Atkins Named a Preseason All-American, Nine Bulls Picked to Phil Steele Preseason All-AAC Teams


South Florida football record-setting wide receiver Sean Atkins (Viera), coming off the Bulls first 1,000-yard receiving season, was named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-American Fourth Team and was among nine Bulls named to the publications Preseason All-AAC teams.

2024 Phil Steele Preseason

Atkins is returning after a program record-breaking season in which he posted 92 receptions for 1,054 yards, both smashing USF season marks, and earned postseason All-ACC Second Team honors in 2023.

He is one of just six non-Power Four conference players named the Phil Steele’s Preseason All-American teams on offense. Atkins was also named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-AAC First Team, adding to his preseason first-team selection by Athlon Sports and second-team selection by Lindy’s Sports.

Phil Steele named four Bulls to his Preseason All-AAC Second Team with selections of quarterback Byrum Brown (Raleigh, N.C.), offensive guard Zane Herring (Madison), defensive tackle Rashad Cheney (Atlanta) and linebacker Jhalyn Shuler (Abbeville, S.C.).

Phil Steele also named four Bulls as fourth-team selections, including running back Nay’Quan Wright (Opa Locka), center Mike Lofton (Clearwater), wide receiver Naiem Simmons (Cherry Hill, N.J.) and safety Jaelen Stokes (Auburndale).

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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