Hill injury could clear path for freshman Lee

17

April

Last week's injury to USF second-string defensive end Anthony Hill hits the Bulls at a position with little depth, but it could open immediate playing time for true freshman Eric Lee, who enrolled in January and has impressed coaches this spring.

"If I didn't know he was a freshman coming in, I'd think he had been here a couple of years. He should be going to prom here in the next month," defensive coordinator Chris Cosh said Monday. "He's really a mature young man, really takes coaching, plays hard. Just a great young man. He has a chance to play real early right now, with his physicality, the way he plays and his tempo. I really like where he's at right now."

Lee, who came to USF from Daphne, Ala., is listed at 6-foot-3, 234 pounds -- that's up 14 pounds from his signing-day weight in February -- and he could work himself into a backup role as the No. 4 defensive end, playing some special-teams roles as well.

USF has two solid returning ends in projected starters Ryne Giddins and Julius Forte, and another January addition in junior college transfer Tevin Mims, who could challenge for a starting role. With Hill out and redshirt freshman Clavion Nelson shifted inside to tackle, Lee is the only other scholarship player, and his experience this spring gives him an edge over fellow freshmen Guito Ervilus and Daniel Perry, who will enroll in July.

There's a similar depth issue at defensive tackle, where starter Cory Grissom is out an undetermined length of time after breaking a bone in his ankle Monday morning. That leaves a group of young, inexperienced options at defensive tackle -- junior Luke Sager and sophomore Elkino Watson would likely be the starters in Grissom's absence, with sophomore Todd Chandler and Nelson as the next tackles in.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 1:03pm]

    

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