As we inch toward the beginning of the Kalen DeBoer era in Tuscaloosa, we preview Alabama Football's opponents for the 2024-2025 regular season.

Last Meeting - September 16, 2023:

Alabama - 17

South Florida - 3

Looking to bounce back from their 34-24 loss at home to Texas the prior week, Alabama experienced one of the most frustrating Saturdays during the Saban era. Met with a torrential downpour in Tampa, the Alabama offense struggled to find momentum all afternoon, cycling between Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson at the quarterback position. The Tide eked out a 14-point win thanks to strong defense and a solid rushing attack spearheaded by Roydell Williams and Jase McClellan.

Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

Last Season

USF went 7-6 last season and 4-4 in the American Athletic Conference, ending the year with a 45-0 win over Syracuse in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Alex Golesh is entering his second season as the head coach of the USF Bulls. Golesh is an alum of Ohio State, entering his 21st year of coaching. Just one season after USF went 1-11, Golesh won seven games, leading USSF to a bowl game for the first time since 2018, and the first bowl win since 2017. USF is returning both its offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator from last season.


Last Season's Leaders

Passing: Byrum Brown - 3,292 yards, 26 TD, 11 INT.
Rushing: Byrum Brown - 809 yards, 11 TD.
Receiving: Sean Atkins - 1,054 yards, 7 TD.

South Florida passed the ball 43.5% of the time last season and ran the ball 56.5% of the time. Byrum Brown accounted for 94.2% of the team's passing yards as a redshirt freshman last season and will return for USF in 2024. Brown set records for USF in passing yards and passing touchdowns and was one of two players last season to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 800.

Brown started last season for USF in the game against Alabama, but neither team had good quarterback play in that game. Brown went 14/28 with 87 yards passing and one interception. He did his damage on the ground against Alabama, however, rushing for 92 yards. Dual-threat quarterbacks were a kryptonite in the armor of a Nick Saban defense but with the change in Alabama's coaching staff, what will Alabama look like defensively? Fans will have to figure it out quickly, with two big games within the first month of the season.

Sean Atkins was the leading wide receiver for South Florida last season with 92 catches for 1,054 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bulls also return their second-leading receiver from last season - Naiem Simmons - who had 39 catches for 637 yards and five touchdowns. Atkins is a graduate student while Simmons is a senior, so the Bulls will rely heavily on their top two targets to help out a still-growing quarterback.

The top running back from last season for USF is also returning. Nay'Quan Wright rushed for 797 yards and eight touchdowns a season ago. Wright is a graduate student and returns 4.4 yards per carry for the Bulls.


Thankfully for Alabama, Daquan Evans, who had three sacks and four tackles for loss in the Tide's narrow win last season, appears to be out of eligibility and will not play for USF against Alabama next season.

However, USF is returning its leading tackler from last season with graduate student linebacker Jhalyn Shuler. Shuler had 97 total tackles last season and added five pass breakups, two sacks, and one forced fumble. He was named All-AAC Fourth Team by Phil Steele and All-AAC Honorable Mention by coaches in the conference.

The top returning defensive back is Jaelen Stokes, who started 11 games last season for the Bulls. He totaled 61 tackles, two sacks, two picks, one pass breakup, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Additionally, USF is returning its second linebacker and top safety in DJ Gordon IV and Logan Berryhill. Gordon had 58 total tackles last season, adding three and a half sacks and two pass breakups as well. Berryhill had 56 total tackles, three picks, and two pass breakups.

USF will feature several veteran defenders to spearhead a defense led by a returning defensive coordinator.

For more Alabama Football content from Simon Besnoy, follow him on X/Twitter at @SimonBesnoy and stay tuned to for daily news.

Wyatt Fulton is the TIde 100.9 DME and Brand Manager, primarily covering Alabama Crimson Tide football and men's basketball. For more Crimson Tide coverage, follow Wyatt on X (Formerly known as Twitter) at @FultonW_.

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