Ocala kicker Lincoln to walk on with Bulls
USF has picked up another preferred walk-on for the 2012 season, as James Lincoln, a kicker and punter from Ocala's Trinity Catholic High, said Tuesday that he's accepted an offer to join the Bulls this fall.
"I love the Tampa area. I've grown up a fan of the Bulls, have been in love with them ever since I was a kid," said Lincoln, who carries a 4.1 core grade-point average and will have a Bright Futures academic scholarship at USF.
Lincoln was recruited by several BCS programs, with similar offers from schools like Florida, Iowa State, California and Auburn. Lincoln handled both kicking duties for Trinity Catholic last fall, going 8-for-10 on field goals with a season long of 45 yards. He said he averaged about 42 yards on punts as well and would be equally comfortable in either role at the college level.
"I like my chances a lot going there and becoming the starting kicker," said Lincoln, who was told by USF coaches that he would be with the team for preseason camp this summer. "When I get there on campus, I will try to make an impression and get on the field as soon as I can."
The Bulls have had good success in recent years with walk-on kickers -- Naples' Marvin Kloss earned the kickoff job last fall as a redshirt freshman, and another freshman, Hillsborough's Mattias Ciabatti, has a chance to earn the starting punting duties this spring after redshirting last fall. USF's primary kicker, Maikon Bonani, will be a senior this fall, leaving the field-goal job up for grabs in 2013.
Lincoln was actually a high school teammate of USF rising sophomore Chris Veron, having started his high school career at Ocala Forest, where Veron played. In addition to kicking, the 5-foot-11, 181-pound senior saw action at receiver and safety for Trinity Catholic. His older brother, Daniel, was a four-year starter at Tennessee from 2007-10, finishing his Vols career with 51 field goals.
USF also has a pair of quarterbacks who have accepted offers as preferred walk-ons in Tampa Jesuit's Tommy Eveld and Palmetto's Trenton Miller; Palmetto offensive lineman Trai Sanders is expected to do the same.