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Triple B

Epilogue: Milton Llinas danced his way into hearts as USF’s ‘Rocky’

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Published: October 16, 2018
Updated: October 16, 2018 at 02:23 PM
 

BRANDON — Gusto is a prerequisite for those aspiring to wear USF's most conspicuous costume.

Those who slip into the Rocky D Bull outfit must show they can slip out of self-consciousness. Mascot mettle is gauged at a formal tryout in a Selmon Athletics Center conference room, where applicants are asked to juke, prance and gyrate to the USF Fight Song and one or two current pop hits.

"The whole point of it is, we want them to be larger than life," said Megan MacLeod, director of marketing for USF Athletics.

To this day, no one has nailed his audition with the zeal of Milton Llinas. Just as Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball segued from the keyboard-tinged moderate tempo of its opening verse to the bombastic chorus, Llinas darted toward a folding chair and propelled his slender swimmer's frame into it.

Laura Wilhelm and Eric Dominguez, both Rocky alumni, nodded at each other in approval.

"I mean, he just full Supermanned into it," Wilhelm said. "I looked over at Eric and said, 'Yep, that'll do. He's in. We're ready.'"

For the next three years, Llinas seemingly spent as much time inside the bovine getup as he did out of it. The Riverview High alumnus (and former Sharks swim-team captain) with dreams of a legal career seemed happiest when entertaining and exhorting USF's fan base at sporting events and myriad other functions.

"I think he would've lived in that suit," Wilhelm said.

He'll rest forever in a variation of it.

On Saturday, Llinas was buried in a dark-green USF polo and gray Rocky winter cap, protruding horns and all. Shortly after graduating with his political science degree last December, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and succumbed to complications from the illness at Moffitt Cancer Center on Oct. 11.

A native Colombian reared in east Hillsborough County, he was 23.

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Wow.  That's so sad.  So young.  I'm glad he was able to be Rocky and do something he really seemed to enjoy.  RIP young man.

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2 hours ago, GaUSFBull said:

Wow.  That's so sad.  So young.  I'm glad he was able to be Rocky and do something he really seemed to enjoy.  RIP young man.

All of this.  

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I'm glad he got to do something he loved. Stuff like this puts everything into perspective. We need to spend more time being kind to others and enjoying life...you never know what can happen.

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Thanks Joey 

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This Country needs good adults he probably would have made a really good one. Makes you wonder if your Rocky pics from games over last few years had this young man in the suit??

RIP 

ROCKY HORNS UP.jpg

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4 hours ago, BulledOver said:

This Country needs good adults he probably would have made a really good one. Makes you wonder if your Rocky pics from games over last few years had this young man in the suit??

RIP 

ROCKY HORNS UP.jpg

If so, what a wonderful legacy. RIP. 

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I’m not 💯 convinced that Joey wasn’t just tasked with writing a nice feel good piece on the kid and then killed him so as to ruin the ending of the story for us.

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Heart breaking. Dusty in here.

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