Leavitt impressed with freshman DT Grissom
Which true freshman is most likely to avoid a redshirt and step in right away this fall? If Friday's practice is any indication, it might be defensive tackle Cory Grissom, who has made a quick impression on USF coach Jim Leavitt.
"There's no question that the kid Grissom was our best d-lineman probably today," Leavitt said. "He's a true freshman, and if he's that good, he may start for us. He was absolutely one of the best freshman d-linemen I've seen here in a long time. I don't like to give him too much credit. All the sudden tomorrow it might come out and be nothing, but if you just go by today, he's been a pleasant surprise. ... He tore it up today."
Grissom, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound freshman from LaGrange, Ga., wasn't the most anticipated of USF's new interior linemen, with freshmen Danous Estenor and Jatavious Jackson mentioned most often as players who could make an immediate impact. Defensive ends coach Kevin Patrick said Thursday that ends like Jarriett Buie will also get looks inside because the Bulls like quick interior linemen in their nickel package in likely passing situations.
-- And as we eluded to in any earlier post, offensive tackles Mark Popek and Damian Edwards -- who Leavitt consistently mentioned as possibilities to play this fall -- aren't working with the top two lines, suggesting they're likely to redshirt barring injuries. "We'd like to redshirt them if we can, but you don't know," Leavitt said, noting that freshman tight end Jeff Hawkins is likely to redshirt as well.
Junior Kion Wilson, looking healthy and strong after being sidelined much of spring, is getting a look as a potential starter at middle linebacker if senior Tyrone McKenzie were to slide back to strongside.
"(Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham) is trying both," Leavitt said. "We know McKenzie can play Sam. We've got to see what Kion can do. We know Tyrone can play the middle, but we want to see what Kion can do. We're trying to put our best combination together, so we're really looking at that."
Leavitt said that junior Chris Robinson, trying to get back to where he was when listed as the starting strongside linebacker earlier this summer, is "starting to make a move," though Robinson still looked to be working with the third team early in Friday's practice.
-- Leavitt confirmed the first early exit of fall drills, as freshman defensive end Josh Alston, a walk-on from Armwood, decided to leave the team. "He just said he really wasn't into it much in high school and he wasn't into it now," Leavitt said. "I said, 'Then why would you be out here?' It doesn't make any sense. If you're not into it, why would you spend another day of your life out here?"