And yes, Grothe has hair now
I think you'll see a lot written about Bulls quarterback Matt Grothe in the next few days as he prepares for his first college start, and we had a front-page story Thursday about the redshirt freshman who has emerged for USF. It's actually the lead story on the Times' main sports page online as well.
I should apologize, in that we also had a front-page mug shot that was taken last year, within a couple of days of the freshmen getting their heads shaved by the veterans in preseason. USF hasn't sent out their CD of new mugshots for 2006, but I called over Wednesday, hoping to get a new mug that shows a more current shot of Grothe. They were kind enough to e-mail some over on short notice, and we still managed to get the shaved-head one in the paper. So I'm offering up a special blog-only pic from Saturday's game, taken by Times photographer Ted McLaren, along with what the new mugshot looks like, just so fans know what Grothe looks like. And here's the new Grothe mug from USF.
Also, an update on one of those quarterbacks-that-isn't-a-quarterback-at-USF-anymore, Alwan Lee, who signed with USF in February but failed to qualify and instead went to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He isn't on MGCCC's roster, so I checked in with Booker T. Washington coach Tim Harris, who told me Wednesday that Lee suffered a knee injury in summer workouts that is likely to sideline him for this season. He's headed for a redshirt, which means he could have three years of I-A eligibility if he were to finish his classes quickly enough. Again, I'm not sure if he's a recruit destined to come back to USF -- a prolific high school quarterback, a talented athlete, but a prospect I could never find a positional match for with the Bulls.
Speaking of recruits, ESPN.com has the Bulls 16th in their national recruiting rankings. This early in the recruiting process, it's a stretch to have any kind of rankings, let alone ESPN's odd system that ranks classes based on the average score of commitments. If a commitment hasn't been graded yet, he doesn't count toward a team's aggregate score. Their totals don't include St. Petersburg Catholic receiver Andrew Harris, who was reported here as a commitment Saturday: again, in their fuzzy math, adding a recruit can actually hurt your class. So the Bulls, with four listed commitments on ESPN, are ranked ahead of West Virginia (13 commits), Rutgers (11), Pittsburgh (11) and Syracuse (15). If the Bulls can finish up 16th nationally, I think they'll be very happy.
And just to update, running back Moise Plancher will miss the rest of the 2006 season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Leaves the Bulls with nothing but true freshmen and walk-ons until Ricky Ponton finds his way back to the eligible-to-play list. Don't expect that Saturday -- he was busy on Tuesday wearing a No. 3 jersey as part of the scout team, simulating Florida International running back A'mod Ned, who once was interested in playing at USF while at Miami Northeast. I don't think the Bulls ever offered him -- his media guide lists him as choosing FIU over FAU, Troy and Utah.
And kudos to USF in the ongoing battle against double-numbering. Freshman running back Keeley Dorsey, who started out wearing No. 21 for the Bulls, changed jerseys mid-game Saturday -- likely to avoid a problem being on the field at the same time as the more established No. 21, cornerback Trae Williams -- and was wearing a No. 13 jersey when he scored the 52-yard touchdown on the game's final play. He's now settled in at No. 10, which he should have all to himself, that is, unless freshman receiver A.J. Love shows major progress and sheds his redshirt. By now, Love might have a new number as well ...