Another new walk-on: Kissimmee safety Patrice Pierre
We've tracked down another new preferred walk-on from the 105 players who reported for the start of preseason practice Wednesday: Patrice Pierre, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound freshman safety from Liberty High in Kissimmee.
"I really think he's going to excel," said Doug Nichols, his coach at Liberty for three years. "He was very overlooked. Just a big, rangy kid, and over-the-top guy, very physical."
Pierre -- his first name is a masculine name in French, and his parents are from Haiti -- had offers from small out-of-state schools, Nichols said, but did some research and discovered that it would only cost him about $1,700 a year to attend USF because he had a Bright Futures scholarship, thanks to a 3.7 grade-point average.
Liberty opened when Pierre was a sophomore, and Nichols said he was a team leader from the start -- known as "Spider-Man" because of the way he would catch opposing runners that seemed to run past other would-be tacklers. Nichols said Michigan State recruited Pierre, but never offered him a scholarship. He was an honorable mention Class 4A all-state as a senior, and made the Osceola News-Gazette's all-county first team, as well as the All-Orange Belt Conference first team.
So rounding up the new freshman walk-ons this fall: quarterback Bobby Eveld, tight ends Tyler Guy and Jake Carlton, receivers Stephen Bravo-Brown and Jordan Duval, linebacker Ruben Garcia, kicker Marvin Kloss and Pierre. We could see more on Aug. 23 when USF expands its roster from the initial 105 to 115.
Lots more to come tonight and Thursday morning -- still want to get Holtz's first comments about his new transfers, as well as comments from both coordinators Wednesday ...