Football notes: Two more walk-ons for USF o-line
The 105-player roster that USF coach Skip Holtz takes to Vero Beach in August is still being finalized, but we can confirm two more walk-ons that will be part of the 2012 Bulls team: center Hunter Clark of Miami Norland and guard Kyle Van Atta of Fort Walton Beach.
Both come with solid off-field credentials -- Clark, 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, was named the Miami Herald's 2011-12 All-Dade Boys' Scholar-Athlete after earning a 5.0 weighted grade-point average while anchoring the offensive line of a state championship team. And Van Atta, 6-4 and 285 pounds, was a leader for Fort Walton Beach's offensive line, bouncing back after a health scare last summer involving a seizure. He was part of Northwest Florida's Dandy Dozen recruits entering his senior year.
-- Athlon has its preseason All-Big East teams out -- just three, in an act of moderation -- and 14 Bulls made the cut, the most of any Big East team. (Seven are third-teamers, so for balance, we'll point out that three league schools had more picks on the first two teams.) Those honors include receiver Sterling Griffin, tackle Mark Popek, defensive end Ryne Giddins, linebacker DeDe Lattimore and kicker Maikon Bonani on the first team, and quarterback B.J. Daniels and cornerback Kayvon Webster on the second team. That big third-team contingent is running back Demetris Murray, tight end Evan Landi, guard Danous Estenor and tackle Quinterrius Eatmon, as well as defensive tackle Elkino Watson, linebacker Sam Barrington and safety Jon Lejiste on defense.
-- We've established that Phil Steele likes USF, picking the Bulls to win the Big East this fall, but he also has USF at No. 3 nationally on his most improved teams for 2012.
-- More summer-conversation fodder, as CBS' Dennis Dodd has rated every I-A head coach in terms of "hot seat" vulnerability, giving Holtz a middling score indicating "safe, but you never know." That's a reflection of USF's 1-6 Big East mark a year ago, but it's hard to imagine Doug Woolard making a change this winter, even if the Bulls continued to struggle.
-- Should have done more with this, but USF track standout Jared Thomas, competing at the U.S. Olympic trials in Oregon, took 15th in the discus on Monday night -- the top 12 of 24 advance to the finals, with the best three representing the U.S. in London in August.
-- Can USF's Augustus Gilchrist sneak into the NBA Draft's second round? It looks like he'll at least get a look in an NBA camp -- according to his Twitter updates, he's had workouts with the Kings, Suns, Bucks, Warriors and Grizzlies.