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The Fort Myers Boys

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The Fort Myers Boys

TAMPA -- In the football program’s short existence, the University of South Florida has never had a recruiting presence in an area like they now do in the Naples/Ft. Myers portion of southwest Florida. With seven players currently on roster from the area, the USF coaching staff is slowing turning Naples and Ft. Myers into Bulls Country.

“I think the area is definitely an important pipeline for USF recruiting,†said senior defensive back Louis Gachette who attended Immokalee high school. “As soon as I go home, little kids come up to me and tell me how much they want to go to USF and how cool it is to see us play on TV.â€Â

Redshirt freshmen Quenton Washington, a North Ft. Myers graduate, echoes the same effect.

“We’ve got a big presence down there in that part of the state and I know it’s going to grow even bigger after this season,†said Washington.

The Bulls have had success in the past when it comes to signing players from the area. The most famous product from the area to pass through USF is current Dallas Cowboys defensive back Anthony Henry, who attended Estero high school in Ft. Myers.

“Any time you have guys make it to the NFL from the school you are attending is huge,†said Gachette. “Guys like Anthony and Mike Jenkins, Trae Williams and Ben Moffitt pave the way for us younger guys and give us the motivation we need to try to make it to the next level.â€Â

What these “Ft. Myers Boys†cherish most is the opportunity to be able to play close to home and play with some of the guys they grew up with.

Nate Allen, a junior safety out of Cape Coral high school, sites his good friend and former high school teammate Taurus Johnson as one of the main reasons he chose to spend his college days in Tampa.

“TJ and all the guys from down in the area were a big reason why I chose USF,†said Allen. “It makes you feel comfortable to have guys you know around for four more years.â€Â

In 2003, then quarterback Nate Allen hooked up with his favorite target, Taurus Johnson, for a 73-yard touchdown pass to help lead Cape Coral defeat Tyson Butler’s Cypress Lake Squad by a score of 54-35. Johnson also accounted for two more scores with a 57-yard reverse and a 72-yard touchdown pass of his own.

Depending who you talk to, all three touchdowns that Johnson scored were on Butler’s side of the field.

“We kept beating him deep, plain and simple,†said Johnson laughing. “He was pretty upset back then but it’s all in fun and games now that we can look back and laugh at it.â€Â

Butler added with a smile on his face, “I played against TJ and Nate back in 2003. I was guarding TJ the whole game. He lies all the time, telling people he had all these catches and touchdowns. I guess you had to be there to see what really happened.â€Â

Even with all the trash talking flying around the locker room, Johnson always takes time out to stop and praise his teammates.

“Nate and Quenton, you don’t get any better then that. You’re not going to find a better free safety out there in the country then Nate,†said Johnson. “Quenton is doing the same thing he’s done throughout high school, he’s competing. Tyson, in my opinion, is just as good as Quenton. As for Nate, I played with Nate my entire life and I’m glad he chose USF so we can play another four years together.â€Â

With the success of the USF football program and these five players in particular, it is no surprise the area is becoming Bulls Country.

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