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USF poised for record-setting season, again

A look at a few Bulls individual marks that could fall in 2019
USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) runs for an 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against East Carolina last season in Tampa. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) runs for an 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against East Carolina last season in Tampa. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Jul. 24, 2019

For all the advanced metrics and personnel analysis crammed in cyberspace and sleek magazines these days, forecasting the USF football season remains an inexact pursuit.

It could evolve into a banner year or bleak one, no one knows. The only certainty is the Bulls will have a record-setting season of some sort.

They always do.

Several individual records are certain to fall, the most obvious being at tight end, where fifth-year senior Mitch Wilcox needs only four catches to eclipse Sean Price’s USF career mark for a player at that position (75).

Other not-so-glaring USF season and career records also appear in jeopardy. Here are a few:

MORE USF: We ranked every 2019 college football game involving Florida teams

* Senior tailback Jordan Cronkrite, who averaged 6.09 yards per carry last season, should challenge Marlon Mack’s career mark of 6.2. Cronkrite (184 carries, 1,121 yards in 2018) needs only 61 carries to reach the minimum 225 needed to qualify for the record.

* Now that he’s operating an offense seemingly more conducive to his skills, senior quarterback Blake Barnett has a real crack at Quinton Flowers’ record for passing yards in a season (2,911). Barnett had 2,710 in 2018, which ranks fifth on the USF single-season list.

* Barnett, who averaged 246.4 passing yards, also should threaten Marquel Blackwell’s 18-year-old season record of 262.0. Hobbled by various injuries for much of last season, Barnett completed 61.1 percent (214-for-350); Matt Grothe owns USF’s single-season (63.7) and career (62.5) records in that category.

MORE USF: Four questions with bulked-up USF quarterback Blake Barnett

* Junior cornerback Mike Hampton, recently named to the Jim Thorpe Award’s preseason watch list, had 16 pass breakups last season. If he remains healthy, he’ll challenge Bernard Brown’s season record in that category (18). Hampton’s 18 passes defended last fall were one shy of Brown’s school mark, also set in 1999.

* Junior kicker Coby Weiss enters the season with a streak of nine consecutive made field goals, four shy of Emilio Nadelman’s school record. The mark remains reachable if Bulls coaches continue limiting Weiss to high-percentage chances. He tried only two field goals of 40 or longer last season.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.