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  1. No. 21/20 Bulls’ Undefeated Run Ends in Houston HOUSTON, OCT. 27, 2018 – Freshman Johnny Ford registered his second straight 100-yard rushing game as No. 21/20 USF's undefeated run came to an end with a 57-36 loss at Houston on Saturday.USF (7-1, 3-1 in AAC) entered the weekend as one of five remaining unbeaten FBS teams and fell for the first time since Nov. 24, 2017.Ford (Miami) rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to help the Bulls run for at least 200 yards for the sixth time this season. Ford found the end zone twice during USF's 21-point second quarter that started with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan Cronkrite (Miami). Seeking his sixth straight 100-yard game, Cronkrite finished with 73 rushing yards and needs 67 more yards to post USF's ninth 1,000 yard season.Quarterback Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) completed 26 of 39 passes for 263 yards. Barnett's 39-yard touchdown pass to Deangelo Antoine (Orlando) made it a one-score game late in the third quarter, but the Bulls couldn't put together their fourth double-digit fourth quarter comeback of the season.Two of the nation's top offenses took turns making plays during Saturday's first half that saw Houston (7-1, 4-0 in AAC) take a 28-21 lead and USF rush for 176 yards. The Bulls scored 21 points in the second quarter with two touchdown runs by Ford in the period.Scoring on its first two possessions, Houston jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes before USF tied things up with two touchdowns 13 seconds apart in the second quarter.The Bulls cut their deficit in half with a 15-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Cronkrite's 1-yard run with 10:33 left in the half. Just two plays later, Ford sprinted to the end zone on a 32-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 14-14. The score was set-up by redshirt freshman safety Mekhi LaPointe's first-career interception.USF tied things back up at 21-21 after Antoine's backside block helped Ford zoom around the Houston defense on a 17-yard touchdown run with 3:50 remaining in the half. Ford was well on his way to his second straight 100-yard rushing game with 85 yards on 10 carries in the first two quarters.Key plays on defense and special teams helped the Bulls pull within two points of Houston in the first five minutes of the third quarter.After Trent Schneider's 62-yard punt to the Houston 1, defensive pressure in the end zone led to a safety on an intentional grounding call. Bentlee Sanders' 41-yard return on the ensuing kick helped set up a 23-yard field goal by Coby Weiss(Gainesville, Fla.) with 10:47 to go in the third quarter.Trailing 43-29, USF got back within a score of Houston on Barnett's 39-yard touchdown pass to Antoine with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.USF couldn't manage to mount its fourth double-digit, fourth quarter comeback of the season despite finishing with at least 30 points for the 32nd time in the past 36 games dating back to 2015.Greg Reaves (Bradenton, Fla.) led USF defensively with a career-high 12 tackles in his second straight start at middle linebacker. Senior linebacker Khalid McGee (Miami) finished with 11 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack in his third double-digit tackle effort of the season.QuotableHead coach Charlie Strong's thoughts on Saturday's game:"We just didn't play well and we didn't tackle, giving up touchdown throws. You just can't play like that and go win in an environment like this."Key Stats684 yards – Houston's yardage total after entering the game ranking third nationally in total offense (555.3 ypg).14-0 – Houston scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter after USF cut its deficit to 43-36 late in the third.13-for-18– Houston converted 13 of 18 third-down attempts.Notables USF was looking to extend the program's best-ever start to a season. The Bulls started the past two seasons at 7-0 and entered Saturday's game as one of only five remaining FBS teams. USF is now 35-7 (83.3 %) over its past 42 games. USF entered Saturday tied with Oklahoma (35-6) and Ohio State and bettered only by Alabama and Clemson for the best record in a team's past 41 games. USF has scored at least 20 points in 38 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. USF has scored at least 30 points 32 of its past 36 games dating back to the 2015 season. Up NextUSF returns to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3 to host Tulane. The Bulls' Salute to Service game is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com.
  2. USF Women’s Basketball Announces AAC Schedule September 20, 2018 TAMPA, Fla. Sept. 20, 2018 – USF women's basketball announced its complete American Athletic Conference slate, rounding out the 2018-19 schedule following the release of the composite schedule from the conference on Thursday afternoon. The Bulls will be featured on national television in nine of its 18 conference contests through the league's partnership with ESPN and CBS Sports Network, including a Sunday afternoon contest against UCONN on Jan. 13, 2019. Rest of story
  3. USF Announces AAC Basketball Schedule September 19, 2018 TAMPA, SEPT. 19, 2018 – Second-year head coach Brian Gregory and the USF men's basketball team finalized the 2018-19 schedule on Wednesday with the announcement of an 18-game American Athletic Conference schedule. The Bulls will be featured on national television in all 18 games during conference play through the league's partnership with ESPN and CBS Sports Network. Rest of story
  4. 3-0 Bulls Erase 12-Point Fourth Quarter Deficit to Defeat Illinois CHICAGO, SEPT. 15, 2018 – USF (3-0) erased a 12-point fourth quarter deficit with 18 unanswered points and extended its winning streak against Power Five foes to five straight with a 25-19 victory over Illinois at Soldier Field on Saturday.Darnell Salomon (Miami) completed the comeback with a 50-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) with 2:24 remaining after starting the fourth quarter with a 14-yard touchdown reception. USF's defense came up huge with three sacks on the final drive of the game and didn't allow a touchdown for the final 55 minutes, 6 seconds.Barnett threw both his touchdown passes to Salomon in the fourth quarter, completing 23 of 40 attempts for 411 yards, good for the second-best performance in the USF single-game record book. Salomon finished with five catches for 95 yards as the Bulls came from behind in the fourth quarter for the second straight week.Defensively, linebackers Khalid McGee (Miami) and Nico Sawtelle (Jensen Beach, Fla.) had career-high tackle days with 14 and 13 stops, respectively. Ronnie Hoggins (Coconut Creek, Fla.) added 11 tackles while Kevin Kegler (Madison, Fla.) finished with a career-high 1.5 sacks.Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) set a new USF game record for a tight end with eight catches for 109 yards, both career highs. Barnett also completed six passes to Randall St. Felix (Miami), who finished his second 100-yard game with 120 receiving yards and hauled in a career long 55-yard catch in the fourth quarter.Jordan Cronkrite (Miami) rushed for a career-high 136 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries to help the Bulls register their fourth 600-plus yard outing under offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert. The Bulls finished with 626 yards, outgaining Illinois, which finished with 380, by 246 yards on the day.USF faced its first halftime deficit this season despite leading Illinois in offensive yards by a 267-231 margin in the first two quarters.Illinois (2-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead just over four minutes into the first quarter. USF bounced right back with Cronkrite's first touchdown run as a Bull from 3 yards out that capped off an 11-play, 75-yard drive in 3:02. The sequence was kept alive by a gutsy 7-yard reception by Wilcox on fourth-and-5 from the Illinois 26.USF trailed, 16-7, at the break after preventing more points with a clutch takeaway on defense. Down, 13-7, in the second quarter, senior cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (Tampa) recovered an Illinois fumble at the USF 31 with 5:26 to go before halftime. McGee had a standout first half with nine tackles (seven solo).USF cut into its 12-point fourth quarter deficit with Barnett's 14-yard touchdown pass to Salomon on the first play of the period. Wilcox posted four catches for 53 yards on the 11-play, 75-yard drive.Coby Weiss' 26-yard field goal made it a two-point game with 7:47 remaining. The score was set up by a leaping, career long 55-yard catch by St. Felix down to the Illinois 12.USF's defense forced a punt with 3:47 left to give coordinator Gilbert's offense a chance at a go-ahead score. USF needed just 1:17 to grab its first lead, capping off a six-play, 85-yard drive with Barnett's 50-yard touchdown pass to Salomon. Barnett increased the lead to 25-19 with a two-point conversion pass to St. Felix.Sacks by Kirk Livingstone (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Kegler and Tyrone Barber (Venice, Fla.) helped stall the final Illinois drive that ended with an incomplete pass in the end zone with no time remaining.Key Stats411 – In just his third USF game, Blake Barnett threw for 411 yards, good for second in the USF single-game record books.18 – USF scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally back from a 12-point deficit.8 – The number of catches by Mitchell Wilcox, who set a new USF game record for a tight ends on the way to a career-high 109 receiving yards.5 – The Bulls registered five sacks, including three on the final drive.5 – The number of consecutive victories by USF over Power Five foes.QuotableHead coach Charlie Strong's thoughts on USF's comeback victory:"We're a better football team than what we showed today, but we come out with a win. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you win the game.""We have a bunch of talent. You look at us on offense, Mitch had eight catches. St. Felix had five and he had the really big one down there. (Salomon) had two touchdowns and Cronkrite rushed for 136, so you've got enough weapons. It's all about just getting the ball and making the plays."Notables USF won its fifth straight game against a Power Five opponent and improved to 2-0 in its all-time series with Illinois. USF has won seven of its past eight games against P5 teams, including a pair of bowl victories. USF has gone 24-4 since the start of 2016 and 11-1 in non-conference games during the span. The Bulls are in the midst of the program's most successful era (32-9 since 2015, 31-6 in past 37 games). The Bulls totaled 626 yards and passed the 600-yard mark for the fourth time under offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert. It marked USF's 12th straight game posting at least 400 yards. Blake Barnett threw for a career-high 411 passing yards, which rank second on the USF single-game chart behind Quinton Flowers' 503 yards against UCF on Nov. 24, 2017. Up NextThe Bulls are back at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22 for a conference clash with East Carolina. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNews. Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com.
  5. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Web Link: https://bit.ly/2oSHNaG Bulls Win Blackbird Invitational with Straight-Sets Defeat of Holy Cross USF off to its best start since 1996 BROOKLYN, N.Y., SEPTEMBER 8, 2018 – The USF volleyball team put it all together on Saturday morning with its first straight-sets victory of the year, defeating Holy Cross to go a perfect 3-0 at this weekend’s Blackbird Invitational, hosted by LIU Brooklyn. The Bulls (8-1) and Crusaders (1-9) were in a battle in the opening set, as consecutive kills from redshirt senior middle blocker Clara Payne (Osteen, Fla.) and junior outside hitter Jac’cara Walker (Gainesville, Fla.) tilted the score to 25-23. USF owned the second set, 25-14, then faced a 8-4 deficit in the third set. The Bulls turned things around and eventually grabbed a 14-8 lead in the set, never looking back. Walker led the way with 11 kills. Senior setter Briana Stowell (Orlando) had her second double-double of the weekend with 32 assists and 10 digs. She also added three more aces and totaled seven at the tournament. Quotables Head coach Courtney Draper talking about the 3-0 weekend: "I’m really proud of the team effort this weekend. Everyone has a silent confidence about them right now and going 3-0 this weekend feels great. Our opponents continue to challenge us in difference ways, yet this team keeps rising to the occasion.” Notables The 8-1 start to the year is the best for the program since 1996. USF began that season 11-1 before suffering its second loss. Payne led USF with 36 kills in Brooklyn, swinging .357. Sophomore middle blocker Jaeden Brown (Hollywood, Fla.) had 31 kills and 20 total blocks at Blackbird Invitational. She recorded seven in each of the final two matches. Stowell had 115 assists and 31 digs at the tournament. Walker had 28 kills and 23 digs in the three matches. Key Stats 98 – Head coach Courtney Draper sits at career 98 wins at USF. 1 – The Bulls are one of just two teams in The American with only one loss. Houston is 9-1, followed by Cincinnati with a 7-2 record. Up Next The Bulls return home for the final tournament of the year, as they host the Tiger Classic Sept. 14-15. USF will face North Dakota, UNC Charlotte and the University of New Orleans.
  6. Bulls Erase 10-Point Fourth-Quarter Deficit to Down Georgia Tech September 08, 2018 TAMPA, SEPT. 8, 2018 – USF used a 21-point outburst to rally back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to post a 49-38 victory over ACC foe Georgia Tech Saturday before a nationally televised crowd of 34,182 at Raymond James Stadium.Quarterback Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) led the comeback with two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns and used his feet to produce the go-ahead score from 19 yards out with 5:08 to play. Barnett helped seal the victory with a 5-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining and his second straight four-score game included a pair of touchdown passes.USF (2-0) secured its fourth straight victory over a Power Five conference foe after freshman Terrence Horne (Miramar, Fla.) tied an NCAA game record and set new USF and American Athletic Conference marks with two kickoff returns for touchdowns on consecutive returns of 98 and 97 yards. Horne set a new USF game record with 264 kickoff return yards. He added his third touchdown of the day when his 3-yard touchdown reception ignited the Bulls' rally early in the fourth quarter.Linebacker Nico Sawtelle (Jensen Beach, Fla.) also played a pivotal role in the comeback, recovering a fumble at the USF 12 with the Bulls trailing, 38-35, and intercepting a pass late in the game to protect a 42-38 lead.USF headed into halftime of its first-ever game against Georgia Tech (1-1) with a 21-17 advantage after two huge special teams plays and the first touchdown toss of the day by Barnett.Horne's highlight-reel performance began with consecutive kickoff returns for touchdowns in the first quarter. His 98-yarder helped give the Bulls a 7-3 lead and was the third-longest in program history. Horne followed that up with a 97-yarder, which gave him the new USF game record for kickoff return yards and tied him for tops on the USF season and career charts with two scores.USF took a 21-17 lead less than five minutes into the second quarter with an 18-yard scoring catch by Darnell Salomon (Miami), Barnett's fourth of five different touchdown targets already this season.Georgia Tech took the lead back on the opening drive of the second half after a 69-yard drive and USF answered right back with a 74-yard drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by Duran Bell Jr. (Tampa) near the midpoint of the third quarter.Down, 38-28, early in the fourth quarter, USF cut into its deficit with Horne's third score, a 3-yard touchdown catch with 12:11 to play. Sawtelle recovered a fumble on the next drive at the USF 12 and the Bulls cashed in on their second takeaway of the game.Barnett capped off a 10-play, 88-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run that helped give USF a 42-38 lead with 5:08 remaining. USF's defense prevented a Georgia Tech comeback attempt with Sawtelle's interception inside Yellow Jackets territory. Barnett's 5-yard touchdown run put the game away with 2:56 remaining.USF's offense finished with 426 total yards, its 11th straight 400-plus yard outing, while Barnett completed 21 of 31 passes for 202 yards. Tyre McCants (Niceville, Fla.) posted a career-high 10 catches for 99 yards. Defensively, Ronnie Hoggins (Coconut Creek, Fla.) led the way with 10 tackles.Key Stats264 – The kick return yards total by Terrence Horne Jr.21 – The amount of unanswered points by USF in the fourth quarter.4 – The number of consecutive victories USF has totaled against Power Five opponents.4 – Touchdowns produced by quarterback Blake Barnett (two rushing, two passing).Notables Freshman Terrence Horne Jr. tied the NCAA game record and set new USF, American Athletic Conference top marks with two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Horne set the new USF game record with 264 kickoff return yards after taking consecutive kickoffs to the end zone from 98 and 97 yards out. USF has won four straight games against Power Five opponents and improved to 6-1 against P5 foes in the past seven games. USF has won 30 of its past 36 games and is 23-4 since the start of the 2016 season, including a 10-1 mark in non-conference games. USF has won 18 of its past 21 games at Raymond James Stadium. Saturday marked USF's first-ever meeting with Georgia Tech. The series continues next season with a game on Sept. 7, 2019 in Atlanta. Up Next USF travels to Chicago to take on Big Ten foe Illinois at Soldier Field on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 3:30 p.m.The Bulls are back at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22 for a conference clash with East Carolina (game time TBD). Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com (emphasis added). Link
  7. A good story from the official site, recommend read all BULLS MUST MAKE MOST OF DRIVES AGAINST RUN-HEAVY GEORGIA TECH September 05, 2018 By TOM ZEBOLDUSF Senior WriterTAMPA, SEPT. 5, 2018 – USF's high-powered offense knows it must make the most of opportunities Saturday because there might not be many against a triple-option Georgia Tech team that wants to keep the ball away from opponents."Anytime you play an offense like this, you just know and understand you average probably about six or seven possessions per game," offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said Wednesday. "We know the importance of when we've got the ball in our hands, we've got to go put points on the board."USF (1-0) did that often early in the season opener, jumping out to a 24-0 halftime lead against Elon before utilizing its depth after the break. The challenge gets much tougher this week against Georgia Tech's defense, which surrendered 146 total yards (69 passing) in a 41-0 victory over Alcorn State last week.Georgia Tech allowed just two of 11 third-down conversions in the first game under new defensive coordinator Nate Woody. Using his effective 3-4 scheme, Woody previously helped Appalachian State lead the Sun Belt Conference in total defense three times in his five seasons with the program (2013-17)."It's a little different scheme from what we saw last weekend, but (we'll) just put a solid plan together," Gilbert said. "It's just trying to go out and execute at a high level and be efficient with what we're doing."USF wasn't wasteful with its possessions in the first half of the season opener, scoring on four of six drives with three touchdowns. Blake Barnett threw all three of his touchdown passes before the break and turned in the top scoring debut by a USF quarterback in less than three quarters of action.Despite Barnett and many of his teammates seeing their first action as Bulls, USF produced its third straight game with 500-plus yards. Under Gilbert, the Bulls have accomplished the feat in eight of the past 13 games."It really just sets a platform," Gilbert said. "… There were a lot of unknowns going into (Elon). You go back, evaluate, assess and look at, and just continue to trend upward is the goal and what we have in mind."Jean-Mary to Face Former Mentor Second-year USF defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary will be taking a trip down memory lane Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.Also USF's assistant head coach, Jean-Mary was the linebackers coach at Georgia Tech from 2004-09 and served under head coach Paul Johnson in Jean-Mary's final two seasons with the Yellow Jackets. Jean-Mary was a part of Georgia Tech's ACC Championship team in his last run with the program."I have the upmost respect for (Johnson). He gave me an opportunity to stay at Georgia Tech after being there for four years and he really didn't have to," Jean-Mary said. "I was a young coach. He didn't know much about me and he took a chance on me. I'll always be grateful to him for allowing me to go work under him. I learned a lot of things from him."Rest of report
  8. GAME 2 PLAYER TO WATCH: KHALID MCGEE September 07, 2018 By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior WriterTAMPA, SEPT. 7, 2018 – Khalid McGee was an instant hit in his first-career start at linebacker to open the 2018 season and the senior wants to bring the noise even more Saturday on the national stage.The tough-tackling playmaker and USF's swarming defense will try to slow down Georgia Tech's triple-option offense that produced 543 yards in its opening act of the season. Households across the country can catch the action from Raymond James Stadium on ABC or ESPN2 starting at noon on Saturday."I can show my physicality off and I'll be ready," McGee said.The former all-state honorable mention from Miami Northwestern High School certainly was up to the task last week. McGee totaled a career-high 11 tackles from the weak-side linebacker spot against Elon and impressed defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary in the process."For his first time really being a true linebacker, going through spring and preseason practice, I was very, very happy for Khalid," Jean-Mary said. "He was one of our players of the game."McGee started the switch from safety to linebacker late last season and he's made his coordinator proud ever since with his dedication to preparation. Up nearly 20 pounds to 213 this fall, McGee's mission of molding into a mean linebacker goes well beyond the weight room."He's a kid that is always in your office. He's always trying to get better," Jean-Mary said. "He's always asking questions and he's trying to learn the game more and more every day."The learning process has steadily sped up thanks in part to McGee knowing what's going on behind and around him."For a kid that played in the secondary and moved up to linebacker, he probably has a little bit more knowledge as far as schemes go and how people try to attack you," Jean-Mary said. "He asks questions regarding coverages and run fits that some other linebackers don't ask because he's been in the back end."At this point, McGee said he knows Jean-Mary's defense "like the back of his hand" and being able to think fast will come in handy in sweltering conditions Saturday. Georgia Tech (1-0) wore down Alcorn State last week with its triple-option attack that racked up 439 rushing yards on 54 attempts."We know they're going to come at your legs," said McGee of triple-option cut blocks. "Effort is a big thing and tackling is a big thing. You have to have eye discipline because they feed off big plays. That's where the get you."No matter which way the Yellow Jackets decide to pitch the ball, expect an all-out performance from USF's relentless run-stopper."We always know he's going to run to the ball," said Jean-Mary of McGee. "He's going to have a little attitude when he gets there and he's going to play with max effort."USF also is happy to have an athletic linebacker like McGee, who has the speed to patrol the field for passes. Georgia Tech threw the ball only 18 times last week, but former Yellow Jackets linebackers coach Jean-Mary (2004-09) knows his former team isn't afraid to take to the air when opportunities present themselves.Expect McGee to be ready."You can always see his mind working," Jean-Mary said. "He's always trying to see what the next step is with how people are going to attack us and what we're going to do to stop them."Learn more about McGee's football history, family and career plans for the future HERE.
  9. BULLS ON BOTH SIDES OF BALL EAGER TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION AGAINST ELON August 29, 2018 By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior WriterTAMPA, AUG. 29, 2018 – Saturday's season opener at Raymond James Stadium marks a new start for USF and a continuation of an up-tempo offensive attack that produced eye-catching results in 2017.Second-year USF offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert's group features six returning starters who helped last year's Bulls rank in the top 25 nationally in eight categories, including sixth in total offense (513.0 ypg), eighth in rushing (264.1 ypg) and 10th in scoring (38.3 ppg)."In year two, there's a lot of things that play in your favor," Gilbert said Wednesday. "Just really an understanding of the scheme, the knowledge of the scheme. Just knowing our players and knowing really their abilities, who and what they are, and just being able to go out and utilize those every Saturday."USF also has plenty of potential on offense with 15 talented underclassmen on the opening-week depth chart(PDF)and two key, veteran newcomers – juniors Blake Barnett and Jordan Cronkrite.Gilbert said Barnett, a graduate transfer from Corona, Calif., won the starting QB job with consistency throughout fall camp after gaining seven games of experience at Alabama and Arizona State."He's a really intelligent guy, really talented guy," said Gilbert of the former five-star prospect. "I'm just excited about being able to go forward with him."Cronkrite (Miami) earned first-team status at running back in fall camp and brings a solid understanding of the system after sitting out last year as a transfer from Florida, where he played in 24 games from 2015-16."It's been over a year since he's been here and sat, and now it's his time," Gilbert said. "He's excited about that."Barnett, Cronkrite and USF's offense that's packed with playmakers will be looking to make a great first impression 6 p.m. Saturday against what Gilbert calls a "feisty" Elon defense."The way they play, their scheme (3-3-5), gives people issues," he said. "That's something we'll have to attack on Saturday."On the flip side, Elon has nine returning defensive starters looking to bring it to the Bulls and one is an All-American. Senior linebacker Warren Messer racked up 114 tackles last season and helped Elon limit opponents to less than 25 points per game. The Phoenix as a whole reached No. 7 in the FCS rankings last season and finished a playoff run with an 8-4 record."They had a really good, successful season last year," Gilbert said. "They've got a lot of guys back. They have an All-American linebacker that runs around, makes plays, creates havoc and creates turnovers."Regardless of how the Elon defense attacks USF, the Bulls are focused on executing their offense that has been progressing throughout the fall."You get to the end of camp and those guys feel and see the light at the end of the tunnel," Gilbert said. "… You feel that level raise up this week, a little bit of intensity raise up. Those guys have been good. They understand that it all counts now and what's at stake Saturday." New-Look Defense to Face 'Unique' Elon OffenseUSF returns five starters, including three in the secondary, from its 2017 defense that led The American in seven different stat categories.The Bulls also are excited about their fresh talent that made a big impact in fall camp. USF's week 1 depth chart features 11 true or redshirt freshmen anxious to make an impact."We're hoping they're going to rise to the occasion," second-year USF defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary said.Redshirt freshman Mekhi LaPointe(Seffner, Fla.), listed as a first-team safety, did rise to the occasion often in fall camp along with many other underclassmen on the depth chart."We base our defense on effort and ... Rest of story
  10. YOUNG BULLS IMPRESS AS SATURDAY'S OPENER NEARS August 26, 2018 PURCHASE SEASON TICKETS By TOM ZEBOLDUSF Senior Writer TAMPA, AUG. 26, 2018 – One day after USF's productive 21-practice fall camp run came to an end, the Bulls geared up for game week at a fitting place - Raymond James Stadium.Head coach Charlie Strong's Bulls covered all their game day routines, from entering the personalized USF locker room to hitting the perfect turf for a team walkthrough below the massive digital videoboards.For several Bulls, it was the first time suited up on the turf at Raymond James Stadium and many young players will likely see action in the season-opening test against Elon on Saturday, Sept. 1.With that in mind, let's take a look at some breakout, underclassman Bulls who made a great impression on coaches during USF's fall camp action.Bulls' Lines Have DepthUSF lost two defensive line anchors from 2017 with tackles Deadrin Senat and Bruce Hector now playing for the Falcons and Eagles in the NFL.This fall, senior Kevin Bronson (Delray Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Kevin Kegler(Madison, Fla.) made a major impact as tackles in camp while freshmen Tyrone Barber (Venice, Fla.), Stacy Kirby Jr.(Orlando) and Rashawn Yates (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) provided solid depth inside.Talented youth adds more physicality to the defensive line that returns Kirk Livingstone (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Greg Reaves (Bradenton, Fla.), Vincent Jackson (Tampa), Josh Black (Tampa), Juwuan Brown (Tampa) and Kelvin Pinkney Jr. (Sarasota). All those seasoned Bulls helped the 2017 USF defense rank in the top 25 nationally in six different stat categories, including tackles for loss (8.4 per game, fifth nationally) and sacks (3.0 per game, 11thnationally)."We have a lot of numbers there, so we'll be able to rotate guys and keep them fresh as we rotate them in and out," said Strong of his defensive line.On the offensive line, freshman Ethan Watson (Pensacola, Fla.) may have worked himself into the two-deep with his consistent production at right tackle. Other impressive performances by freshmen during camp included showings from center Brad Cecil(Jacksonville, Fla.), guard Sebastian Sainterling (Hollywood, Fla.) and left tackle Donovan Jennings (Tampa).All of those young offensive linemen were a part of USF's 26-player signing class in 2018 (11 offense, 14 defense, 1 special teams) that was ranked No. 2 in The American by Rivals and 247Sports."When we went out and we recruited, we wanted to find O-linemen that were hard-nosed O-line junkies, trench life guys that want to get in and battle, and love everything about it," offensive line coach Matt Mattox said.Tons of Talent at Tight EndHeading into camp, Bulls fans knew Mackey Award candidate Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) could do damage at tight end, but the mystery was what USF had behind him.The question was answered in a big way by the emergence of redshirt freshman Frederick Lloyd Jr. (Tifton, Ga.), freshman Chris Carter (Homestead, Fla.) and the big addition of Ole Miss transfer Jacob Mathis, a sophomore from Tampa who is eligible to play this season.Young Bulls in Ball-Hawking SecondaryUSF ranked second nationally with 20 interceptions in 2017 and the Bulls found more young players with takeaway skills to help replenish secondary depth this fall.Playing both safety and corner, redshirt freshman Bentlee Sanders (Tampa) shined all over the field and used his ball skills to make numerous acrobatic interceptions."I just love how he comes out here each and every day, he goes to work," said Strong of Sanders. "He's been fun to watch."Another redshirt freshman who caught the attention of coaches at camp was cornerback Nick Roberts (Jacksonville, Fla.) who broke up a pass in the red zone during USF's final scrimmage of the fall.Fans also should keep an eye on redshirt freshman Mekhi LaPointe (Seffner, Fla.) who got a boatload of snaps as a first-team safety in camp. Freshman Vincent Davis (Jacksonville, Fla.) certainly looked smooth in the nickel corner spot behind senior Ronnie Hoggins (Coconut Creek, Fla) after picking off seven passes in the previous three seasons at Robert E. Lee High School. Much More on McGee, St. Felix, Bell and Sawtelle
  11. August 24, 2018 By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior WriterTAMPA, AUG. 24, 2018 – USF fans know Eric Mayes as a trusty, left tackle who is preparing for a super senior season with the Bulls.But there's much more to No. 55, a "big kid" who loves to make his teammates laugh and put a smile on children's faces. One day, Mayes might even be protecting you as a SWAT team member and he'll most certainly be watching cartoons when his shift is done.Learn more about one of USF's most interesting men below.Mayes Wants His 'Presence to Be Known'Eric Mayes is a shining example of a dedicated player who made a successful position switch in college.Back in 2016, Mayes officially moved from the defensive line to offensive line and saw action in three games as the Bulls' No. 2 right tackle."As days went on, I gradually improved, which made me be like, 'You know what, I'm going to stick with it because I got good in such a short amount of time," said Mayes, who used to meet with former USF head coach Willie Taggart every day to learn the plays.Mayes earned USF's top left tackle spot in 2017, starting all 12 games and helping the Bulls rank sixth nationally in total offense (513.0 ypc) and eighth in rushing offense (264.1 ypg)."Last season was a great experience," he said. "I really enjoyed that season, but this year I want my presence to be known. I want to play nastier, more dominant. I want to be more physical."Mayes Didn't Find Playing On The O-Line 'Cool' Before Becoming An Offensive TackleMayes headed to USF as a defensive-minded player who didn't think much of offensive linemen after racking up 24 sacks in two seasons at Booker High School in Sarasota."Growing up, I thought if you played on the offensive line you're not cool," he said. "Your name isn't mentioned on the jumbotron. They're not saying, 'Mayes on the tackle,' or anything like that. I figured offensive line is a bunch of nobodies."Mayes' mindset changed quite a bit in spring 2015 when he saw an opportunity to play on USF's tough offensive line and volunteered for duty."After practice, I hollered at Coach T and he was like, 'I've been waiting for you to tell me this for a long time,'" he said.Mayes was totally sold on the switch by the end of the 2016 season after playing a role in the Bulls' up-tempo attack that set school records with 77 touchdowns, 47 rushing touchdowns (third in the FBS), 3,709 rushing yards and 6,650 yards of total offense.Now Mayes thinks it's pretty cool that he's able to play offensive tackle with the same aggressive approach he used to become an all-state defensive lineman at Booker High School."To be a good offensive lineman, you must have to be like a dog – nasty on the field, no one will beat me, no one will get my quarterback," he said. "Being nice on the offensive line will get you nowhere. I'm a nasty guy. You can't make it up. You either have it or you don't."Late Start in PadsMayes' earliest memory on the gridiron was when he was 6 years old playing all positions in flag football, especially quarterback."Those were my skinny days," said Mayes, now 6-feet-4 and 296 pounds.Mayes didn't get to continue his football career until high school because he couldn't make weight limits in padded youth leagues."I hated football just for that," he said. "When I got introduced to basketball, they didn't have any weight limits. I was like, 'Man, this is the sport for me.'"Mayes eventually ended his NBA dreams when he realized he was too short to become a dominating center. A football coach came calling during his 11th grade year, when Mayes agreed to give offensive line a try.Mayes said he got ran over during his first practice and didn't return to the field for a month."I told them I'm never going back out there, then my momma (Michele Butler) made me go out there," he said. "I went out there again, but this time (coach) tried me at D-line. I played D-end and that's when it was over with. I fell in love with it."The Joker Likes to UpliftMayes' tough-guy persona is limited to the football field because he's a fun-loving guy on the sidelines, definitely in the locker room and off campus, where he likes to go bowling and play paintball with teammates."People think I'm the funniest guy on the team, I just like to make people smile," he said. "My thing is if I can make at least five people smile a day, I feel good about myself. I feel like I made somebody else's day."Growing up, Mayes would always enjoy making his friends laugh outside the house and away from his four sisters."They'd always gang up on me," he said with a smile.Mayes Loves the KidsMayes' mission of making people smile is ... Continued
  12. 7 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RONNIE HOGGINS By TOM ZEBOLDUSF Senior WriterTAMPA, AUG. 20, 2018 – Ronnie Hoggins is a name USF fans know well because of his playmaking ways the past three seasons in the Bulls' swarming secondary.Learn more about Hoggins by checking out seven things to know about the senior who loves to tackle, lead Bulls and cook for them as well.New NicknameHeading into his senior year, Hoggins has been the vocal leader of the secondary at fall camp after starting 28 of 36 games the past three seasons.When Hoggins speaks, younger players listen and they respond to him with his new, catchy title."Ronnie is kind of the grandfather back there. That's major, we refer to him as major," defensive backs coach Blue Adams said. "Major is doing his thing."Hoggins said he embraces his new nickname and growing leadership role heading into 2018."Being the voice of the secondary and on defense is something I take pride in," he said. "I like to tell guys what's coming and what to expect. I love when those guys make plays."New Position, Same ToughnessLast season, current Arizona Cardinal Deatrick Nichols made noise as a Bull, going from playing an outside corner spot to the nickel position.Hoggins has moved into Nichols' USF nickel role and he's got the skills to get the job done inside. Playing much bigger than his size (5-8, 177), Hoggins uses a fearless mentality that's helped him rack up 132 tackles the past three seasons in addition to six interceptions and 23 pass breakups.Hoggins said he developed his toughness as a kid while gearing up for seasons with older family members."I remember we would run into trees when we were little, just getting hyped for the first day of practice," Hoggins said. "It's just a tradition we did back at home because everybody back home is good."A Love for DefenseGrowing up in Coconut Creek, Fla., Hoggins had the speed to play offense but didn't want to stay on that side of the ball.Sticking with his first football love – defense – proved to be prosperous as Hoggins was named Broward 8A-7A-6A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after picking off 15 passes in 12 games at Monarch High School."I didn't really like it too much," said Hoggins of offense. "I kind of stuck to the defensive side of the ball. I made more plays there and just found my home."At Monarch, Hoggins sharpened his skills in practice by covering teammate and standout receiver Calvin Ridley, who was drafted 26th overall by Atlanta in 2018."It was a very high level," said Hoggins of his high school career. "We were in college before college. We learned time management and being accountable for everything you do."Hoggins Comes From a Football FamilyGrowing up with three brothers and two sisters, Hoggins was a middle child who took after two football players in the family.Hoggins' older brother, Darius, was a running back for University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 2014-17.Hoggins' cousin, Chris Morley, played defensive back for the University of Memphis from 2013-16 and made 20 starts in 48 career games.Credit Mom for Keeping Him in FootballWhen Hoggins was a kid, football was a thing he grew to love after having second thoughts about the sport."I remember my mother signed me up for football and said, 'You better play if I'm signing you up,'" Hoggins remembered. "After one practice, I wanted to quit. I was young, then I found my love for the game."Hoggins said he'll never forget his mom Alison's tough love that helped keep him in the game. Hoggins still calls Alison his "backbone" and the two talk almost every day."She's a big part of what I do on and off the field," he said. "She's my everything."Hoggins also credits his father, Ronnie Sr., for being another inspiring role model in his life.Hoggins Pondering Post-Football Plans and more Link
  13. August 16, 2018 By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TAMPA, AUG. 16, 2018 – Although he's seemingly seen it all and done it all in football, Shaun King continues to grow and evolve with the game as a valuable Bull on Charlie Strong's coaching staff. One of the first true dual-threat collegiate quarterbacks, the former record-breaking playmaker at Tulane had a successful six-year NFL career that included a Super Bowl win with Tampa Bay. Nearly 10 years after officially hanging up his cleats, King joined the USF staff as a quarterbacks coach in 2016 and he's expanding his skills in his second season as the Bulls' running backs coach. "I made the transition well," King said. "I got to see the game from another vantage point. Whatever Coach Strong asks me to do, I'm going to go and give him my best effort." King's hard-working mentality made him a big hit in his running back coaching debut in 2017. USF became the only team in the nation with three players to rush for 800 yards or more while the Bulls ranked eighth nationally in rushing offense (264.1 ypg). Read on
  14. 7 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JAYMON THOMAS TAMPA, AUG. 17, 2018 – A staple of USF's secondary the past two years, safety Jaymon Thomas is primed for a standout senior season and a productive life after football.Here are seven things to know about the veteran Bull who excels in both school and sports.Thomas a Wuerffel Candidate This preseason, Thomas earned a spot on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list after making 99 tackles the past two years while playing in all 25 games (13 starts). Thomas is one of USF's three returning secondary starters and grabbed his first-career interception in USF's Birmingham Bowl victory over Texas Tech last postseason.Before chasing his pro football dreams, Thomas wants to help the USF defense build on a strong 2017 season that saw the Bulls rank second nationally with 20 interceptions."It's my last go-round," he said. "I don't have any choice but to have a good year. I'm feeling pretty confident coming into the season."Super StudentPriding himself on being a successful student, Thomas earned spots on the Fall 2017 USF Athletics Honor Roll and the 2017-18 American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team."I see (my parents) brag about me to other people," said Thomas, who graduated high school with a 3.8 grade-point average. "To them, it means the world to see their child growing up and doing big things."Thomas brings a 3.48 GPA into his senior year and the health sciences major is on track to graduate this December."I'm trying to graduate with over a 3.5 in college," he said.Thomas Has Big Plans After Football Once he hangs up his cleats, Thomas wants to pursue a career in pharmacy after spending the summers of 2016 and 2017 interning at the USF College of Pharmacy."Dr. (Kevin) Sneed gave me an opportunity and I took it," Thomas said. "I got to meet people and I got to see how the pharmacy was run, it was pretty cool."Thomas interned with teammate Kirk Livingstone over the two summers. Both Bulls learned a lot while shadowing a real pharmacist in the professional setting."She had us filling prescriptions, communicating with patients, normal stuff pharmacists do throughout the day," Thomas said. "Kirk and I got an opportunity to create our own cream medicine. We were pretty hands-on when we were at the pharmacy."Tradition of Sports in Thomas HouseholdSports are a way of life in the Thomas family and it all started when the safety's parents met in the Lone Star State. Thomas' father, John, played basketball at Texas College while his mother, Tameja, was a volleyball player at the same school."My parents were real big athletes," Thomas said.They were also real supportive parents, always taking Thomas with them to sporting events. Thomas often would attend volleyball practices Tameja coached and he was coached by John for most of his life growing up."I was always around them, even when I wasn't home," Thomas said. "My free time was with them."Going From Quarterback to 'The Dark Side' Growing up in Immokalee, Fla., Thomas was a promising Pop Warner quarterback and wanted to play the position going into high school. As a freshman, he switched to receiver and was always going against his father, who was a defensive coach."My dad finally convinced me to come to the dark side," Thomas said with a smile. "Once I got to the dark side, there was no coming back."It's safe to say that the move to the secondary turned out quite well for Thomas, who truly enjoys playing safety as a Bull."You've got a lot of free range," he said. "You can roam around in the back just making plays and stopping somebody. That's my favorite part."Former Multi-Sport Student-AthleteThomas was an all-state football selection at Immokalee High School who used his athleticism in other sports as well.Aside from football, the 6-foot-3 athlete also played basketball and really enjoyed competing in all three jump events for the high school track team. Thomas took third in the triple jump at state as a senior after starting in the sport just the season before."I went to state for all three jumping events my senior year," he said. "I've still got that love for (track)."Proud Immokalee Native Thomas and several other stars of USF football's recent past, like Deadrin Senatand D'Ernest Johnson, all come from the same football hotbed.Located in Southwest Florida, Immokalee is an agricultural area with a population of about 25,000 that fully support their high school football team."We take real pride in Immokalee," Thomas said. "Immokalee means 'your home' (in Mikasuki language). Every Friday night, the whole town comes out and supports us."During his high school career, Thomas gave the home fans lots to cheer about by helping Immokalee win three district titles, a regional championship and post a state runner-up finish in 2012. Great Article, excited to see him play this season.
  15. August 16, 2018 TAMPA, Aug. 16, 2018 – USF Athletics announced a 2 p.m. tip-off when Oklahoma travels to the Yuengling Center on Sunday, Nov. 18. Coming off of a fourth-straight NCAA Tournament berth, USF women's basketball has tallied six consecutive 20-win seasons under head coach Jose Fernandez, finishing 26-8 in 2017-18. Last season, the Bulls fell 79-74 in Norman, Okla., and look forward to facing the Sooners at home in the Yuengling Center in November. In December, USF will make the short trip to Orlando to compete in the Florida Sunshine Classic. The Bulls will face Creighton on Dec. 20 at 6:15 p.m. ET and will see Virginia not 24 hours later when the Cavaliers and USF tip off at 4 p.m. ET on Dec. 21. Ticketing information for the classic will be available at a later date. Rest of article
  16. Round one of Bulls Q and A, starting with the legend of the USF airwaves, Jim Louk. From GoUSFBulls.com: Since 1983, Jim Louk has been the voice of USF Athletics. Louk came to USF that year as the radio play-by-play announcer for the USF men's basketball team and served as the lead voice until the conclusion of the 1996-97 season. He then made the transition to football in USF's inaugural 1997 campaign, and still serves as the team's play-by-play announcer today. You've seen a number of his written features over the years as well. Questions for Jim can range from this season to waaaaaaay back in the beginning of Bulls Football. Jim's Q&A from last season Please get your questions in as fast as you can. Feel free to post them here or email using this email link. My goal is to turn the questions in to Jim be end of day Wednesday, August 15th. Thanks, Brad
  17. VIENS NAMED PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON Junior Evelyne Viens was named The American Preseason Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, the league announced Tuesday.
  18. NEW IMPACT PLAYERS HAVE MADE NOTABLE PROGRESS FOR BULLS After sitting out last season, three much-improved Bulls are putting themselves in a position to make a major impact for USF men's basketball in 2018-19.Guards Laquincy Rideau, T.J. Lang and forward Alexis Yetna have all have made huge progress in preparation for their first season of game action in determined second-year USF head coach Brian Gregory's program. Getting Rideau, Lang and Yetna into the mix for game action is an enormous plus for USF, which has been in the business of steady improvement since Gregory's arrival. In 2017-18, Gregory guided the Bulls to the program's first double-digit win season since 2013-14 and tripled the team's conference win total from 2016-17. Some good news on the MBB front.
  19. CAMP QUICK HITS: GILBERT'S OFFENSE PACKED WITH PLAYMAKERS August 05, 2018 By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior WriterTAMPA, AUG. 5, 2018 – Sterlin Gilbert's up-tempo attack helped USF once again rank among the top-10 offenses nationally in 2017 and the Bulls are still going full speed ahead through three fall camp practices.With six returners back, USF's offense has been getting rapid-fire reps and the biggest observation so far has been the plethora of playmakers the Bulls have at the skill positions."There's a lot of talent over there at receiver, at running back, at the tight end spot," Gilbert said Sunday. "We've got a lot of really good players and we've just got to continue to get better."Getting better is a bit easier this fall with 20 experienced lettermen returning for year two of Gilbert's progressing offense that most Bulls now have down pat."It's really advantageous for the young guys that are coming in because they're getting to see guys do it right on tape. They're hearing and understanding the language," Gilbert said.Although USF's offensive line and skill positions have plenty of starting experience, the Bulls are looking for a new quarterback to replace record-breaking Quinton Flowers, who is now a Cincinnati Bengal. The camp battle between Chris Oladokun (Tampa), Brett Kean (Lakewood, Ohio) and Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) has been a good one so far and all three will get plenty of opportunities to win the job this fall."What we're going to do is just continue to work and rotate those guys. We're nowhere close to making a decision on that," Gilbert said. "I really have not set a time frame on it. We're just trying to get guys to knock the rust back off and get back into the groove of things. That's what we've been able to do over the last three days."Camp Quick Hits BULLS GET SPECIAL VISITORS: Ahead of his first official day on the job, USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly was at Sunday's first padded practice of the fall to support head coach Charlie Strong's football program. USF head baseball coach Billy Mohl also was in attendance. DILE HEADS BACK TO CAMPUS:The Bulls got a big boost on Sunday seeing former USF standout offensive lineman Marc Dile, who played for the program from 2005-08. Dile went on suit up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spent his final three pro seasons in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 2012-15. Back on campus and close to his Riverview home, Dile was impressed by the growth of USF's facilities, the Bulls' new adidas gear and the team's intensity. "I love what I see. I love the aggressiveness. I love the work that I'm seeing right now," he said. Dile also loves the direction the program is heading after consecutive double-digit win seasons and a pair of bowl victories over Power Five foes. "To know the grind that it took to get this program to where it is right now and to keep it at this steady pace, that's the No. 1 goal and these guys are doing a phenomenal job," Dile said. TIGHT ENDS DO DAMAGE: Perhaps the most popular target for quarterbacks at camp so far has been Mackey Award candidate Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) while younger tight ends are emerging. Freshman Chris Carter(Tarpon Springs, Fla.) covered about 30 yards over the middle on a pass from Brett Kean on Sunday. Kean also found redshirt freshman Frederick Lloyd Jr. (Tifton, Ga.) for a big gain during seven-on-seven action. "We've got a lot of young guys who are very capable," Wilcox said. BELL BREAKS OUT: The top offensive play of Sunday belonged to redshirt freshman back Duran Bell Jr. (Tampa) who exploded through a hole, cut to the outside and left defenders in the dust during a 76-yard touchdown run. SECONDARY GETS ITS PICKS: Senior secondary leader Ronnie Hoggins Jr. (Coconut Creek, Fla.) intercepted a pass early in Sunday's action and another was made by a freshman. JaJuan Cherry (Okeechobee, Fla.) made a leaping pick on a deep ball near the sideline. Cherry also has been getting work behind Hoggins at the nickel spot. PRO SCOUT WATCH: Three NFL teams checked out the Bulls during the first two days of camp and pro attention continued Sunday with a scout from the CFL's Ottawa Redblacks. Up NextThe Bulls return to the Morsani Football Practice Complex for their fourth session of fall camp Monday at 10 a.m. Link
  20. THEY'RE BACK: STRONG'S BULLS OPEN FALL CAMP ON OLD STOMPING GROUNDS August 03, 2018 By TOM ZEBOLDUSF Senior WriterTAMPA, AUG. 3, 2018 – Year two of the Charlie Strong era at USF officially began under the beautiful Bay Area evening sky with the Bulls getting right down to business Friday.Equipped with 11 starters returning from last season's 10-2 squad, USF kicked off fall camp with a workmanlike two-hour practice while players zoomed all over the field in their new adidas gear."You had the whole summer where guys are able to get in shape and work in the weight room with our strength staff. To have the first day, I'm just excited," Strong said. "We have a really good freshman class in here. We lost a lot of seniors last year, but we return a lot. I'm just really excited about what we have and I'm looking forward to them coming back tomorrow."Excitement started even before the first whistle when the Bulls made the walk beyond their usual practice digs at the Morsani Football Complex to USF's recreational fields. For the first nine practices of fall, Strong's Bulls will be training on the same fields where USF football began preparing for the inaugural 1997 season and for several years after."We love going there. That's a tradition that started this football program," said senior cornerback Ronnie Hoggins (Coconut Creek, Fla.). "We love going out there because those guys laid the foundation for this program. That's something we instilled and we appreciate those guys that laid the foundation for us."The original Bulls are certainly proud of what the program has recently accomplished. USF secured its second straight bowl victory over a Power Five foe in 2017 and continued on a school record run of 20 straight weeks in the top 25."The momentum carries on," Strong said. "You look at 11 wins two years ago and 10 wins last year. That's what's exciting, what we have, and just the excitement within the program."Ball-Hawking Secondary Makes PlaysSuited up in fresh adidas jerseys and shorts, USF jumped right into 11-on-11 action to begin Friday's practice. Quarterbacks aggressively letting it rip on day 1 allowed the Bulls' swarming secondary to make plays right away.Redshirt freshman cornerback Bentlee Sanders (Tampa) snatched a bobbled pass away from a receiver early in the action and hauled in his second interception on a deflected throw later in practice.Fiery coordinator Brian Jean-Mary's much improved 2017 defense ranked second nationally with 20 interceptions and USF is hungry for more takeaways in Jean-Mary's second run with the Bulls."We always set our goals higher than what they were last year. We always want to top last year," said senior cornerback Ronnie Hoggins, who had two picks last season.QB Battle BeginsChris Oladokun (Tampa), Brett Kean (Lakewood, Ohio) and Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) all made plays in their own ways at the beginning of USF's starting quarterback competition.Oladokun and Kean both did the most damage with their feet on several smooth scrambles for first downs. Barnett, a graduate transfer from Arizona State, completed the prettiest pass of the night by finding Mackey Award candidate Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) with a perfect over-the-shoulder throw for a 25-yard touchdown."It's a competitive battle there. Plus, it just makes our team better when they just see another good player stepping out there," Strong said. "Those guys all respect each other, so it's going to be fun just watching them going out and competing."Healthy Bulls Back in ActionEvery Bull on the roster was anxious to finally begin fall camp and the feeling was extra special for student-athletes returning from injuries.Senior starting left tackle Eric Mayes was a full go Friday after missing the spring with a meniscus repair he had done to his left knee."I felt really great today," said Mayes, who started all 12 games last year. "… Now that I'm back, I feel excited and I loved the atmosphere we had today. It was a great practice and I was excited to be back out there."Receivers Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Stanley Clerveaux (North Miami, Fla.) were eased back into action during the spring and both looked healthier than ever Friday. Clerveaux got the offense going early by snagging a pair of passes early on, one in diving fashion.As for the Bulls as a whole, Strong was happy to see his healthy squad all participate in the fall camp opener."I don't think that we have anyone standing on the sidelines," he said. "We have an excellent medical staff and they were able to get the guys back out and get them going."NFL Scouts Watch the Bulls WorkThe Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals were the first teams to check out USF's talent this fall with scouts attending Friday's practice.Up NextThe Bulls quickly hit the locker room Friday night to prepare for what's ahead. USF returns to the recreational fields Saturday for another practice session at 10 a.m."Tomorrow morning is going to be a good turnaround," Strong said. "Those guys got to get in bed tonight, get some rest, and get ready to go to work tomorrow." Report
  21. CAMP QUICK HITS: DEFENSE CONTINUES ALL-OUT EFFORT ON DAY 2 After kicking off camp Friday night, the Bulls' defense brought an intensity level that second-year USF coordinator Brian Jean-Mary was looking for a short time after the first session at the USF recreational fields. "You have to be pleased with the first two days because you see guys trying to give all-out effort and trying to do what we ask them to do alignment and assignment-wise," Jean-Mary said. Camp Quick Hits BULLS GAIN MORE NFL ATTENTION: A scout from the Cleveland Browns attended practice Saturday after representatives of the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals were in the house Friday night. KICKER UPDATE: USF kickers started camp off sharp, going a combined 8-for-9 on field goal attempts Friday. Senior Jake Vivonetto (Naples, Fla.) backed that up with a solid Saturday, making four of five attempts, including two from 42 and 47 yards out. QBs HIT THEIR TARGETS: All three quarterbacks in the starting position battle made notable throws Saturday. Chris Oladokun(Tampa) hit Darnell Salomon (Miami) in stride on a 35-yard touchdown and later found newcomer Bryce Miller for a 50-plus yard score during seven-on-seven action. Brett Kean (Lakewood, Ohio) took the first snaps of practice and hit Randall St. Felix (Miami) with a 30-yard strike early on. Kean covered the same distance later with a pretty pass to Mackey Award candidate Mitchell Wilcox (Tarpon Springs, Fla.). Transfer Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.) threaded the needle on a first-down throw to Wilcox before completing a 20-yard pass to Zion Roland (St. Petersburg). ROBERTS WITH THE PICK: The top defensive play of Saturday belonged to redshirt freshman defensive back Nick Roberts (Jacksonville, Fla.), who jumped a deep route and came down with a leaping interception in the second half of practice.
  22. BULLS IN THE PROS: EVELD BACK IN FLORIDA, MONTES AN ALL-STAR "Former USF shortstop Coco Montes receives a much deserved All-Star nod and pitcher Tommy Eveld returns to the state of Florida". "On Tuesday prior to the MLB trade deadline, former Bulls' arm Tommy Eveld was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Miami Marlins." "Former all-conference USF infielder Coco Montes was named a Pioneer League (rookie ball) All-Star for the Grand Junction Rockies. " Name Organization Position League (Level) Team Stats Austin Adams Washington P International (AAA) Syracuse Chiefs 0-2, 3.63 ERA, 7 saves, 55 Ks, 34.2 IP. Also on MLB 40-man roster. Joe Cavallaro N.Y. Mets P Florida State (A Advanced) St. Lucie Mets 2-1, 5.75 ERA, 20 Ks, 20.1 IP, 4 games Bobby Eveld Texas P Northwest (A-Short Season) Spokane Indians 0-1, 1.13 ERA, 8 Ks, 8.0 IP, 7 games Tommy Eveld Miami P Southern (AA) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (AA) 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 save, 5 K, 4.1 IP, 3 games Jimmy Herget Cincinnati P International (AAA) Louisville Bats 1-2, 2.89 ERA, 53 Ks, 46.2 IP, 39 games Brandon Lawson Tampa Bay P Southern (AA) Montgomery Biscuits 2-1, 4.37 ERA, 28 Ks, 35.0 IP Shane McClanahan Tampa Bay P Gulf Coast (Rookie) Rays Assigned to GCL Rays on July 23. Kevin Merrell Oakland SS California (A-Advanced) Stockton Ports Seven-day disabled list. .267, 10 2B, 3 3B, 5 SB, 24 RBI, 62 games Coco Montes Colorado SS Pioneer (Rookie) Grand Junction Rockies .382, 7 HR, 12 2B, 29 RBI, 39 runs, 6 SB, 43 games Dan Otero Cleveland P MLB Indians 1-1, 5.22 ERA, 1 save, 31 Ks, 39.2 IP Andrew Perez Chicago White Sox P South Atlantic (A) Kannapolis Intimidators 0-0, 2.84 ERA, 11 Ks, 1 save, 12.2 IP Kevin Quackenbush Cincinnati P International (AAA) Louisville Bats 0-1, 2.02 ERA, 19 saves, 40 Ks, 35.2 IP. Triple-A All-Star. Phoenix Sanders Tampa Bay P Midwest (A) Bowling Green Hot Rods 5-3, 3.02 ERA, 3 saves, 71 Ks, 50.2 IP Peter Strzelecki Milwaukee P Pioneer (Rookie) Helena Brewers 2-1, 5.14 ERA, 3 saves, 20 Ks, 14.0 IP Ryan Valdes Pittsburgh P New York-Penn (A-Short Season) West Virginia Black Bears 0-0, 5.31 ERA, 1 save, 17 Ks, 20.1 IP David Villar San Francisco 3B Northwest (A-Short Season) Salem-Keizer Volcanoes .282, 7 HR, 10 2B, 26 RBI, 32 games
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