Notes and links: Big series ahead for baseball
No midweek game for USF baseball this week, but the Bulls have a key series at Rutgers, which is 7-2 and a game back of USF in the Big East standings.
USF coach Lelo Prado does a weekly video posting and mentions that outfielder Ryan Lockwood, who has missed four games since he fouled a ball off his knee last week, may miss the series. "I don't know if he'll be able to play this upcoming week," Prado said.
The Bulls swept Georgetown without him, with redshirt freshman Alex Mendez stepping in at center and in the leadoff spot. Mendez' .333 season on-base percentage isn't ideal, but he's hit .294 in four games since taking over for Lockwood. The Bulls will need some offense at Rutgers, which scored 25 in a win against Notre Dame over the weekend. (They've also given up 10 or more runs eight times this season).
-- We haven't talked much on women's basketball recruiting, but Jose Fernandez has a strong class coming in -- this week's additions will include Akila McDonald, a 6-foot-4 center from Georgia who talks about the Bulls in this Q&A with 4shotsports.com. With five seniors and Dominique English and Sequoyah Griffin not returning from their suspensions, Fernandez will have another deep class coming to campus.
-- If you watch Skip Holtz's comments after Saturday's scrimmage, check out the 4:30 mark, when Holtz, talking about the depth at running back, twice says he has "a junior college player and a freshman coming in" in the fall. USF, of course, signed two freshman running backs in Marcus Shaw and Tiger Powell, and while Holtz's comments could be an oversight, it could also be a nod to something we've mentioned since signing day, that Powell had a lot of work to do to meet the NCAA's minimum qualifying marks.
I talked to Powell's position coach at Lake City Columbia, former Bulls running back Quinton Callum, and he said that Powell is still trying to get his grades up, taking the ACT exam as recently as Saturday. If he doesn't qualify, however, they already have a contingency plan in place -- Powell has lined up a spot at Jones County Junior College in Mississippi, where Callum himself played before starring at USF. Not saying it's going to happen, but just saying it's a possibility.
-- Speaking of running backs, Mike Ford hasn't said much since his dismissal from USF's football team. From talking to his former coaches, it sounds like Ford is deciding between two options for his football future: entering the NFL's supplemental draft or transferring to Division II North Alabama, Terry Bowden's program, where he would be a senior this fall and would have a chance to show what he can do, albeit against lesser competition.
-- Links? NFL.com's Michael Lombardi has Jason Pierre-Paul going No. 10 to the Jaguars, calling him "a sensational player." (JPP is at the 2-minute mark in the video) ... Rick Gosselin of the Dallas News takes the popular route, pairing Pierre-Paul with the Titans at No. 16. ... The AJC's Tony Barnhart has a good writeup on USF and the transition to Skip Holtz.
-- More love for Dominique Jones, from ESPN's Jay Bilas ("one of the best scorers I saw all season") and Dick Vitale ... Probasketballtalk.com mentions there are "doubts he is athletic enough" for the NBA.