USF Football’s 5 Most Intriguing Players Heading Into 2014

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USF Football's 5 Most Intriguing Players Heading Into 2014

USF Bulls
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

The second year is the breakthrough season for many college football coaches, and just as he did with Western Kentucky, coach Willie Taggart is looking to get things turned around sooner rather than later. The expectation of on field improvements also increased with the hiring of new Athletic Director Mark Harlan. These five players hold the key to getting that USF "bus" going in the right direction and keeping Taggart off the hot seat.

5. Chris Dunkley, Senior, WR

Chris Dunkley
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

5. Chris Dunkley, Senior, WR

Chris Dunkley
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

After transferring from the University of Florida, expectations were high for the Pahokee, FL star, but Chris Dunkley has yet to live up to the hype. Not only has he had issues off the field, he was arrested and suspended in 2012 for a domestic violence incident, but he only has 11 catches in two seasons for the Bulls. He has the talent, but will Dunkley ever step up and become a legitimate second receiver option for USF?

4. Darius Tice, Sophomore, RB

Darius Tice
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

4. Darius Tice, Sophomore, RB

Darius Tice
Kim Klement USA Today Sports

USF has many options in its search for a new starting RB for 2014, but none are as talented as Darius Tice. He combines the perfect blend of size and speed needed to become the primary running back in USF offense. But he may have missed an opportunity to seize the job from senior Michael Pierre by missing the spring game two weeks ago and could be facing an uphill battle going into fall camp.

3. Auggie Sanchez, Redshirt Freshman, MLB

Auggie Sanchez
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

3. Auggie Sanchez, Redshirt Freshman, MLB

Auggie Sanchez
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

As the "quarterback of the defense," the middle linebacker must be just as mentally strong as he is physically. According to defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, the former fullback has shown that he possesses both during spring practices and could be their new starter at MLB as the Bulls look to replace multiple contributors on the defensive side of the ball.

2. Quinton Flowers, Freshman, WR

Quinton Flowers
Kim Klement - USA Today Sprts

2. Quinton Flowers, Freshman, WR

Quinton Flowers
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

Despite not producing on the field, USF still was able to secure the AAC top recruiting class for 2014, and the gem was athlete Quinton Flowers of Miami. Some have compared him to another Florida native, Anquan Bolden, due to his toughness and versatility. Just like Bolden, Flowers is talented enough to play quarterback in college. So, don't be surprised to see him taking snaps from under center this fall if the offense continues to struggle.

1. Steven Bench, Junior, QB

Steven Bench
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

1. Steven Bench, Junior, QB

Steven Bench
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

The Penn State transfer had his ups and downs throughout the 2014 season, but if Bench's spring game performance (317 yards and three touchdowns) is any indication,he may be the one to finally stabilize the USF quarterback position. Too often USF lost games last season because the offense could not sustain drives. Bench playing well will impact the defense just as much as the offense and is directly correlated to more victories for the Bulls.