Perfect attendance: All signees, players in camp
USF's football players report for preseason camp tonight, and Bulls coach Skip Holtz was pleased to announce that everyone would be arriving as expected -- all signees qualified academically and no returning players were lost to grades or transfers since the end of spring drills.
"Everybody's in camp, which is not sexy and exciting. It's not great print to get all over the papers, but from a coaching standpoint, it's great stability to be able to have those same guys coming back," said Holtz, whose team will practice three days in Tampa before leaving Saturday for 12 days in Vero Beach.
The perfect attendance is a stark contrast to just two years ago, when seven Bulls signees never made it to campus as part of coach Jim Leavitt's final recruiting class.
"As I said in February when we signed this class, one of the things that excited me so much about it was the character, the academics, the type of people we had in this class," Holtz said. "I think it shows, in that here we are six months later, and every one of them is here reporting to school and has done what they were supposed to do."
Receiver Alex Mut of Punta Gorda, a signee who is recovering from knee surgery, will be a part-time student at USF this fall and join the team in January. The Bulls also added a scholarship transfer this summer in former Florida receiver Chris Dunkley, who will sit out the 2011 season and have three years of eligibility at USF.
-- Only two scholarship players will miss the start of camp with injuries. Tight end Jeff Hawkins will miss the 2011 season after tearing an ACL in a voluntary workout last month, and Holtz said that redshirt freshman offensive lineman Jake Kaufman, who underwent back surgery this spring, will be held out of preseason practice. He will be re-evaluated closer to the start of football season and might be headed for a medical scholarship, which would mean an end to his playing days. Hawkins will travel to Vero as part of the team even though he cannot practice; Kaufman will not be with the team in Vero.
-- Holtz said he expects a major impact from his incoming recruiting class, with as many as seven or eight newcomers playing this fall. That could include as many as two true freshmen on the offensive line (Max Lang and Thor Jozwiak have been mentioned), receivers Andre Davis and/or Ruben Gonzalez, tight end Tye Turner, running back Willie Davis, defensive tackle Elkino Watson, cornerback Kenneth Durden and safety Chris Garye.
-- There were no surprises among the new preferred walk-ons who joined the program last month with the freshmen -- there are three, in kicker Mattias Ciabatti (Hillsborough) and offensive linemen Jake Smith (Bloomingdale) and Mak Djulbegovic (Carrollwood Day).
-- We haven't gotten updated heights and weights for players, but Holtz said even though he has that information, he isn't yet sure if what he sees is a good thing or not: "You look and see a guy's gained 10 pounds," Holtz said. "Did his pants size go up 4 inches or did his jacket size go up 4 inches? Where did he do it? I'm really anxious to see where this team is and the strides and improvements some of the guys made strength-wise, conditioning-wise, body-wise this summer."
-- Holtz said the Bulls will have full two-a-day practices just twice in preseason, making full use of non-contact walkthroughs that are allowed in mornings to be paired with standard practices in afternoons. USF will use the full allowable 29 practices between now and the Sept. 3 opener at Notre Dame.