Magazine skips USF, Grothe on Florida cover
We've written about the high expectations Phil Steele has for USF, with a No. 26 preseason ranking predicting the first-ever 10-win season for the Bulls, but you wouldn't know it from the cover of his national preview magazine in Florida stores.
Most preview magazines have Florida's Tim Tebow on their regional covers, which makes sense given that he's already won two national championships and a Heisman Trophy -- he's recognized on a level far above any other returning college football player in the state, if not the entire nation. Phil Steele's Florida cover, however, spreads the wealth a bit more with pictures of three quarterbacks: Tebow, Florida State's Christian Ponder and Miami's Jacory Harris.
And no Matt Grothe. Steele expects big things from Miami, ranking the Hurricanes No. 21 nationally, but Harris has just two career starts in one year of college football, while Grothe has 38 career starts. Ponder is a bit more established with 13 starts last season, but it's a cover that shows the state's traditional "Big Three" is still a perception the Bulls still have to change. Games against Florida State and Miami this fall are an opportunity to do that, or to validate what is already perceived.
The Sporting News national preview magazine, which has 16 regional covers, has a tiny pic of USF's George Selvie in the lower right corner with Miami's Sean Spence, with Tebow getting the main image. You can see a picture of the Florida cover here.
I don't know that I'll be posting much this weekend -- headed over with my family to see my parents, brother and sister. Here's a few notes and links though ...
-- Walk-on linebacker Lucas Darr, a key special-teams player who missed most of the 2008 season with an ankle injury, has rejoined the team after a successful rehabilitation. Darr, a junior from Countryside who started his college career at N.C. State, wasn't with the Bulls during spring football but is practicing with the team again this summer and could help on special teams again this fall.
-- It comes at the cost of a key recruit, but the news that defensive tackle Khyri Thornton wasn't admitted to USF despite being cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse is a boost to USF's academic reputation. There's a default perception that talented athletes who meet the NCAA requirements are a lock to get into college programs. Thornton is visiting Southern Miss this weekend and could end up there, but what's curious is the BCS-level programs calling with interest in signing him -- without naming names, some prominent Big Ten and ACC programs have joined the hunt in the last few days. We'll check up with Thornton next week for more details ...
-- USF sophomore outfielder Ryan Lockwood and his brother Nick, who has signed to play for the Bulls next season, made the national draft roundup at MLB.com after both were selected this week.
-- We've written about summer college baseball, but did you know there is summer women's college soccer? Several USF players are in the W-League, part of USL Soccer. The Tampa Hellenic roster includes three Bulls -- goalkeeper Mallori Lofton-Malachi, Jenna Ball-Bush and Angelique Waller, and former Bulls standout Michelle Buskey plays for the Atlanta Silverbacks.
-- That's not to be confused with the Women's Premier Soccer League, which has four teams in Florida. The closest team is the Clearwater Galactics Amazons, which has six Bulls -- Brittany Burt, Ellycia Colon, Brittany Pilon, Noelle Pineiro, Thara Salam and Tabitha Schofield. Chantelle Goodson, Malaney Hupp, Amanda McCormick and Valorie O'Brien play for the Sanford-based Florida Surge, while Kristin Chenault plays for Miami Kickers FC.
-- Women's soccer, by the way, has filled its coaching staff with the hiring of Adam Sayer, a native of England who last coached at Middle Tennessee. He'll work with USF's goalkeepers, and there's a good Q&A with him on USF's official site.
-- I haven't been able to reach USF senior catcher Trey Manz, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, but his hometown paper, the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, was able to reach him for a story in Friday's paper.
-- Just a reminder you can follow this blog on Twitter.com -- up to more than 350 followers now, so thanks to you readers already on board ...