More banquet: Meet your USF Victors Club
We've mentioned this a bit during the season, but Skip Holtz has a cool honor for his football players each week, giving those who grade out with "winning performances" and play significant snaps a spot in his "Victors Club," a weekly honor whether the team wins or loses. At Saturday's banquet, he and his assistants announced the players who made it in the club at least eight times in USF's 13 games, unveiling the 32 players who make up his Victors Club for the 2010 season.
It's an interesting list -- 10 players made it strictly on offense, 13 on defense, with nine players getting in all or mostly for special-teams contributions. You can read a little into the players who weren't mentioned, but it also stands out that 20 of the 32 players will be back next season, and only seven of those will be seniors. Here's the rundown:
Four of the five starting offensive linemen were honored -- senior center Sampson Genus, senior tackle Jake Sims and junior guards Chaz Hine and Jeremiah Warren. Hine logged 801 snaps, Warren 830 and Sims led the way on the line. The Bulls' top tight end/fullbacks, seniors Kevin Gidrey and Richard Kelly, made the list, as did the two primary ballcarriers at running back, senior Mo Plancher and sophomore Demetris Murray. Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch, in announcing the running backs, called Murray "a central figure, leadership wise" in USF's future. Rounding out the offense were USF's top two receivers this season, senior Dontavia Bogan and sophomore Evan Landi.
Three defensive ends led the way -- seniors Craig Marshall and David Bedford, as well as junior Patrick Hampton, who got work at both end spots and started when Marshall was injured. The Bulls' two starting defensive tackles, senior Terrell McClain and sophomore Cory Grissom, made the cut, and assistant coach Kevin Patrick said Keith McCaskill finished the year with a great three-game stretch. In all, seven linebackers were honored, but we'll save three for the special-teams nods. In celebrating sophomores Sam Barrington and Michael Lanaris and redshirt freshman DeDe Lattimore, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said "You're looking at our future right here," and it's clear linebacker should be a position of strength in 2011. Senior Jacquian Williams, who also took home defensive MVP honors, was also honored.
All four starters in the defensive secondary made the Victors Club, and assistant Rick Smith talked about how he likes to set the bar for his players to tackle at an 85 percent success rate. Of the four DBs honored on defense, junior safety Jerrell Young had the best mark at 89 percent (39 tackles in 44 attempts), followed by junior cornerback Quenton Washington (83 percent), senior corner Mistral Raymond (81) and safety Jon Lejiste (76). Sophomore corner Kayvon Webster, who made the list by getting 12 weekly honors on special teams, also made it four times on defense, and he tackled at an 89 percent success rate. Smith said that Washington "improved more in one season than anyone I've ever coached," and talked about the need for Webster (or others) to step up as a starter with Raymond graduating.
Coordinator Vernon Hargreaves started with junior long-snapper Mike Walsh and sophomore kicker Maikon Bonani, then the two return specialists, true freshman Terrence Mitchell (punts) and sophomore Lindsey Lamar (kickoffs). Lamar, of course, was Big East Special Teams Player of the Year, and Mitchell was a consensus pick on national Freshman All-America teams. Another true freshman, safety Mark Joyce, made the club on special teams, as did Webster. There was high praise for sophomore linebacker Armando Sanchez, who won the Iron Bull (MVP) for special teams, and senior Donte Spires and junior Curtis Weatherspoon were also honored.
Lots more to come, as well as recruiting news ...