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Leavitt: Freshman WR Griffin 'clearly a starter'



USF freshman receiver Sterling Griffin continues to impress coaches, enough so that USF coach Jim Leavitt said after Friday's practice that he is "clearly a starter," eight days before the opener against Wofford.

"He is one of the best freshman receivers we've ever had around here," Leavitt said. "He hasn't played in a game yet, so we're just talking about practice. It's hard to come in here and do what he's done for a freshman. So far, he's done very well."


Leavitt also had praise for newcomers Kayvon Webster, Sam Barrington and Jason Pierre-Paul ("he's really coming on, getting real hungry, and you could see it today"), as well as defensive ends Ryne Giddins and Julius Forte.

Leavitt said the coaches haven't completely decided which freshmen are likely to redshirt this fall, noting that linebacker DeDe Lattimore, expected to redshirt, had a strong practice Friday. Leavitt said he expects tight end Isaac Virgin to play as a true freshman this fall.

"(Safety) Victor Marc has had more interceptions than any other defensive back in our camp. He wants to play," Leavitt said.

-- We've written how the starting offensive line is nearly set -- left tackle Jeremiah Warren, left guard Chaz Hine, center Sampson Genus and right guard Zach Hermann -- with Jake Sims and Mark Popek battling at right tackle. Leavitt said the next tier of linemen are Jamar Bass and Danous Estenor, who could both play tackle or guard, and center Kevin McCaskill.

-- Leavitt said walk-ons Eric Schwartz and Renato Proia are competing for kickoff duties, should Delbert Alvarado not handle that in addition to punts, field goals and extra points. "Probably Schwartz," he said.

-- The combination of midday heat and the first week of school has the team has the team plenty tired. "They're beat like dogs right now," Leavitt said. "They're tired. It was hot and they were tired, so I thought 'Let's do some more running,'  and we did. They handled it real well." Bass was hot and tired enough that Leavitt had him take a cart off the field. "He told me 'Coach, I don't want to get in this cart,' and I said 'Just get in there. You won't get many rides like this," Leavitt said.

-- If you check out the video clip of Leavitt's post-practice interview at, there's silliness to enjoy. Around the 2:45 mark, the offensive line runs past, and Leavitt has some friendly banter with freshman John McGhin about him losing weight.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:03pm]


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