It’s been four years and three losing seasons since the University of South Florida last had a player selected to the NFL. Can they break that drought in the 2023 NFL Draft? An early look at their prospects to watch for this upcoming college football season could reveal the answer. So who should you be watching out for this fall when watching the USF Bulls?
USF prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling was the last player to be drafted from USF — a fifth-rounder in 2018. Since then, it’s been a barren wasteland from South Florida, both in terms of the draft and on-field results. The Bulls have mustered just three wins in the last two seasons. However, there’s reasons to be optimistic that Jeff Scott can engineer a turnaround in fortunes. That optimism begins with some of their 2023 NFL Draft prospects.
Jaren Mangham, RB
A standout freshman for Colorado, Jaren Mangham transferred to USF for the 2021 season and immediately set career highs for rushing yards (671), touchdowns (15), and yards per carry (4.2). At 6’2″ and 221 pounds, Mangham looks every bit the part of an NFL power back. He’s adept at grinding out yardage, while his ability to absorb contact has led to him posing a big-play threat after contact. However, he’s not all power and no finesse. Mangham has shown the ability to move well laterally to create yardage for himself.
Donovan Jennings, OT
Despite the lack of results last season, the offensive line had one of their best campaigns since 2017. A key component of that success was left tackle Donovan Jennings.
An experienced campaigner, Jennings already has over 40 appearances for USF. At 6’5″ and 327 pounds he boasts good size as an LT prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Playing with violent hands and good overall strength, Jennings has the mauler mentality that breeds success in the run game. Meanwhile, he’s demonstrated some technical ability in pass protection.
Brad Cecil, C
Another offensive lineman who could attract attention in the 2023 NFL Draft is center Brad Cecil. Like Jennings, Cecil’s experienced, having started 38 games at center.
Cecil has been the foundation of USF’s rushing success, utilizing his impressive athletic capability to extend plays at the second level. Meanwhile, his high school wrestling experience enables him to win the leverage battle at the point of attack where he also demonstrates great strength from his 6’4″, 302-pound frame. High football IQ and leadership round out a desirable skill set.
Antonio Grier, LB
The return of Antonio Grier is hugely important to USF’s chances of a return to winning ways. The fifth-year senior linebacker led the team in tackles (92), tackles for loss (8), sacks (3.0), interceptions (2), and forced fumbles (2). Long story short; Grier is a force in all phases of defense.
He possesses impressive sideline-to-sideline range, has the fluidity to drop back into coverage, and showcases good hands and instincts in coverage. Flying downhill with good speed, Grier can also tackle with good technique and ferocity.
Xavier Weaver, WR
Following a breakout 2021 season, Xavier Weaver has positioned himself as one of USF’s top offensive prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft. The 6’1″, 170-pound pass catcher tallied 715 yards at 17.4 yards per catch last fall. He possesses impressive play speed and is a reliable pair of hands in contested-catch situations.
Adding value to his résumé, Weaver also has kick and punt-return experience during his time with the Bulls. The senior WR should be the go-to guy for either Timmy McClain or Gerry Bohanon this season.
Gerry Bohanon, QB
Speaking of Bohanon, could USF have a QB prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft?! Their only other drafted QB was B.J. Daniels in the 2013 class. The 6’3, 221-pound dual-threat heads to the Bulls after slinging for 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first season as the starter for Baylor.
Bohanon showcases a strong arm, impressive presence and footwork in the pocket, and has the ability to make plays with his legs. If Bohanon wins the starting job and returns USF to relevance in the AAC, then he might attract some attention next April.
Vincent Davis, S
Back to the defensive side of the ball, Vincent Davis is a highly productive safety who has 2023 NFL Draft potential. The 5’11”, 180-pound prospect might be considered undersized, but he hits with more ferocity than some players substantially bigger than him.
Davis earned the nickname “Smoke” from his teammates due to his impressive play speed. While he’s a smaller safety, Davis does have good length, which he uses in multiple ways. Furthermore, he possesses translatable special-teams experience.
Daquan Evans, CB
Senior cornerback Daquan Evans tied the team lead with three pass breakups for USF last fall. He was also one of the Bulls’ leading tacklers. However, it was the first campaign of Evans’ career where he didn’t tally an interception, having racked up three in the 2020 season.
At 5’11” and 185 pounds, Evans is not the tallest cornerback, but he does have good length. Meanwhile, he showcases the ability to click and close rapidly in coverage while not being afraid to be physical. Evans also flashes good play recognition at times.
Tramel Logan, DL
There wasn’t much to be excited about up front for the defense last season, but junior defensive lineman Tramel Logan has promise. According to reports, Logan impressed during spring training and could be primed for a breakout season.
The 6’2″, 230-pound EDGE has showcased an impressive speed rush and the ability to lay a big hit when he gets into the backfield. Meanwhile, Logan’s been able to impact passing lanes so far during his college career.
Dwayne Boyles, LB
A 6’3″, 227-pound do-it-all playmaker for USF, Dwayne Boyles could attract attention in the 2023 NFL Draft. Last season, Boyles tallied 67 tackles (4.5 for loss) while adding two interceptions and two forced fumbles to his résumé.
Boyles has some exciting athletic attributes, like the speed to be a force around the edge and the physicality to bring a man to his knees. However, the most impressive element of his game is the football IQ and play diagnosis he uses to be a versatile threat in the front seven.