Dawsey, Clark happy to stay at USF
It is certainly nice to be able to talk with assistant coaches again.
I've been trying to take some vacation days in the last week or two, but was able to answer one lingering question after Monday's practice: USF receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey says he's not interested in joining the coaching staff at his alma mater, Florida State.
His name has been bandied about since Jeff Bowden got his $537,000 buyout, leaving an opening after more potential coaching shakeups in Tallahassee. Here's Dawsey verbatim on the issue:
"I've been getting a lot of the rumor mill going on, but there ain't nothing to that. This has been home since '91, since I got drafted. Most definitely. I'm happy. I've got no complaints."
To shoot down another one before it makes the hypothetical rounds: You could argue that first-year defensive line coach Bernard Clark would be a viable candidate for Miami's defensive coordinator job, vacated when Randy Shannon was promoted to head coach. Clark played with Shannon at Miami for three years and was defensive coordinator at Florida International in Miami before he came to USF this season. He too said Monday he's happy to be at USF, saying he'd left a message on Shannon's cellphone to congratulate him but otherwise hadn't talked to him since he got the Hurricanes job.
"I'm happy here. Everything's going well. We had a great year, bowl year. I haven't talked to anybody, contacted anybody. Being around my mother and father and stuff like that, that has a lot to do with it. My wife loves being back home."
"We're close, but I haven't talked with Randy. He got there in '84, I got there in '85. He's 40, I'm 39. I'm sure Randy's not even thinking about this until after they play their bowl game. That's what the situation boils down to. I haven't talked to anybody and I'm happy where I'm at."
More intriguing news: Some Bulls fans might remember the name Tyrone McKenzie from the summer of 2005, when the former Riverview standout considered transferring to USF from Michigan State. He wound up at Iowa State, where he racked up 129 tackles this fall as a sophomore, ranking eighth in the nation and earning second-team All-Big 12 honors (9.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles).
Here's the scoop: McKenzie is transferring closer to home due to a family illness, and USF has gotten a release from Iowa State and is actively recruiting him. He's already sat out one season from his last transfer, so it's huge that he might be able to land a hardship waiver allowing him to play immediately, rather than sit out another season, which would leave him with only one year of eligibility. USF is a good match, then, for two reasons: the Bulls have one opening for a starting linebacker, and he really can't play the need-to-get-close-to-home card any more convincingly than with the Bulls. He's 6-2, 230 pounds, put up some insane numbers with the Cyclones and could be on campus next month. He played middle linebacker at Iowa State but would move outside at USF, where Ben Moffitt will return as a senior in the middle in 2007. Nothing's official until McKenzie sets foot on campus, but it's looking good for the Bulls right now.
We'd told you a while back about South Sumter star Jarrod Fleming, who plans to enroll in January and walk on with the Bulls, and Fleming told me this weekend that another local from the Naval Academy Prep School (NAPS) is also planning on returning home and walking on with the Bulls. It's former Plant City quarterback Jason Brown -- speedy, athletic kid, but was listed at or about 5-foot-8, 160 pounds in high school, which realistically limits him to receiver or returns on the major-college level. Haven't been able to reach Brown myself, but it's another promising walk-on to watch.
One more note: former USF quarterback Carlton Hill, who helped Pearl River Community College to the national juco championship game this weekend, said Sunday he will not return to USF in January, though he is still considering returning to the Bulls next fall.
Hill could have rejoined the Bulls after one semester, but said he wants to get his associate of arts from Pearl River, something he said he can do by the end of next summer, which would give him two years of eligibility at the Division I level. Hill said he has no idea what he wants to do, said he has kept in semi-regular contact with USF coaches and wouldn't rule out a return. He isn't sure what position he wants to play, how big a school he wants to transfer to, lots of questions to be answered between now and next fall. Again, I hear nothing but high praise for Donte Spires, the former USF signee who played his first season at Pearl River this fall and will join the Bulls next summer with three years of eligibility.
I'd reported here last week that walk-on running back Shawn Cannon was no longer on USF's football team, but he is in fact still on the roster and was wearing a No. 5 jersey Monday as part of the Bulls' scout-team efforts. I apologize for the error there, and can also report that redshirt freshman Danny Tolley was getting reps as the first-team right tackle Monday, with Marc Dile on the left side. Offensive coordinator Rod Smith said it was just a case of giving younger players more reps during the bowl preparations.
Speaking of which, Dawsey had high praise for his redshirting freshmen, led by Carlton Mitchell and Jason Sherman. He said the four freshmen (with Ed Alcin and A.J. Love) will push the returning veterans in the spring, as will sophomore Jessie Hester, who redshirted this season. Dawsey said Hester's redshirting had much to do with wanting to put more weight on his frame, and the year off has helped him put on about 10 pounds, putting him up around 175. Hester has the speed to join Taurus Johnson as the receivers who will take over for the graduating Ean Randolph, with Mitchell and Sherman among the leaders to step in at senior S.J. Green's position.