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Zebold: Bulls Strengthen Program Bond at USF Football Alumni Reunion

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Bulls Strengthen Program Bond at USF Football Alumni Reunion

BULLS STRENGTHEN PROGRAM BOND AT USF FOOTBALL ALUMNI REUNION

By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer

TAMPA, APRIL 18, 2019 – More than 70 Bulls who helped lay the foundation for the program were welcomed back to campus with open arms last weekend during the USF Football Reunion.

32597USF inaugural 1997 season team members Edwin Greene, Keith Williams, Bryan Freese, Emerson Morris, Anthony Williams, Brian McNulty, Marshall Smith, Mike Sandy and David Thompson had a blast spending time with Bulls from all the way up to the 2018 roster at the reunion banquet last Friday evening inside the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center. Chad Barnhardt, USF's first-ever starting quarterback, and Jay Mize (Bulls DB from 1997-2000) joined the group at the USF Spring Game last Saturday at Corbett Stadium.

"Getting everybody back and everybody excited about the football program, I think it's going to do wonders," said former star defensive end George Selvie, who played six NFL seasons after setting the USF career sacks record with 29.

The attendance list was loaded with more household program names like Nate Allen, Sam Barrington, B.J. Daniels, S.J. Green, Nigel Harris, Amarri Jackson, Mike Jenkins, Taurus Johnson, Jerome Murphy, Auggie Sanchez, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kayvon Webster, Carlton Williams and Kion Wilson among many others.

"The crowd is so big right now," said Jenkins, a USF defensive back from 2005-07 who went on to play eight seasons in the NFL. "You've got guys from 2003. You have guys that are from 2018 in here. It's just beautiful to see everybody come together to just kind of talk and reminisce."

Webster, a standout USF cornerback from 2009-12, was one of numerous Bulls football alums who stayed for the spring game on Saturday. Prior to watching the current squad, the six-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl 50 champion was excited to catch up with familiar faces at the reunion event hosted by the Bulls Club.

32596"I haven't seen some of these guys in years, since I graduated from USF in 2013," Webster said.

Webster was one of 17 current or former pro players to attend the unforgettable reunion event. Among that group was current Toronto Argonauts wideout S.J. Green, a USF standout from 2003-06 who has racked up 9,183 receiving yards and 56 touchdowns in 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League.

"It's an awesome event to see all the former Bulls players, coaches and some administrative guys all in the same place at the same time," Green said. "It just brings back a lot of good memories. It's a great place to be right now."

All the former players in attendance received many words of appreciation from Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly and head coach Charlie Strong, who was accompanied by the Bulls current coaching staff. Kelly made sure to mention each Bull had a hand in helping the program become the fastest Florida program to reach 150 wins, which brought back memories of many big-time victories.

One popular game in conversations was USF's upset win over No. 5 West Virginia back in 2007. Starting free safety Allen made a game-high 11 tackles and had two takeaways in the Bulls' landmark victory. To this day, Allen still gets excited about the rowdy crowd of 67,018 that packed Raymond James Stadium on the memorable Friday night in Tampa.

"Ray Jay was sold out. It was a night game on ESPN," said Allen, who is retired from football after playing eight NFL seasons. "I remember after we won, the crowd and the students stormed the field. I'll never forget that feeling. There were people falling over the wall, getting down onto the field, and it really felt like a big-time college (game). It was awesome."

Three weeks after that win, USF was ranked No. 2 nationally and the Bulls from that team are still proud about strengthening the Bulls' brand across the country.

"Being that type of team that was the underdog, we just rose up," Selvie said. "It was just a great story for this program."

32598Although it wasn't a monumental victory on the field, last Friday's reunion was an important moment for USF football. From now on, past players – no matter their era – know they have an open invitation to come back, as Strong reiterated in front of the large, united group.

"This is definitely a special moment for USF history," said Kion Wilson, who made 171 tackles as a Bulls linebacker from 2008-09. "… Getting the guys back together - the foundation of this organization, the guys who've kind of paved the way – I think it's just a great opportunity for everybody to be together and share this moment."

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One popular game in conversations was USF's upset win over No. 5 West Virginia back in 2007. Starting free safety Allen made a game-high 11 tackles and had two takeaways in the Bulls' landmark victory. To this day, Allen still gets excited about the rowdy crowd of 67,018 that packed Raymond James Stadium on the memorable Friday night in Tampa.

"Ray Jay was sold out. It was a night game on ESPN," said Allen, who is retired from football after playing eight NFL seasons. "I remember after we won, the crowd and the students stormed the field. I'll never forget that feeling. There were people falling over the wall, getting down onto the field, and it really felt like a big-time college (game). It was awesome."

Three weeks after that win, USF was ranked No. 2 nationally and the Bulls from that team are still proud about strengthening the Bulls' brand across the country.

"Being that type of team that was the underdog, we just rose up," Selvie said. "It was just a great story for this program."

I guess it's one of those "you had to be there" type things to fully understand.

I'm not sure what we've done in the past to bring back the alumni but this is a something we should continue to do.  And we should celebrate our short history and the successes it has had, that these men made happen despite the odds.

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CCS is bringing those big program traditions to USF. UM, UF and FSU always have graduated players on the sidelines during games or at practice. 

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20 minutes ago, Gatorbull325 said:

CCS is bringing those big program traditions to USF. UM, UF and FSU always have graduated players on the sidelines during games or at practice. 

Shhhhh...keep this quiet don’t want to offend the CCS haters. But seriously, this is something that should have been done long ago. But does this mean they get tickets to games? Last year this caused a big stink.

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15 minutes ago, NewEnglandBull said:

Shhhhh...keep this quiet don’t want to offend the CCS haters. But seriously, this is something that should have been done long ago. But does this mean they get tickets to games? Last year this caused a big stink.

I sure hope they start giving them tickets or sideline passes. 

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14 minutes ago, Gatorbull325 said:

I sure hope they start giving them tickets or sideline passes. 

Especially for the big games. This is one thing Miami still does.

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Someone that was kind of a big deal to the whole thing was noticeably not involved... 

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28 minutes ago, puc86 said:

Someone that was kind of a big deal to the whole thing was noticeably not involved... 

I'm sure Matt Grothe would have been there if he could.  Please don't start another hijack.

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Posted (edited)

This is long overdue. Glad that CCS and presumably Kelly are making this happen. We need to build the culture we used to have, that swagger and chip we had on our shoulder. 

Edited by Bull Dozer
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3 hours ago, CousinRicky said:

I'm sure Matt Grothe would have been there if he could.  Please don't start another hijack.

Matt Grothe? Isn’t he the guy that holds Quinton Flower’s beer for him. 

 

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