverage was new Bulls TE Jacob Mathis, the former four-star prospect from Berkeley Prep whose name doesn't appear on the team roster.
Yet within moments of the catch, in the waning stages of the Bulls' first full-pads workout, school officials confirmed Mathis has joined the team. He arrives from Ole Miss, where he spent the previous two seasons without ever logging game action.
Whether he's eligible immediately remains unclear, though the prospects are encouraging. In the wake of NCAA-imposed sanctions on Ole Miss' program late last year, several Rebels transfers have been cleared to play immediately at their new schools.
"We're still just waiting 'cause we just don't know yet," Coach Charlie Strong said. "He's here, he's practicing and he's getting the work in. I think he'll be a great addition for us, we've just got to get some things cleared up through the NCAA."
An Under Armour All-American, Mathis — listed at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds with the Rebels — gives the Bulls depth at a position that lacked it after veteran Kano Dillon transferred to Oregon. If he's deemed eligible, he'll seriously contend with redshirt freshman Frederick Lloyd for the backup spot to Mitch Wilcox.
"He's a big dude," Bulls senior WR Ryeshene Bronson said.
"We were doing pops and I saw him grab the ball by one hand. I was amazed. I mean, everybody can catch the ball with one hand, but for him to come in and just fit right in to our offense, I think he's gonna help us."