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5

August

So, so much to write about. This has been a where-do-I-begin kind of day, which is to be expected with USF's first practice. As big a media turnout as I can remember for an August practice, with a dozen or so writers from newspapers from Miami to Fort Myers, Lakeland, Sarasota, Bradenton, all over.

Before I get going with football, I can report that women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has hired two assistants for his staff, bringing on board former Monmouth head coach Michele Baxter and Jacksonville assistant coach Andrea Williams. Both have coaching experience in Florida and ties to Fernandez -- I'll have more on them once the football stuff settles down sometime Tuesday. Onto the football ...

-- Biggest personnel news of the day? I think it'd have to be sophomore Sabbath Joseph opening camp with a firm grip on the starting strongside linebacker job. "It's his job to lose," defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said of the 6-foot, 230-pound Miami Central grad, who had 14 tackles in a reserve role last year. Junior Chris Robinson, touted as a potential starter earlier this summer, is working on the third team, a not-so-subtle message from coaches. "He didn't have a great summer," Burnham said. "We felt like the other two kids have worked harder and earned it. It's not all about ability. It's about work habits, too."

-- Most impressive thing I heard? Defensive backs coach Troy Douglas talked about starting corner Jerome Murphy and how much he benefited from staying in Tampa this summer instead of going home to New Jersey as he has in summers past. "I called his mama, said 'He can't come home.' His bench press went up, I think, 75 pounds. His 225 went up like 8 or 9 reps. He looks like a man."

-- Douglas, on the great promise and great inexperience of freshman corner George Baker: "He goes out there and in one-on-one, locks up (Carlton) Mitchell on a play. You can tell he's got it. But he doesn't even know how to put his pads on right now. He's got talent, but hopefully we'll be able to redshirt him. He's going to be a good player."

Raymond -- Yes, we have a full name for the new walk-on. His name is Mistral Raymond (left), and he's a 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety from Palmetto who spent the last two years at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa. Loyal blog readers will recall that's the same school that produced another new Bulls walk-on safety, Dexter Baldwin, as well as former USF running back Walt Smith. Raymond is from Palmetto, was a receiver in high school but I can't find any references to him anywhere. Anywhere! A basketball box score or two, that's it. Anyway, Raymond was Ellsworth's leading tackler last season with 62 tackles. I'll see if I can track down a coach or two on Tuesday; thanks to Ellsworth for the pic ...

-- More info on USF's newest commitment, tackle Kendall Kelly of Gainesville. How's this for jumping on a kid early: Kelly is coming to USF as an offensive tackle, but he's only played one year of high school football, and that was as a defensive lineman. Kelly didn't play as a freshman or sophomore at Gainesville Eastside, then made the football team as a junior at Gainesville. Showed enough in spring and at USF's "Super Bull" camp this summer that he was offered a scholarship, putting USF in rare company with Arkansas, Middle Tennessee and Ohio. Bigger programs were on him -- Florida, Florida State and Louisville, for instance -- but this is another kid where USF is identifying someone before he's really established himself as a proven high school star. "I feel my potential is high," said Kelly, who said he already has a bond with o-line coach Mike Simmonds. "I liked the coaches, and see it as an up-and-coming school," he said. "The location is like right down the street." Speaking of which, Kelly said his commitment to USF is a firm one, even if the Gators come calling down the road ...

-- Minor note, but quarterback Alton Voss, who said last month he was taking a year off from football, said Monday he will attend school at USF this fall; he'd considered taking classes at St. Petersburg College but will stay at USF. That's good news for the Bulls' Academic Progress Rate score, and leaves open the possibility that he might rejoin the team down the road. Speaking of quarterbacks not on the team, we'd told you in January about walk-on Adam Shaw, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Richmond. Talked to Shaw on Monday, and he's planning on trying to join the team in January, taking this fall off while he sits out a season following the transfer. Shaw is a friend of Sarasota prep quarterback Casey Kelly, who skipped a scholarship to Tennessee to sign with the Red Sox, and said he's been working with a pitching coach and plans to try to walk on to the baseball team this winter.

-- ESPNU released its "ESPNU 150" for the top 150 recruits in the nation, and USF commitment Victor Marc of Hallandale is on the list at No. 96. I'd link, but it's premium content ...

-- We'd reported earlier that first-year defensive line coach John Hendrick, recovering from a heart attack last month, has not yet been medically cleared to join the Bulls at practice. Here's Leavitt on his colleague: "John's a pretty special guy. I've known John a long time. John will be back when he's good and ready. He wants to be out. It's killing him right now, but until he gets cleared, just like anybody, you're not going to come out. We need him, there's no question. Kevin (Patrick) is doing a good job with the front four, but we'd sure love to have John out there, and we will, when things are right." I'll try to get a Leavitt transcript up in the morning ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:40pm]

    

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