As a former standout for the University of South Florida, Mazzi Wilkins has played home games at Raymond James Stadium before. As of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' last roster move, he may see his first action at that venue as an NFL player.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers promoted Wilkins from the practice squad to their active roster. Wilkins had spent the first 10 weeks of the season on the practice squad after going to training camp with his hometown team. Prior to going to USF, Wilkins also played his prep ball at nearby Plant High School in Tampa.
The Buccaneers did not need to clear a spot on the 53-man roster after waiving cornerback Vernon Hargreaves on Tuesday. They did, however, use the practice squad resulting from Wilkins' promotion to add a little more depth to the cornerback position, signing first-year player John Franklin, who was most recently with the Chicago Bears in training camp this summer. Depth at the position could be an issue depending upon the injury status of second-year players Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart; Davis has missed the last two games with a hip injury and Stewart left last Sunday's game early due to injury.
Wilkins played four seasons at USF, appearing in 47 games with 22 starts and recording 110 tackles, three interceptions and 22 passes defensed. He had all three of his picks and 12 passes defensed as a junior in 2017. Wilkins signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent shortly before the start of training camp and played in all four preseason games, contributing four tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
Franklin had two separate stints on the Bears' practice squad as a rookie and then re-signed with the team in 2019 before eventually being waived in the final roster cuts in September. He finished his college career at Florida Atlantic in 2017-18 as a graduate transfer from Auburn and also spent time at Florida State and East Mississippi Community College. Franklin was also selected by the Dallas Renegades in the 2020 XFL draft last month.