Men's fall countdown: No. 24 South Florida
Next up on our men's 2014 fall countdown, No. 24 South Florida:
Editor's note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Lance Ringler, as he looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won't be available until a couple of the weeks into the fall season. Our staff of Andy Zunz, Cassie Stein and Brentley Romine are writing the individual profiles of the teams.
• • •
South Florida Bulls
Preseason rank: 24
Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 33
2013-14 in review: The Bulls played well in the regular season, with seven top fives in their first nine tournaments. But their momentum stopped short at the NCAA San Antonio (Texas) Regional, where they fell short of moving on to the NCAA Championship by 18 strokes. Freshman Rigel Fernandes and junior Trey Valentine showed promise behind standout Chase Koepka in a successful year.
Notable departures: Richard James
Key returnees: Junior Chase Koepka, sophomores Rigel Fernandes and Ryan Borg, and seniors Trey Valentine and Joseph Winslow
Newcomers of note: Freshman Claudio Correa, juniors Ryan Fricker (transfer, Bethune-Cookman) and Aksel Olsen (junior college)
Circled on the fall calendar: Gifford Collegiate, Nov. 2-5, CordeValle GC, San Martin, Calif.
Fall outlook: After head coach Chris Malloy left the program to take over at Ole Miss, USF hired former Mercer head coach Steven Bradley. Bradley, the 2014 Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year, has one of the top players in the American Athletic Conference and beyond in Chase Koepka and plenty of depth behind him. Fernandes and Valentine are proven talents, and Bradley expects big contributions out of newcomers Fricker and Olsen. The Bulls should be the class of their conference this season.
Coach's perspective: "We have a lot of eyeballs on us this year since we're hosting the national championship. My main expectations are that we're going to make the national championship, but realistically, I want us to get better and not settle for what we are and what we have accomplished in the past."