A few more notes, then happy holidays ...
Few more things I want to get to before taking some time off for Christmas, and I'll start with recruiting. As first reported on USFnation.com, the Bulls are now in the hunt for Mike Hayes, one of the nation's top junior college running backs.
Hayes, 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds, had a strong sophomore year at Blinn College in Texas, rushing for 1,269 yards and 17 touchdowns. JCfootball.com, part of the Scout.com network, rates Hayes as a three-star running back, one of only seven in junior college football.
"Mike was a talented athlete, but his work ethic was what set him apart," said Jerry Long, his coach at East Bernard High, just outside Houston. "Everything he did was 110 percent, and he's a very strong kid, with real good speed and good hands."
Hayes said USF just started recruiting him in the last two weeks, and the Bulls are among four teams he's strongly considering, with Kansas State, Kansas and Southern Miss. He plans to visit Kansas State no Jan. 15, then will come to USF on Jan. 22 for what is shaping up to be the Bulls' key recruiting weekend. Hayes said USF coach Jim Leavitt offered him a scholarship over the phone, and he was impressed by an in-person meeting with USF running backs coach Carl Franks.
"It was by far the best meeting I've had with a Division I coach," Hayes said. "We didn't even talk that much about football. It was more about me and my grades. He was talking about me getting my degree, and that's the biggest thing for me."
-- There's a feature on Thursday's Times revisiting USF's new deal with Apple Inc. to outfit every student-athlete with a new laptop -- how much it's costing USF, why it's within the NCAA's regulations and why it's a program other colleges could be following soon.
-- Very happy to share this next link -- you might remember the story this summer about USF offensive line coach Mike Simmonds, who helped save an Orlando boy's life in a North Carolina river while vacationing with his family last summer.
The boy's father, Mike Grady, drowned saving his son's life, and his heroic story has made it all the way to Tennessee, where columnist Roy Exum of the Chattanoogan looked past Derek Jeter and other sports stars to name Grady as his Person of the Year.
-- Probably won't have any more posts until Sunday or Monday, but here's wishing everyone a safe, happy holiday -- thanks again for coming here throughout the year and joining in on the conversation. I look forward to more in 2010.