The next installment of my “Welcome Aboard” series is about a guy that joined the team late last season but only saw limited game action. Wide receiver Josh Huff didn’t make much of an impact on the offense or special teams in the few games he played in 2016, but the Bucs are hoping he can add more to at both receiver and kick returner this year.
Huff was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He attended Nimitz High School where he played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and cornerback for the football team and ran track where he posted a 10.86 in the 100 meters. In his senior season, Huff posted nearly 2,000 yards of offense after rushing for 1,147 yards and 11 touchdowns and throwing for another 856 yards.
He then went on to play football at Oregon from 2010-13 where he caught 144 passes for 2,366 yards and 24 touchdowns over his four-year career. He set a new single-season record for receiving yards in his senior year after putting up 1,140 yards, the previous record being 1,123 yards set in 1970. He was also voted as an honorable mention All-Pac 12 in both his junior and senior seasons.
Huff was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round, #86 overall, of the 2014 NFL Draft reuniting him with his college coach Chip Kelly. He showed promise as a rookie special teamer with a 107-yard kickoff return against the Tennessee Titans, the longest play in Philly franchise history. In his nearly 3 seasons with the Eagles, he was never utilized much as a receiver totaling only 41 catches for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns. However, he did produce 891 yards and 2 touchdowns on 31 career kickoff returns for an average of nearly 29 yards per attempt. On November 1, 2016, he was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm in his vehicle during a traffic stop (he has since pled guilty to the charges in exchange for 6-months probation) and he was released by the Eagles two days later.
Four days after his release, on November 7th, he was signed to the Bucs practice squad then promoted to the active roster on December 6th after a string of wide receiver injuries. He was quite unimpressive in his few games as a Buc with only 3 catches for 41 yards as a receiver and 6 kickoff returns for 72 yards on special teams. Combine those with two very ill-timed goal line kickoff muffs which led to a safety and touchdown for the Saints, and the team quickly lost faith in him as a returner last season.
Huff was in Houston with Jameis Winston and a large part of the receiving corps working out over the offseason. Hopefully this year, he can return to the kind of receiver that he was in Oregon and the kind of return man that he was in Philadelphia. From the looks of OTA’s so far, the Bucs first four receiver positions are solidified with Evans, Jackson, Humphries and Godwin. Huff is going to have a ton of competition in training camp for one of the final two receiver positions as the team will likely only be keeping six on the active roster. That means that Huff, along with Derel Walker, Donteea Dye, Bernard Reedy, Freddie Martino, BoBo Wilson and Thomas Sperbeck will all be fighting it out for two spots and that should be a fun battle to watch this summer. Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!