Bender's 2014 Breakout Performer: Sean Price

Bender's 2014 Breakout Performer: Sean Price

There were several players that caught my attention throughout South Florida's 15 spring practices over the past month. On the offensive side of the ball, former Under Armour All-American and Citra (Fla.) North Marion tight end, Sean Price, is my selection for the Bulls' offensive player who'll make a big jump in 2014.

When I first came aboard last August, one player I was quite familiar with on the Bulls' roster was Sean Price, who was rated a four-star prospect and the No. 7 tight end in the country when he signed with South Florida out of Citra (Fla.) North Marion High School in 2012.

The former Under Armour All-American arrived under Skip Holtz with a lot of expectations from the Bulls' faithful. In his first two seasons in Tampa Bay, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Price caught 21 passes for 394 yards and a touchdown.

As a sophomore in 2013, Price admits that he carried a little bit more weight than he's used to, which made an impact on his effectiveness in the passing game.

"I definitely took last season as a learning season," Price said earlier this spring. "I was quite disappointed with myself with my performance and the way I let myself go.

"I was 255 (pounds) last year and I'm 244 this year. I feel a lot more explosive and a lot more faster."

Senior tight end, Michael McFarland, has gained significant mass and was impressive throughout the spring as well, but Price was a matchup problem for the Bulls' defense.

Price showed reliable hands all spring and looked very smooth when going in-and-out of his breaks. When Price had to adjust to a poorly thrown ball, he always came up with the big grab to move the chains.

His blocking has improved and his conditioning looks great as well. He's been on the receiving end of 40-yard seam routes, as well sitting in zone coverage's for 10-yard gains to keep the chains moving.

He's been a primary target for Mike White and Steven Bench, and looks poised to have a breakout junior campaign. The Bulls might have the best tight end duo in the American Athletic Conference, but can they showcase their abilities for four quarters in all 12 games this fall? Time will tell.

Second year head coach, Willie Taggart, expects a big jump from Price as well.

"I expect him to make a huge jump," Taggart said during spring football. "He's been really good with our offense because we play him in a lot of different positions. He's playing a lot of different things for us.

"He's learning it and he's been very effective. I'm really excited with Sean's progress he's making. With him losing weight and the better understanding of our offense, we're starting to get the results that we all felt we could get from Sean Price."

I expect the rising junior to make a significant jump this fall and double his 185 yards from 2013. Price is very skilled and is too athletic and skilled in the passing game for most linebackers.

He was impressive all spring and you can expect the PA announcer to call Price's name quite often on Saturday's this fall. Recommended Stories