2001 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR
wrote the book on football for dummies.
If universities want a crash course on how
to be successful in big time college athletics
fast, look no further than Tampa. Not only
have the Bulls risen to become a team to
reckon with on Saturdays, but it also appears
coaches have been able to supply enough
yeast to keep the talent and expectations
rising, and 2002 looks to be another scenario
of just a season's past. With an 8-3 campaign
last fall, which included a huge early upset
over Pittsburgh at new Heinz Field in the
Steel City, the USF expectations look to
be much the same for the upcoming season
even with a more difficult schedule. The
quarterback - receiver combinations are
some of the best in the business as four
to five top flight athletes will line up
on the outside of the offensive haystack
to catch the darts tossed by All-American
Candidate Marquel Blackwell. Numerous stars
twinkle the defensive skyline up front.
The defensive end combinations are freaks
of nature with Daley and Pierson. The linebackers
have one of the best in Mitchell. Don't
misunderstand the situation; the Bulls have
their share of concerns. Running down the
short list: A running game needs to develop
by having one of the RB by committee members
step up and become a "goto" guy,
the offensive line is unproven and has a
definite capability of hindering success,
overall depth on defense is extremely thin,
and the defensive backs must locate new
playmakers. The past two-year schedule was
simply custom made for the type of season
USF had, but remember that this program
is only in its second season as a Division
I-A member. That luxury becomes a little
more complicated for 2002, as a few heavy
hitters have been added to the schedule
lineup. For that we say kudos to USF as
this program is seriously on the fast track
to becoming a major contender. But let's
really cut to the chase. The answers to
questions people want to know are: Does
USF stand a chance at becoming a national
power hitter and can the victory at Pittsburgh
last season become a consistency? The answer
to the first is a big OH YEA in the long
run, no doubt about it at this current pace.
Of course many folks felt the same about
the UCF program and the Golden Knights have
provided some descent seasons, but are still
a long haul away from becoming a national
contender. These next couple of years for
the Bulls should set a nice foundation upon
which to build. Do not look for them to
become a high roller in the national sweepstakes
anytime soon, however there is enough talent
to become one of your top mid majors in
the short term. When you glance over some
of the better athletes on the current South
Florida roster, we guarantee you many, if
not most of them, could start on just about
any top 25 team in the country. For now,
in answer to the later question, outside
of a trip to Norman, not one single team
on the 2002 schedule is unbeatable for USF,
and that is a statistical fact. The number
of shooting stars on this year's roster
is remarkable. Watch for these young men
to shine and don't be surprised upon reading
the scores this upcoming fall in the Sunday
Projected 2002 record: 8-3
Marquel Blackwell, 258-456-11, 2882 Yards,
Rushing: Clenton Crossley, 88 att.,
380 yds., 7 TD's
Receiving: Huey Whittaker, 52 rec.,
548 yds., 2 TD's
Scoring: Marquel Blackwell, 9 TD's,
Punting: Devin Sanderson, 58 punts,
Kicking: Santiago Gramatico, 3-11
FG, 44-52 PAT, 53 pts.
Tackles: Kawika Mitchell, 106 tot.,
Sacks: Shurron Pierson, 10 sacks
Interceptions: J.R. Reed, 5 for 48
Kickoff returns: Hugh Smith, 10 ret.,
Punt returns: DeAndrew Rubin, 26
ret., 15.6 avg
thanks to the people at SouthFloridaBulls.com
for their assistance in putting this
Mike Snellgrove-OT, Matt Sparrowhawk-OG, Jimmy
Fitts-OL, Derrick Rackard-RB
Blount-DL, Anthony Williams-MLB, Bernard Brown-CB,
by S. Bien
offense revolves around Marquel Blackwell. A post-season
award hopeful, Marquel is a resilient, hardworking
young man, who is nearly as driven and ambitious
as he is elusive. He has been favorably compared
to Woodrow Dantzler, yet a tad more accurate (comparison
given by Rod Smith, USF QB Coach who also coached
Woodrow). He throws to a stable of wide receivers
who, although lack name recognition, possess the
speed and skills comparable to most SEC and ACC
schools. Leading the pack running routes is DeAndrew
Rubin, who simply wreaked havoc in the first two
games of 2001 against Northern Illinois and Pittsburgh.
He was injured in the Pittsburgh game, and never
regained his true form until the end of the year.
Returning with Rubin is 2001 leading receiver
Huey Whittaker, who is a huge target at 6-5, 220
lbs. with great hands and good speed. The remaining
compilation of returning wide receivers is full
of players loaded with exceptional tools and talent.
USF returns three running backs that all saw varying
time last year. The primary starter last year
was Clenton Crossley, a shifty bruiser that uses
his 5-10 frame to its fullest. The next in line
is Callum, a JUCO transfer scat back who originally
signed with Florida State out of high school.
The best ball carriers could be Georgia Bulldog
transfer, DeJuan Green. Mr. Green sat out last
year, but was considered by many recruiting analysts
as the #1 running back out of the Sunshine State
in 1999. He was a Parade All-American and Super
Prep All-American. Green has big time explosiveness,
with world-class speed to match. He is expected
to give USF a boost of quickness in the backfield.
The offensive line is young, and the only area
that was depleted from graduation. Lost were starters
Fitts, Sparrowhawk, and Snellgrove. In their place
are Newton (replacing Sparrowhawk at guard, started
3 games as a true freshman), Frank Davis (quicker,
stronger, and slightly bigger than Snellgrove,
although Snellgrove had better footwork), and
Houston. The returning starters are Sarosi (started
all 11 games at tackle, and at 6-6, 305 is developing
into one of the best tackles in the South as a
sophomore); the other starter is Herron at center,
another young talent who started eight games at
center as a redshirt freshman. During his tenure
at center there were no snapping issues and the
team yielded zero sacks against Pittsburgh when
Herron was calling the line assignments. This
year Herron returns bigger, stronger, and more
experienced. Expect the offensive line to start
slow, but the experience and talents of Herron,
Newton, and especially Sarosi should carry the
front line to loftier expectations.
Lastly, the tight end position has been a bit
of a revolving door for USF. Often times not a
highly utilized receiving position in USF's spread
offense, it does possess one of USF's best athletes.
Tim Jones was originally a Miami commitment out
of high school. He was the #1 tight end out of
the state in 2000 and generally rated as one of
the top five recruits east of the Mississippi
at his position. He is a svelte 6-4, 245 lbs.
with, believe it or not, a 4.59 speed (clocked
in the spring at 240lbs). He has great hands and
was also an All-American candidate as a linebacker
in high school, so he is very athletic and versatile.
Behind Jones is Casey Cobb, a good-sized tight
end that has battled injuries since his switch
Overall, USF possesses enough speed and home run
threats at the skill positions to keep any team
honest. The key to success for USF lies in the
maturation of their young offensive line and having
more success running the ball, thus controlling
the clock better. Marquel now has two years under
his belt in this system. Coupling his experience
and abilities together should carry this team
into a 7-4 season at a minimum. If the line matures
quicker than expected and a consistent running
game is found, who knows the upside!?!
FLORIDA 2002 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in Bold
Callum-Jr / Vince Brewer-Jr
Rubin-Sr (academics ??)
by S. Bien
heart and soul of the defense is Kawika Mitchell.
Kawika was a highly sought after high school player
who enrolled at Georgia and redshirted his freshman
year. Due to family reasons Kawika transferred
to USF, and the rest is history. He has been a
three-year starter on defense and as durable and
consistent on defense as Marquel Blackwell is
on offense. Kawika is a two time Butkus Award
Nominee and was the team's leading tackler last
Complimenting Kawika at SAM linebacker is Maurice
Jones. Jones is a two-year starter with similar
size and demeanor as Kawika. Jones has excellent
quickness and speed for his size and is adept
at rushing the QB. The weak side linebacker looks
to be converted running back Courtney Davenport,
who has spent a year apprenticing at the new position
and is prepared to make the move to starter. The
back ups are shallow, but expect to see a lot
of minutes from Mike Minus and Jason Allen. Some
freshmen could make an immediate impact at this
the DL always must start with Shurron Pierson.
Last year as a redshirt freshman, Pierson started
nine games and registered ten sacks, a team record.
His cat like quickness, 4.46 speed, and 450-pound
bench press make him a nightmare for any blocking
tackle nationwide. On the opposite side is always
dependable and full-motor guy Chris Daley. Chris
had 9.5 sacks last year despite missing most of
the last three games. He has great quickness off
the snap and never stops. He is a student of the
game and uses his skills to their fullest. Backing
up these two is a stable of young but talented
players. Keep a particular eye on Cedric Battle
(who should float from end to tackle throughout
the game), Royals (some consider a Pierson clone),
and Huebner, who had 28 sacks as a senior in high
Last year the defensive tackle position was a
weakness at the beginning of the year. Both starters
are extremely stout and possess the quickness
and size to be good men on the interior with this
being Wall's senior season. The back ups are not
deep or flashy, but dependable in Campbell and
Groelinger. Cedric Battle will play some tackle
to add depth and experience. Walk-on Vernell Smith
might make some noise and watch for incoming true
freshman Ramon McCullough. Many considered him
to have All-American potential until an injury
riddled his senior season at the previous level,
in which he was still able to register 7 sacks.
The defensive backs lost a tough player in Joe
Morgan and the cornerback position took a hit
with Kenny Robinson's decision to redshirt this
season. Overall there is solid talent in the secondary
with fast Indiana transfer Maurice Tucker manning
one of the corner spots. Local product Ron Hemingway
will play on the other side. USF will need some
youngsters to step up at cornerback for a successful
season, including D'Juan Brown, who must be prepared
to continue improving after turning some heads
this spring. Ditto for Miami native Antonio Warren.
This should be a solid position, particularly
if back ups live up to potential. When discussing
the safeties you must start with free safety J.R.
Reed. His high school coach mentioned that Reed
was the real warrior in his backfield as he called
the plays and possessed as much skill and speed
as any one in the state at safety. Reed hauled
in 5 interceptions last year as a sophomore, and
is poised for a huge junior season. The strong
safety slot will probably be manned by John Miller,
who had some extensive playing time last year
while performing well in spurts. Running neck
and neck with Miller for the starting role is
Kevin Verpaele, who possesses good size and instincts.
They will try to make up for the loss of Joe Morgan.
The positive aspect here is that both had two
good years of tutoring under Morgan. The secondary
back ups are filled with quick athletes and many
anticipate a few receivers switching over to continue
to add more athletes in the defensive backfield.
Expect Marcus Edwards, the son of Jets HC Herman
Edwards, to move from WR to DB in the fall. USC
and Miami recruited him among others, as a defensive
back coming out of high school.
Overall this team is going to rely on their extremely
talented linebacking crew to lead the defense.
If Jones, Pierson, Jurineak, Reed, Tucker, and
Mitchell stay healthy all year, this defensive
has the potential to be very good. If anyone in
that group gets hurt, the team will be forced
to turn to some very untested backups. Last year
early in the season the defense was struggling.
It came to form late, and if that carries over,
USF should have the ability to put a few notches
in the victory column once again.
FLORIDA 2002 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in Bold
Royal-Fr / Kenny Huebner-Fr
Roy Selmon Jr. - Jr (inj.)
Simpson-So / D'Juan Brown-So
Daley had 9.5 sacks last year despite missing most of
the last three games. (photo courtesy
Florida Athletic Department)
they are saying about USF compliments of :
Special thanks to E.T., S. Bien,
InvisiBull, Ricky_the_Bull, The_Sheriff, Bulliever, Omniscientbull,
eltoro, bullbull, HowieP, and everyone at SouthFloridaBulls.com.
DE Shurron Pierson
looks to be in great condition. Expect him to have a monster season.
does not exit early to the NFL. He's going to be someone who is
going to make a huge impact not only for USF, but the NFL team that
is lucky to draft him.
And to do Shurron
justice... he clocked a 4.35 during the NFL timing of 40's this
spring... his fastest time that is... and his average of his three
combined times was 4.39. A 4.46 40 just does not serve him the proper
justice... his times are posted in the weight room along with every
other Bull player that ran that day uninjured.
Last I heard
WR DeAndrew Rubin is definite to return, and OL Ken Dawson is still
Ken Dawson is
so out of shape it is not even funny. He will have a tough time
seeing the field if he is eligible.
As of right
now Whittaker will be the starter and Rubin will rotate with the
rest of the receivers. I truly believe it will be tough to have
Huey come off the bench as he is there every day working out and
has the grades. You cannot say that for Rubin.
The Bulls have
six starters and only 4 slots...hope they work a lot of 5 WR sets
for this season. Green flanking out of the backfield? Last year
Fisher had a great frosh season...who this year? Lots to pick from.
Willie Williams was an All-State WR as a junior and what a Spring
Why does it
seem that bigger LB's all end up at DE? Seems the defense may be
getting loaded there so why not leave one (or two) at the LB spot
so they could just be monsters?
backups very thin and that is why Terrence Royal was moved.
At WLB, Davenport
has no real back up of there. Maurice Jones would go to WLB and
Allen to SLB or the Nickel will come in.
When the nickel
package is in, Verpaele will go to Nickel and John Miller to safety.
As for Lewis,
Bain et al, I don't see a big deal if they are moved to secondary
(if that is a need) since there is plenty of depth at WR. It would
be nice to see what they are capable of at WR first.
D'Juan Brown is going to have a big impact this year.
a top QB that WILL be drafted. He needs to stay healthy as he has.
Curious as to
who will be the MAN at running back!?! Or will it be "The Four
Horsemen" with Crossley, Brewer, Callum and Green? Gotta love
the OL was a major concern. They do NEED a great fall practice and
sure up the starters.