Notes: Cornerback Baker impresses DBs coach
Quenton Washington and Kayvon Webster will enter the fall as USF's starting cornerbacks, but sophomore George Baker has made an impression on defensive backs coach Rick Smith, enough so that he put Baker on USF's first-team defense this week to see how he'd handle the promotion.
"George Baker has made tremendous strides in the last five or six practices," Smith said. "I moved him up to the first team. Just wanted to see how he would respond to being a starter. Kayvon did nothing wrong. (Baker) has done extremely well. He's made the most improvement in the last five days of anybody."
Sophomore Daniel Bryant, who made the full-time switch from receiver just this spring, has also solidified himself as USF's fourth cornerback.
"Daniel has made strides. The first two weeks of practice, man, zone, they were all the same, every coverage," he said. "He's now understanding ... We've got four guys I think we can play with."
-- Tyson Butler, who hasn't practiced this spring as he recovers from a knee injury, has a chance to prove himself as the fifth cornerback this summer. "And maybe we wouldn't play (true freshman) Terrence (Mitchell)," Smith said. "But again, Terrence will have an opportunity. If he's better than Tyson, then he's the fifth guy."
-- Smith said he also has four safeties he's confident in -- Mistral Raymond, Jerrell Young, Jon Lejiste and JaQuez Jenkins. The fifth, surprisingly, will be a true freshman this fall, he said.
"I'm counting on Mark Joyce or Reshard Cliett," he said. "One of them will probably have to come in and be our fifth guy. You have to travel with five."
-- What's unspoken there is that junior safety Charlton Sinclair hasn't shown much this spring. During stretching at the start of practice Wednesday, Sinclair was lined up in the fourth row of defensive backs, behind some of the walk-ons who joined the team this spring. Sinclair was ineligible last season, but it looks right now like he won't be more than a special-teams player this fall, if that.
-- We've mentioned that running back Jamar Taylor is being held out of spring drills to focus on academics, and he's not the only one. Redshirt freshman Ricardo Dixon, who was to be limited this spring recovering from shoulder surgery, has been held out since the first week of spring football, spending practice time in study hall in USF's academic center instead.