Standout Performers From USF’s Green & Gold Spring Game

Without Mack And Adams USF Showed They Aren’t Lacking Talent

On Saturday afternoon the University of South Florida held their Green & Gold spring game at Corbett Stadium and fans crowded the area to get a first glimpse of the new Charlie Strong era.

Without NFL prospects Rodney Adams and Marlon Mack many wanted to see what the offense would look like. The spring game proved USF is still stacked with talent and coach Strong was very pleased with the skills he saw in the scrimmage game.

“We divided it up, so it was kind of even on both sides and we just let it be competitive,” said Strong.

College Football Performance Awards Performer of the Year, Quinton Flowers played one series for both teams. In his limited action Flowers put the White team ahead with a 24-yeard touchdown to Deangelo Antoine. With Flowers taking the sidelines to step into a leadership role, sophomore QB Brett Kean and redshirt freshman QB Chris Oladokun got to shine.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Senior Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a spectacular game catching the eyes of many USF fans. The wide receiver out of St. Petersburg brought in two touchdown catches while hauling in seven catches for 123 yards. His 51-yard touchdown catch put the Green ahead to win the game.

“Brett threw it up and said go make a play and that’s what I did,” said Valdes Scantling.

Valdes-Scantling started all 13 games in his breakout debut season with the Bulls in 2016 after transferring to USF from NC State. The 6’5″ receiver has the ability to go up over defenders to make big plays

With Adams gone Valdes-Scantling proved he can be Flowers’ go to guy while also being a leader to a lot of the younger receivers on the team.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys, pretty much a lot of them don’t have a lot of game experience so a lot of them came in and showed what they can do.”

Chris Oladokun

Redshirt freshman Chris Oladokun stepped in behind Flowers to show the coaching staff just what he’s got. The Sickles High School graduate threw for 176 yards and one touchdown. He completed 10 passes on 19 attempts with a long 76 yard pass to Darnell Salomon to extend the White team’s lead.

“Me and Darnell came in here together so we’ve started to develop a real good relationship on and off the field,” said Oladokun. “Once I saw him get past Mike Hampton I knew it was a big play.”

Oladokun, who is battling third-year sophomore Kean for the backup spot, threw for 1,390 yards and 15 touchdowns with only three interceptions as a senior at Sickles.

In the spring game the dual-threat quarterback didn’t have much success on the ground running, but he felt that was because the refs were instructed to blow the whistle once touched.

“I wish we had a little more freedom just because I can run the ball in open space,” Oladokun said. “I feel like I could’ve made a couple more yards and a couple more extra plays. But I understand they don’t want us to get hit and are trying to protect us and make us go through our progressions.”

Elijah Mack And Darius Tice Led The Run Game

It was a great day for redshirt freshman Elijah Mack, who ran for 60 yards on 14 carries. The young running back out of Punta Gorda had a long 25-yard run and showed running backs coach Shaun King just what he could do under pressure.

Photo: USF Athletics

Mack will step in to help fill the void of losing Marlon Mack to the NFL Draft. He will have senior Darius Tice at his side to help him along the way. Tice ran for over 40 yards on just his first three carries to end the day with 59 total rushing yards on seven touches.

Davion Sutton also had a decent day with 27 yards on six carries and a long 19-yard run. Noticeably absent from play was senior running back D’Ernest Johnson, who is expected to lead the USF run game this year.

“I didn’t need to see D’Ernest, I’ve seen enough of him,” said Strong. “We know how good of a player he is.”

The Defense Showed Progress

With two quarterbacks fighting for a backup spot there were many bombs thrown, yet the defense didn’t seem to give up a lot of yards after catch. Junior safety Jaymon Thomas came up with a pick off Kean and had six tackles including one for a loss.

The defense held both offenses to just four total third down conversions and one fourth down conversion.

Early in the game Devin Abraham picked Flowers before he was pulled from the game.

“Overall very pleased, defensively we’re going to apply more pressure,” said Strong.

Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.