Atkins And Herring Lead 10 Bulls Picked to Athlon Sports Preseason All-AAC Teams


GOUSFBULLS.COM STORY- South Florida football standouts Sean Atkins (Viera) and Zane Herring (Madison) were named Athlon Sports Preseason All-AAC First Team selections, leading 10 Bulls named to All-AAC teams in the publication’s season preview magazine in stores now.

Following an impressive turnaround in the Bulls’ first season under head coach Alex Golesh, Athlon picked the Bulls as a conference contender, placing USF third behind Memphis and UTSA in its preseason predictions.

The magazine quotes an anonymous conference assistant coach as saying “Alex Golesh has done a tremendous job turning that place around…this looks like a premier G5 job again…South Florida has some real momentum.”

Byrum Brown (A. Boca Bowl)
Byrum Brown

Joining first-team selections Atkins and Herring were five USF second-team selections in quarterback Byrum Brown (Raleigh, N.C.), running back Nay’Quan Wright (Opa Locka), cornerback Aamaris Brown-Bunkley (Tampa), defensive tackle Rashad Cheney (Atlanta), and linebacker Jhalyn Shuler (Abbeville, S.C.). The Bulls also had a third-team selection in kicker John Cannon (Fort Lauderdale) and two fourth-team selections in center Mike Lofton (Clearwater) and offensive tackle Derek Bowman (Magnolia, Texas).

The full Athlon Sports Preseason All-AAC teams can be viewed HERE.

A senior wide receiver, Atkins is returning after a program record-breaking season in which he posted 92 receptions for 1,054 receiving yards, both new USF marks, and earned postseason All-ACC Second Team honors. Herring, a senior offensive guard and Florida State transfer, was a starter in 12 games in his first season with the Bulls last year and earned postseason All-AAC Honorable Mention honors.

Athlon named three USF games among the AAC’s “Games to Watch” in 2024: Sept. 28 at Tulane, Oct. 11 vs. Memphis and Nov. 1 at FAU.

USF returns 19 starters in 2024 (nine on offense, eight on defense, and two specialists) from a team that set 12 team and 16 individual program records while going 7-6 (a program-best six-game turnaround) and claiming a 45-0 Boca Raton Bowl victory over Syracuse in 2023.

The Bulls return record-setting starting quarterback Brown, 85 percent of their rushing yards, 84 percent of their receiving yards and four primary starters on the offensive line. On defense, USF returns nine of its top 11 tacklers led by Shuler, who logged a team-best 97 stops to go with 8.5 tackles for loss in 2023.

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The USF football program first took the field in 1997 and completed its 27th season in 2023 with a program-best six-game turnaround and Boca Raton Bowl victory under first-year head coach Alex Golesh. USF completed construction on a new $22 million Indoor Performance Facility in 2023 and a $340-million on-campus stadium and football operations center is slated for completion by 2027. The Bulls have posted 16 winning seasons, earned 16 All-America selections (including two consensus selections, the last coming in 2021), as well as 32 first-team all-conference honorees. USF has had 30 players selected in the NFL Draft and the Bulls have made 11 bowl game appearances (going 7-4), posting a program-record six straight appearances from 2005-2010 and making four straight bowl appearances from 2015-18. USF posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2016 and 2017, logging a program-record 11-2 mark in 2016, while finishing both seasons ranked in the Top 25. USF spent a program-record 20 straight weeks ranked in the Top 25 during the 2016 and 2017 campaigns and reached as high as No. 2 in the Associated Press rankings during the 2007 season.

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