Football news and notes ...
Lots of little things to get to with football, and I'll start with an odd update on former USF quarterback Carlton Hill.
Last we'd checked in with Hill, he had finished a semester at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi, intending on taking classes this spring at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, then returning to USF this fall. Last week, he was arrested on campus by USF police on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing after warning, a charge he's optimistic will eventually be dropped.
You'll remember that Hill was arrested in June on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana, and that charge contributed to his leaving USF to play last fall at Pearl River, knowing he could return as early as January. The charge was dropped by prosecutors in December, but USF police had filed the trespass warning last summer, as is often the case when a student is arrested but leaves school without meeting with the student judicial affairs board. Logically, since the charge that spawned the trespass was dropped, the trespass might be gone as well, but the trespass stands until someone takes action to lift it.
Hill told me he was a passenger in a friend's car, and the friend was dropping off some food at a girlfriend's place on campus, and the car was pulled over for a traffic stop. Hill said he was aware of the trespass, but again, is confident the charge will be dropped. He's not signing with the Bulls this week, by the way, but said he has every intention of rejoining the team this summer. He'll come in as a safety, he says, but "if Coach Leavitt wants me to be a backup quarterback, I won't say no."
Lots of speculation about these last two openings on Jim Leavitt's coaching staff -- receivers and defensive line, as well as two openings for grad assistants, which seem important since last year's GAs went on to be full-time assistants after just one year in college coaching. The most interesting name I've heard so far on the defensive line side is former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney. McCarney coached the Cyclones for 12 seasons, but he hasn't latched on with another job yet. He makes sense for a couple of reasons: first, he and Leavitt have known each other since they were on Hayden Fry's staff at Iowa back in 1989, and there's a mutual respect and friendship. McCarney had been linked to the Bucs' defensive line job last month, and you hear differing accounts as to whether he was offered the job or not, but he has a place in Sarasota, so the USF job would be a chance to stay in coaching, with a head coach and a location he knows he likes, and then the logic is he could go after big head-coaching jobs next off-season. He'd probably only make between $100,000 and $120,000 as a position coach at USF, but he's still getting paid from his Iowa State contract, so money shouldn't be an immediate concern. Again, I have not talked to McCarney myself, but I've talked to people on both sides of things and it seems a real possibility, and a strong hire if Leavitt can pull it off.
I get e-mails from fans about the vacancies, and two former players who were later offensive GAs are often mentioned -- Ryan Hearn, who is in his second season as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at the Citadel, and Chad Barnhardt, who is offensive coordinator at NAIA Webber International. Both make sense if Leavitt wants to stay in the USF family, as he did in promoting another former Bull, Larry Scott, to tight ends coach. Just speculation on my part, but one coach who would make sense is Pittsburgh's receivers coach, Aubrey Hill, a Florida graduate who was born in Miami and has done a good job helping to recruit the state of Florida for Dave Wannstedt. He was at Florida when Carl Franks coached there -- would be impressive if Leavitt can pluck a current Big East assistant out of an existing contract, the same way West Virginia got Rod Smith and Greg Frey from the Bulls. Again, just a potential match there, nothing where I've confirmed interest on either end. Oh, and while former USF defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz hasn't landed anywhere after not being retained at N.C. State, he told me last month he did not expect to return to USF after talking with Leavitt at the national coaches' convention in San Antonio, so you can scratch him off the list.
I'll have more on recruiting tonight or Tuesday, but I can update two names from last year's recruiting process. James Boger, the Dixie Hollins offensive lineman who signed with USF but quit after two days of summer conditioning, has landed at I-AA Georgia Southern, where he started classes last month. Another local recruit, former Armwood receiver Mat Brevi, who worked out with USF players last summer hoping to be a late addition to the recruiting class, has landed at Division II Fort Hays State in Kansas. Brevi was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, but couldn't get accepted into USF, declined again for spring classes, so he opted for the small-school route.