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USF journal: New spot for Ryeshene Bronson

The 6-foot-3 senior will line up inside as a slot receiver this season
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
USF wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson (81) makes a catch during practice at the USF Frank Morsani Football Complex in Tampa, Florida on Monday, August 13, 2018.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times USF wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson (81) makes a catch during practice at the USF Frank Morsani Football Complex in Tampa, Florida on Monday, August 13, 2018.
Published Aug. 30, 2018

Among the surprises on the Bulls' inaugural 2018 depth chart was 6-foot-3 senior Ryeshene Bronson, who missed the '17 season due to shoulder surgery, listed as the backup slot receiver to Tyre McCants.

On Wednesday, offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said it's not a typo.

"'Shene's kinda done both (wideout and slot)," Gilbert said following Wednesday's practice, halted prematurely by intense thunderstorms. "He creates that dynamic for us. You get a tall, rangy guy in there that can run."

Bronson enters his final season with 30 career receptions, highlighted by a 17-catch season in 2015. By many accounts, the Fort Myers native has enjoyed a solid August camp.

"Excited about Ryeshene getting back, really knocking the rust off, kinda going through camp," Gilbert added. "He's a play maker, a guy that can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands."

CONSISTENCY WAS KEY: Gilbert said Wednesday the consistency of QB Blake Barnett enabled the graduate transfer to prevail in USF's quarterback derby.

"Really intelligent guy, really talented guy, and just excited about being able to go forward with him," Gilbert said.

Related: USF banking on Blake Barnett to realize potential

Coach Charlie Strong, who formally announced Barnett as the starter on Tuesday, said he polled every offensive and defensive staffer about who should be the Bulls' starter. Strong wouldn't say the vote was a consensus, but Gilbert seemed to indicate he gave the nod to Barnett.

"You go back and see tape from high school, the few clips that he's got from the previous two places that he's been, and you couldn't quite gauge how athletic he was," Gilbert said.

"He's every bit of 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, and he runs around really, really well. So that was a pleasant surprise, obviously excited about that, and just the other attributes that he brings to the table as well."

ODDS AND ENDS: TE Mitch Wilcox said an unspecified "freak accident" sidelined him for a week earlier this month, but he's 100 percent now. … Defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary confirmed S Naytron Culpepper, who doesn't appear on the depth chart, has been slowed this preseason by an unspecified injury. "He's been trying to fight through it, but nothing that obviously is gonna keep him from playing," Jean-Mary said. "But we have to go with the guys that have been healthy." … Also nagged by a minor injury is SS Mekhi LaPointe, who for now is atop the depth chart. "He's been slowed a little bit by some nagging stuff and hasn't missed practice," Jean-Mary said. "But we have two or three safeties that have been rotating in, and we're still waiting before we actually name a starter."

AUDIBLE: "Those guys knew from the get-go, and everybody in that room knew it was a competition. … And I know this (position) always gets highlighted and spotlighted, but just across the board, we have a lot of competition going on in a lot of spots, and that room was no different." — Gilbert, when asked about his conversation with Brett Kean and Chris Oladokun after coaches determined Barnett would start at quarterback


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