Brown-Bunkley & Herring Lead Seven Bulls Named to Lindy’s Preseason All-AAC Football Team

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 As South Florida football prepares to build on a strong first season under head coach Alex Golesh, the preseason magazines have begun hitting the shelves with rising expectations for the Bulls.

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Lindy’s Sports named seven Bulls to its preseason American All-Conference teams and tabbed USF a challenger for the conference title while placing the Bulls third in its preseason predictions behind Memphis and Tulane.

Zane Herring (A.23)
Zane Herring

Senior cornerback Aamaris Brown-Bunkley (Tampa), who posted 40 tackles, two interceptions and a 64-yard fumble return touchdown in 2023, and senior guard Zane Herring (Madison), a starter in 12 games in his first season with the Bulls last year, were named to the Preseason All-AAC First Team. Both earned postseason honorable mention All-AAC honors last year. Brown-Bunkley was also named by Lindy’s among the AAC’s “Top 10 NFL Talents.”

Meanwhile, five players earned Preseason All-AAC Second Team selection, including record-setting quarterback Byrum Brown (Raleigh, N.C.) and record-setting wide receiver Sean Atkins (Viera). They were joined by senior defensive tackle Rashad Cheney (Atlanta), senior linebacker Jhalyn Shuler (Abbeville, S.C.) and true freshman kicker Nico Gramatica (Tampa).

Brown, who set USF season marks for passing yards (3,292), touchdowns (26), completions (276), and completion percentage (64.6%) in his first season in Golesh’s offense, was named the AAC’s “Best Scrambler” after leading the Bulls with 809 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Atkins, who set USF season records with 92 receptions and 1,054 receiving yards last year, was named the AAC’s “Best Hands.”

Lindy’s surmised USF’s projected 2024 season saying “If Byrum Brown shows further development at QB, the Bulls will contend for the AAC title game” and “the well-balanced offense and potentially stronger defense give them the makings of a conference contender in 2024.”

Lindy’s pointed to Purdue transfer wide receiver Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen (Southfield, Mich.) as the Bulls’ top newcomer and named three USF games among the AAC’s “Big Games” in 2024: Sept. 7 at Alabama, Sept. 28 at Tulane and Oct. 11 vs. Memphis.

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 Byrum 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 linebacker Jhalyn Shuler, who logged a team-best 97 stops to go with 8.5 tackles for loss in 2023.

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ABOUT USF FOOTBALL
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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