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Sarasota Herald: Julmiste remains top Bulls QB

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Julmiste remains top Bulls QB

USF's hopes of using highly touted sophomore Carlton Hill put on hold for a variety of reasons.


TAMPA -- As recently as last spring, Carlton Hill's athleticism, size and speed generated talk that he was the player the University of South Florida football program could ride to prominence in the Big East Conference. The 6-foot-3 sophomore had all the tools and went into spring practice as the quarterback to beat.

Now, Hill is living proof of how fast things can change in the fickle world of athletics. It appears he probably won't suit up for the Bulls this season and could be wearing a different uniform in the future.

USF head coach Jim Leavitt said the best thing for Hill would be to play junior college football this fall. If that doesn't happen, he will likely sit out the season as a redshirt.

Talking before a group of reporters at the Florida Sports Writers Association Media Day on Sunday, the coach expressed his love for Hill and respect for him as a person. His opinion of Hill's decision-making skills, however, were not so gleaming.

Hill was arrested last June on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession. Prior to that he missed a good deal of spring practice because he was trying to make up classwork so he could be eligible in the fall.

Leavitt moved Hill to receiver, but on Sunday, it sounded as if the coach didn't have any plans to use the gifted athlete this season.

"We switched Carlton to receiver because of the different things that were happening with him. To be the guy at quarterback, you have to be focused," Leavitt said. "It doesn't mean someday he won't be our quarterback, but for now he has to be focused on other things and it's easier to do that at receiver.

"He needs to play football. To get him to go somewhere and play quarterback would be good and then we can bring him back. You have to look at the big picture.

"That is the direction we are leaning. It makes more sense and I think it would be good for him. This doesn't have anything to do with academics. It involves him getting squared away. I am not worried that he wouldn't come back."

Hill saw his first extensive playing time at quarterback last year in the regular-season finale against Big East champion West Virginia. He completed 10 of 22 passes for 98 yards, gained 50 yards on 15 carries and showed flashes of brilliance. Coming out of Jefferson County Hill in Monticello, he was ranked the 20th-best athlete in the nation by one rating service.

"I think the world of the young man, but some of the decisions he made haven't been the best," Leavitt said. "I want to make sure there is a lot more than just football in his life. I want him to focus on other things and have a life."

Leavitt said he has confidence in senior quarterback Pat Julmiste, who has started 23 games with a 12-11 record over the past three seasons.

Last year, the 6-foot-3, 220- pounder threw six TD passes with 11 interceptions, though six of the picks came in two games. Unfortunately, one of those games was against Connecticut late in the season when the Bulls lost a chance to put themselves into position to win the Big East Conference.

"I always knew Pat was here. It's never been out of my mind," Leavitt said. "We've had a lot of people try to beat him out and they couldn't. Pat has been inconsistent, but there is more to it. We've had receivers drop passes. We've got to catch the ball and get the running game going.

"He has still been the guy who has started some big wins for us and I'd rather have somebody back like that than not. He works hard and had an awfully good summer."

Leavitt said he was pleased with the progress of redshirt freshman Matt Grothe, who is the backup quarterback heading into the season. Grant Gregory, a 6-1 sophomore, who transferred from Indiana last summer, has moved from safety to quarterback and is third on the depth chart.


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