Good news: McClain, Young join Bulls
USF's final practice before normal game-week preparations begin Monday brought long-awaited news: freshman defensive tackle Terrell McClain returned to practice after he was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, and freshman safety Jerrell Young joined the team after being accepted into USF.
For Young, who will wear a No. 1 jersey for the Bulls, it's been a long time coming. Young signed with USF in February 2006 out of Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg and has spent much of the last year retaking entrance exams to meet entrance requirements at USF. He was cleared by the NCAA this summer but didn't get the official word from USF until Friday, allowing him to join the team. Young will likely redshirt this fall, but coaches have high expectations for him down the road.
McClain is a welcome addition on defensive line, and he's in strong position to play this fall as a true freshman, challenging for a top backup spot on the depth chart. With three of the current top four interior linemen -- Richard Clebert, Allen Cray and Julian Riley -- all seniors, McClain could play a major role in 2008, alongside young tackles like Aaron Harris and Brandon Peguese. And for the record, he's already earned a nickname on the team: "Dancing Bear."
As expected, quarterback Matt Grothe was held out of practice for the fifth day in a row since he suffered a hip injury in Monday's practice. Coaches expect him to return to practice Monday and to be fully healthy in time to start next week's season opener against Elon.
Offensive tackle Marc Dile, who went down Friday with what appeared to be a right ankle injury, was also held out of practice, but coaches don't expect him to miss significant time. Want a sense of how bad the injured players want to play? USF's starting offensive line was lining up for a drill at the start of practice -- senior Jared Carnes filling in for Dile at left tackle, junior Jake Griffin and redshirt freshman Zach Hermann at guards, senior Nick Capogna at center and walk-on redshirt freshman Jacob Sims at right tackle. At the last minute, senior Walter Walker ran up behind Sims and tapped him on the shoulder, jumping in to take his place just before the ball was snapped. They want to be on the field, even if it's just practice a week before a game ...