When the South Florida Bulls took the field at the Vero Beach Sports Village for Sunday’s practice, two players were conspicuous in their absence. One of them was running back Dontae Aycock, who transferred from Auburn last year and was available to play this fall after sitting out his NCAA-mandated transfer season. After practice, coach Skip Holtz broke the news that Aycock had decided to leave the team.
According to Holtz, and as reported by the St. Petersburg Times’ Greg Auman, Aycock was struggling with his weight this summer. There was brief alarm when Aycock had apparently showed up to camp weighing 253 pounds. It turned out to be a typo, but even at his correct weight of 233 pounds, he was still a bit overweight for his 5’10" frame, and rumor was that it was showing up in practice. Holtz also said Dontae “wasn’t sure his heart was in playing football.”
While it’s disappointing to see a highly-touted player not live up to the expectations, the impact to the USF depth chart doesn’t appear too serious. Aycock was in a three-man competition with Marcus Shaw and Bradley Battles for the third running back spot behind Demetris Murray and Darrell Scott. It’s unclear whether the coaches would be willing to include more than three in their rotation plans. (Last year, only Moise Plancher and Murray saw action unless the game was out of hand.) Even if Aycock had stuck around, there was no guarantee he would see significant action this season.
The other missing player was redshirt freshman defensive end Brandon Wilkinson, who was in an uphill battle to stay in the picture at his position. Rather than waiting his turn to play, Auman reports Wilkinson will transfer to an FCS school or junior college to look for more immediate playing time.