Bulls get commitment from big tackle Savala
It's not often USF travels across the country for a player, so it's big news that Bulls coach Jim Leavitt and receivers coach Mike Canales are flying back from Los Angeles with heavy cargo in tow: a commitment from 6-foot-7, 305-pound tackle Carlos Savala from the College of the Desert.
Savala, who had Hawaii and Kansas among his finalists, committed during a home visit from Leavitt and Canales. He'll help the Bulls at a key position, as USF graduated four senior starters from this year's line. He and former FSU tackle Daron Rose will be impact newcomers on a new line this fall. I'll remind you guys that the Times' Brian Landman reported in December that Rose would have to sit out the first three games of the 2009 season at USF as a result of NCAA violations committed while at Florida State.
Savala is rated as a three-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, and his commitment should help the Bulls rise even higher in the national recruiting rankings. He's the second junior college commitment the Bulls have added this week, following linebacker Jacquian Williams of Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.
Savala will also be just the third USF football player from California -- USF's all-time roster shows defensive tackle Matt Groelinger (San Diego) and offensive lineman Jason Lehman (Los Angeles).
NO WORRIES: Linebacker Chase Griffiths of Tallahassee North Florida Christian said a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he was making a visit to Tulane next weekend is incorrect.
Griffiths said he has no plans to visit Tulane or any other school and remains firmly committed to signing with USF on Feb. 4.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: A 2-5 start in Big East play has taken USF squarely off the NCAA Tournament bubble, according to ESPN.com's "Bracketology" projections.
The Bulls were a No. 10 seed in last month's bracket, but now Charlie Creme has just seven Big East teams making the cut, with two more (Seton Hall, Syracuse) among the final cuts. The Bulls are 1-5 against teams in their NCAA field, with just a win against Texas Tech. Saturday's loss to Georgetown was their only loss against a team not projected by ESPN to make the NCAAs.
USF sits 13th in the league standings, needing to win six of its remaining nine league games to salvage a .500 record in conference play. But four of those remaining games are against Big East teams projected to make the tournament (Notre Dame and Marquette at home, with Rutgers and DePaul on the road) and two other games against bubble teams in Syracuse and Seton Hall. In short, it'll take considerable improvement for the Bulls to avoid their fifth trip to the Women's NIT in six years.