Position changes, recruiting notes and more ...
Again, a lot to get to with the St. Petersburg Bowl now just one day away. Both teams have finished practices for the game and will have walkthroughs at Tropicana Field today to get a better feel for the arena and how it will play on Saturday afternoon. Onto the links ...
-- We had a story today in our Tampa Bay metro section on the bowl and how it's been received nationally. Foxsports.com ranked it last among the 34 bowl games, and SI.com had it in its bottom five, but the teams involved are confident the bowl can succeed and grow from this first game.
-- We told you last week that defensive tackle Sampson Genus has been given the option by coach Jim Leavitt to shift back to offensive line, and there's another minor position change I can report: True freshman John Lejiste, who has worked as a cornerback this fall, will shift to safety as one of four players vying for two starting jobs. Nate Allen, who will be a senior in 2009, would seem to have the free safety job locked up, with rising sophomores Jerrell Young and Charlton Sinclair and Lejiste the top candidates to replace Carlton Williams and Louis Gachette at strong safety.
-- Meant to get this up earlier in the week, but I can confirm another commitment to USF's incoming recruiting class: defensive tackle Khyri Thornton, a teammate of Jeremiah Warren's at Bay High in Panama City who signed with FSU last season but did not qualify academically. He's at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, and his coach at Bay, Mike Healey, confirmed he's headed to USF.
Thornton has some ridiculous measurables -- he's 6-4 and 322 pounds, but Healey said he's been electronically timed at 4.82 seconds in the 40 and has a "verified" 37-inch vertical leap. If either figure is close to being true, he'll be one of the best athletes on USF's defensive line next season.
Thornton is the fourth lineman in the past year who either signed or played at Florida State but is now committed to playing for the Bulls in the fall, joining DT Jatavious Jackson, who is redshirting this season, DT Anthony Hill, who signed with FSU in February but will now join the Bulls next month, and OT Daron Rose, a former starter for the Seminoles who plans on enrolling at USF next summer.
-- USF has lost out on a local recruit to Lane Kiffin's new staff at Tennessee, as Sarasota Booker defensive lineman Arthur Jeffrey has chosen the Vols over the Bulls, according to GoVolsxtra.com.
-- ESPN.com's Bruce Feldman has picked the Bulls to win, 35-17, over Memphis, meaning the Bulls would cover their two-touchdown spread as favorites.
-- As quarterback/guard B.J. Daniels continues his two-sport exploits for Stan Heath this weekend, there's an interesting story at Arkansas, where one of Heath's former players, Marcus Monk, is rejoining the basketball team after being drafted by the Chicago Bears as as receiver. Monk was cut by the Giants in September, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a basketball coach with more history with football players -- Antonio Gates at Kent State, Matt Jones and Monk at Arkansas, now Daniels at USF ...