Leavitt on Pierre-Paul and other notes ...
First, a note from Tuesday's football practice from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic ...TAMPA -- USF coach Jim Leavitt’s advice to junior defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is drawing high pre-NFL Draft marks this winter, is to be patient and “don’t worry about the things you can’t control.”
Leavitt said he’s had discussions with Pierre-Paul, who has submitted his name to the NFL’s advisory board for underclassmen, about entering the NFL draft. He said Pierre-Paul is “playing at a higher level than I’ve ever seen him.”
“He’ll make good decisions, whatever it is,” Leavitt said Tuesday. “I’ve talked to him a bunch about it, and I know he’ll trust me and I’ll give him my thoughts. He knows that I’m not looking out for (NFL scouts).”
In six months, Pierre-Paul has risen from a junior college transfer with no summer workouts at USF to a projected first-round pick — most recently receiving high remarks from ESPN’s draft analyst Todd McShay, who said Pierre-Paul was “a very disruptive player” on a teleconference Tuesday.
Pierre-Paul, 6 feet 6 and 265 pounds, was named to the 2009 All-America team by Pro Football Weekly, leading the Bulls with 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks this season. Leavitt is advising Pierre-Paul, who has until Jan. 15 to make a decision, to wait and see what the advisory board says.
“The advice I give him? Train his butt off in the weight room and play well and control things you can control,” Leavitt said. “The other things will work out.”
-- Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis, projected as potential top-15 pick, announced Tuesday that he's skipping his senior year to enter the draft. It's the third year in a row that Rutgers lost an offensive standout to the draft, following running back Ray Rice in 2007 and receiver Kenny Britt in 2008.
-- We told you last week about all five Rivals bowl pickers taking USF to beat Northern Illinois, but nearly the opposite is true at CBSsports.com, where four of five pickers are taking NIU. And remember how 92 percent of Yahoo users were picking USF to win, the second-largest majority in 34 bowls? The team that had the biggest majority picked to win was ... Fresno State, which lost to Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl. And 85 percent picked Southern Miss ... which lost to Middle Tennessee State in its bowl.