Five more signees still in academic limbo
Jim Leavitt isn't threatening to leave his school as South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier did, but the Bulls coach could be facing a similar problem: three USF signees have been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, Leavitt said, but have yet to be accepted by USF academically.
The three -- safety Jerrell Young, defensive lineman Kyle Dampier and linebacker Keith McCaskill -- are on USF's roster and could be admitted to school this week. Two more freshmen, defensive tackle Corian Garrison and defensive back Charlton Sinclair, have not yet been cleared by the NCAA, though Leavitt was optimistic.
"You want them out there, but I'm not admissions," Leavitt said. "I don't do that, and I have to respect the position our university is in. I just have to hope that they'll give them an opportunity to go to school here. I don't control any of that."
USF has already lost five signees who did not qualify academically -- defensive end Claude Davis, running back Josh Bellamy, linebacker Calvin Sutton, offensive lineman Lawrence McCoy and tight end Kevenski McGee. Leavitt had signed more players than he had room for, knowing from the start that some would not qualify. Garrison will miss this season as he recovers from surgery last month to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Leavitt said he understood Spurrier's frustration, knowing that coaches promise recruits they'll have a place on campus if they can meet the NCAA requirements for eligibility.
"I can understand why it's frustrating," Leavitt said. "You go out and recruit ... they turn down a lot of offers. These guys turn down a lot of opportunities at different places, so we're hopeful. I'm not in any position like (Spurrier). He's got to talk for himself. I have my own things to deal with here. I know our admissions and our university is doing what they think is best, they're looking at it thoroughly, all those things. Hopefully, we'll get some positive information on it."
A year ago, USF initially had nine signees fail to qualify academically, though three of those later qualified and joined the program on scholarship in January. Young was a 2006 signee as well and practiced Monday in streetclothes, hopeful of being able to join his teammates in uniform.