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Morsels of news from the 500 Club



I say, with a certain amount of pride, that I reached a milestone last week: 500 contacts plugged into my cellphone. That is also to say that I reached the maximum number of contacts my crappy, call-dropping phone can store, so I've spent much of the past week calling people I haven't called in a while. If I find the number is no longer in service, I can delete the contact and free up a new spot; if the number's still good, it's a chance to learn something from someone, which is always good in my job.

Independent of all this, I have news of the first USF cut from the NFL ranks this summer: safety Jeremy Burnett was released by the Minnesota Vikings. For any Bulls rookies not named Stephen Nicholas, it's going to be tough to make it past the first wave of August cuts. I haven't seen a single thing written about Thed Watson since he signed in Carolina, though there's promising signs that Ean Randolph will have a shot at making the Chiefs as a return specialist. Now, to things I learned from my contacts ...

-- Remember Robert Spann? The linebacker from St. Petersburg High accepted a scholarship offer to USF and committed as part of its 2006 class but didn't qualify academically. He went to Merced College in California and played last fall, then transferred this spring to Mississippi Gulf Coast College. Talked to him Wednesday, and he said he'll attend Fresno City College in San Francisco, and he'll redshirt this year (because you must have a certain number of credits on campus to be able to play) and play there in 2008. Why do you care? Because he said he's stayed in contact with Jim Leavitt, talked to him last week even, and his intent is to be at USF in January 2009 with two years of eligibility left.

-- Remember Ishmeal Grant? Receiver from Blountstown, great return threat, signed in 2005 but didn't make grades. He spent last fall at Pearl River Community College -- I swear I write more about that program than the local paper in Mississippi does. Anyway, I talked to him this week, and he said he was injured when he was hit by a drunk driver in February -- nothing life-threatening, but enough that he had to drop his spring classes. He, too, is trying to get an associate of arts degree with an eye on returning to USF. He's in regular communication with receivers coach Mike Canales, so don't be surprised if his name comes up again down the road.

-- Thought I was already obscure? The Lakeland Thunderbolts of the American Indoor Football Association play for a league championship Saturday against the Reading (Pa.) Express. Both my parents are from Reading, by the way, but I write this note because three former USF players -- (in descending order of relevance) Terrence Royal, Antonio Searcy and Shelly Houston -- are on the Thunderbolts roster. And the conference championship in Lakeland drew about 2,000 fans, according to the Ledger, but I'm curious how many fans show for Saturday's game, which is played ... in Florence, S.C. ...

-- One last football note. I'd reported earlier that receiver Amp Hill's future was "up in the air" according to Leavitt, and I get enough conflicting information that I believe that's still the case. But he was working out with his teammates at Wednesday's voluntary practice, and he told me he's done what he needed to do to be part of the team this fall. It's just him saying that, but figured I'd update ...

-- Baseball: Remember how Yuri Higgins pitched a gem in the Big East tournament, holding Connecticut to two hits in seven innings in a season-ending 2-0 loss? Turns out he did it with a broken wrist. On his glove hand, mind you, but still courageous. Blog readers who followed USF's baseball team better than I did will know Higgins saw spot action as a defensive replacement in the outfield, and he said he broke his wrist diving for a ball in the outfield just before a game with Seton Hall two weeks before the Big East tournament. So while he's in Arizona, training with the Cubs, who took him in the 38th round, he said they won't assign him to a team until he's healthy, and he still faces about three weeks in a cast, then is likely to stay in Mesa with the Cubs' rookie-league team there.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:30am]


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