For better or worse, there were several points throughout the 2014 season where South Florida’s most reliable source of points and good field position came from the efforts of their special teams. In moments where the offense couldn’t quite crack the end zone, Marvin Kloss could be relied on for an almost automatic three points. And when drives would stall, the leg of Mattias Ciabatti would pin opposing offenses deep into their own territory, giving the Bulls defense an opportunity to comfortably set up shop. With so many changes happening with other units heading into 2015, Raymond Woodie’s guys will once again have the opportunity to silently play a key factor in each USF contest.
As mentioned before, the biggest loss to the unit will be the departure of Marvin Kloss. Nicknamed “Money”, Kloss was the most consistent source of scoring for South Florida, leading the Bulls with 62 points in 2014. His 77.5% career field goal percentage goes down as the all-time best at USF and earned him the honors of being the 2013 Lou Groza award runner-up and a selection to the 2014 East-West Shrine Game. Replacing him as the Bulls’ go to kicker in 2015 is sophomore Emilio Nadelman. While at Miami Central High School, Nadelman was a three-time Dade County and two-time all-state kicker.
Returning at punter is the aforementioned graduate senior Ciabetti, who has high expectations entering the new campaign as an All-American candidate and a Ray Guy Watch List player. Last season, he set the USF record for yards per punt average at 44.4, which also led the AAC. Ciabetti also led the conference with twenty-two punts inside the twenty and eighteen punts that went 50+ yards. It is critical that the senior continues his conference leading accuracy to flip the field in order for Tom Allen’s defense to have room to executive effectively against opposing offenses.
During fall practice, the kick return team was dealt a huge blow with the loss of Hassan Childs for the entire season due to an ACL tear. In his place as the main kick/punt returners are receiver Rodney Adams and running back D’Ernest Johnson. Both return men will replace the production of the departed Chris Dunkley, who averaged 24 yards per return in 2014.