August 2009

You may as well pencil George Selvie in as a starter at one end position.  However, the end spot opposite Selvie remains an open competition, one that might just come down to the last day of practice.

“It’s really close,”  said USF coach Jim Leavitt.  “(David) Bedford is having a good camp.  (Craig) Marshall has done some good things.  You got (Patrick) Hampton…It’s hard.”

David Bedford, Craig Marshall, Ryne Giddins, Julius Forte, Patrick Hampton, and Aaron Harris have all played well in practice, Leavitt said.

Harris started 12 games last year as a junior, but Leavitt said he is “not necessarily” a starter because of experience.

Leavitt said Harris, Selvie, and Craig Marshall can rotate to tackle if need be.

-Phil Neary


True freshman receiver Sterling Griffin has impressed so much in practice that USF coach Jim Leavitt when as far as to say he is “one of the best freshman receivers we’ve had come in here.”

And Griffin hasn’t even played a game at the collegiate level.

“He hasn’t played a game yet.  You always want to be careful,” Leavitt said.  “You have to do it in games, but so far he’s done really well.  It’s hard to come in here and do what he’s done as a freshman.”

Griffin, from Miami Monsignor Pace High School in Opa Locka, was rated the 70th best wide receiver prospect by ESPN coming out of high school.  Griffin chose USF over Pittsburgh, Mississippi, Purdue, and Kansas State.

Leavitt said his young receiver’s work ethic has stood out the most.

“It’s his mentality, his focus.  He works hard,” Leavitt said.  “He’s clearly a starter at receiver.”

-Phil Neary

Freshman ends Ryne Giddins and Julius Forte, and freshman runningback Bradley Battles have been cleared to play this season by the NCAA, USF coach Jim Leavitt said on Thursday.

It was uncertain whether or not each would be eligible to play this year because of academics. 

Giddins, a stud recruit from Armwood, is expected to compete for playing time at end, as is Forte.

Freshman tight end Isaac Virgin was cleared earlier this week.

-Phil Neary

USF basketball guard Mike Mercer, who was dismissed from the team in January due to legal issues, was reinstated by USF coach Stan Heath after fulfilling obligations of a pretrial intervention program stemming from his arrest for possession of marijuana in January, the St. Petersburg Times reported Saturday.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity Coach Heath has given me to rejoin the team,” Mercer said in a statement.  “I apologize again to my teammates, my coaches, and the USF community for my poor decisions last year.”

Mercer, a senior, averaged 8.5 points per game in four games last year.

-Phil Neary

Bulls junior RB Jamar Taylor will be sidelined for 8-10 weeks after injuring his knee in a scrimmage on Saturday, the school announced Tuesday.

Originally feared to be an injury involving the medial collateral ligament, USF coach Jim Leavitt described it as a knee sprain. 

Taylor won’t need surgery.

-Phil Neary

Coach Jim Leavitt said he’s getting closer to determining his team’s two-deep for the upcoming season.  He said he’ll know a whole lot more after the team’s scrimmages on Wednesday and Saturday.

“We’ve got a lot done in 15 practices,” he said.  “We’re getting closer to our two-deep and who we think we’ll take into the season.”

Leavitt scratched Wednesday morning’s scheduled practice in hopes of resting the team for Wednesday evening’s scrimmage.  The team will have another scrimmage on Saturday.

-Phil Neary

USF junior RB Mike Ford has been suspended by the team for the first two games of the 2009 season due to a violation of team rules, according to USF coach Jim Leavitt.

This news comes just two days after junior RB Jamar Taylor suffered a knee injury during a scrimmage.  There is no update on Taylor’s status as of now.

USF opens the season against Wofford on Sept. 5 and travels to Kentucky to take on Western Kentucky on Sept. 12. 

Ford ran for 407 yards on 102 carries last year.

-Phil Neary

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