TAMPA – First-year South Florida Head Coach Willie Taggart has announced the depth chart and team captains as the Bulls prepare for their season opening match-up vs. McNeese State that kicks off Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in Raymond James Stadium. Highlighting the depth chart was the selection of sophomore Matt Floyd (Milton) as USF’s starting quarterback for Saturday. Floyd was also among three team captains selected by a vote of USF players.
“He won the job in our eyes as a staff,” Taggart said of Floyd who saw action in seven games in 2012. “He was the best quarterback for us going into the opener. All of the quarterbacks can give us a chance to win, but Matt probably made more plays and was more consistent through preseason camp.”
Junior kicker Marvin Kloss (Naples) also emerged from a very close competition at place kicker to earn the starting job and was named the captain of the special teams unit. Senior preseason Butkus Award and Bednarik Award candidate DeDe Lattimore (Athens, Ga.) was named the defensive captain.
“ The three guys picked will do a great job,” Taggart said. “I like the way we pick our captains. We let the players pick them. They are around each other all the time and have a great sense for that. We are going to need those guys, and I think they are up for the challenge.”
The Bulls’ season-opening depth chart features eight returners among the defensive two-deep that started at least four games last season, including four players on the defensive line. Five upperclassmen fill the two-deep on the defensive line and four in the secondary. Five players in the offensive two-deep started three or more games last year and six upperclassmen fill the two-deep along the offensive line.
Floyd made two starts during the 2012 season, his first on the field for the Bulls. He completed 57-of-110 passes for 466 yards with no touchdowns and five interceptions on the year. A double major in political science and international studies and very active on the USF campus, Floyd earned his first career start in a loss to Cincinnati. He posted career highs with 21 completions, 39 pass attempts and 176 yards passing vs. the Bearcats. The 2012 Academic All-Big East selection also threw for 175 yards while completing 20-of-35 passes at Miami. A three-year starter at Milton High School, he logged 4,988 yards, 37 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns on his prep career.
Kloss has been effective in handling kickoff duties for the Bulls the last two seasons as he worked behind Maikon Bonani who graduated as USF’s career leader in field goals (69), attempts (91) and percentage (75.8%) last year. Kloss, an economics major, was ranked as the No. 7 kicker in the nation by ESPN.com out of high school.
Lattimore is the Bulls’ top returning tackler from 2012 having posted 76 stops to go with 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. Lattimore has started all but one game over the past three seasons. The criminology major led the Bulls with 94 tackles in 2011 and brings 239 career tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 13 sacks into his senior campaign.
USF opens the Willie Taggart era Saturday with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff vs. McNeese State in Raymond James Stadium.