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Could Louisville take a second USF signee?



For the second time this fall, USF could see a signed football recruit end up playing for Big East rival Louisville.

Gerard Atkins, the tight end from Dixie Hollins who signed with USF in February, is a full NCAA qualifier, according to Dixie coach Mike Morey, but Atkins was not admitted by USF's academic committee for the fall semester.

Instead, Morey said Atkins was told he must take junior college classes this fall and if he can maintain a C average, he would be considered for January admission at USF. Morey said he's been contacted by Louisville, which has indicated it has a scholarship available and can get Atkins into school this fall. Louisville already has signed Wesley Chapel offensive lineman Kamran Joyer, who signed with the Bulls but was granted a release after academic issues put his admission to USF in jeopardy.

If a student-athlete is denied admission to a school, his national letter of intent is voided, meaning USF cannot stop him from signing anywhere he wants this fall. Morey said USF wants Atkins to attend Georgia Military College this fall -- as Dixie Hollins graduate Andre Hall did before starring at USF -- and would be able to play there on scholarship. Atkins could also take classes at Hillsborough Community College, where he could stay close to home and close to his Bulls teammates.

Morey said Atkins was in the process of verifying from USF that he has been released from his letter of intent, and only then can he talk with Louisville about playing there. Atkins' mother doesn't want to see him go to college far from home, but the chance to be in school this fall has Atkins considering Louisville as an option, Morey said.

Morey hasn't gotten a good answer as to why Atkins was denied admission to USF this fall, saying that his transcript shows better grades and test scores than previous Dixie Hollins graduates who have played for the Bulls.

Another Bulls signee who wasn't accepted, defensive tackle Khyri Thornton, has since signed with Southern Miss. In all, seven players of the 29 players who signed with USF did not make it to campus due to academic problems.

This isn't an oversigning problem -- USF isn't up against the overall limit of 85 scholarships, or the NCAA limit of 25 initial scholarships in a class.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:54pm]


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