Post-graduate work: Gregory walks, then runs
USF coach Jim Leavitt had given junior quarterback Grant Gregory the day off Saturday with good reason: He was graduating after just three and a half years of college. But Gregory still managed to hurry over from the ceremonies for the final parts of Saturday's morning practice, impressing his coach along the way.
"That says a lot about Grant," said Leavitt, who also was proud to see junior receiver Marcus Edwards graduate Saturday after three and a half years at USF. Basketball players Kentrell Gransberry and Eddie Lovett were also among the graduates; we'll also congratulate Times correspondent Brendan Galella, who got his degree Saturday as well.
Lots of little things to catch up on, so I'll try to address a few here and will probably chime in again later today. I'm still trying to take some vacation, but have enough stories going this week where I'll wind up posting here at near-normal levels.
-- Former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, hired at Michigan, announced Monday that two of his Mountaineer assistants, including offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, a former USF assistant, have already agreed to join him in Ann Arbor. He hasn't mentioned former Bulls assistants Rod Smith and Greg Frey, though he indicated he might bring more of his old staff to Michigan, so it'll be interesting to see what they do. Smith has strong ties to West Virginia and could be retained by the new coach to ease the transition if the same offense is used; Frey only coached under Rodriguez for one season, so he could wind up at either school, or somewhere new.
-- Some of USF's biggest football recruits could be here in January, as was the case last year with running back Mike Ford and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie. Tuesday opens the official signing period for junior college players who can enroll in January, and USF is expected to sign two defensive standouts from Pearl River Community College, linebacker Kion Wilson and defensive end Craig Marshall. Marshall signed with USF in 2006 but didn't qualify; when I asked Jim Leavitt who might start opposite George Selvie at end if Jarriett Buie weren't able to graduate by next summer to earn another year of eligibility, he mentioned Marshall, which says as much about the returning ends as it does Marshall. Cornerback Charlton Sinclair will join the team in January as well, and the Bulls are hoping to add another recruit or two for the spring semester, with a few big names in the mix, like Jones County (Miss.) defensive end Jeremiah Price and Miami Northwestern linebacker Sean Spence, who had been a Miami commitment.
-- Obscure Merchandising Thought: I'm walking through Dillard's today, and there's a good amount of USF gear. There's a curious T-shirt, showing a sharp-toothed fish with the "U" USF logo and the words "FEEDING TIME." Other side says "TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN," with the USF fish eating a smaller UCF fish, which is eating an even smaller West Virginia fish. I don't get that. I'm not trying to bash UCF, but shouldn't West Virginia be the biggest fish a USF fish eats? From a correctness standpoint, I suppose you could show the USF fish eating a Pitt fish eating a West Virginia fish, but not sure that would sell well anywhere. The current hierarchy of fish makes no sense to me, and I require very little logic from T-shirts. Just wanted to share.
-- I'm like a week late with this, but wanted to share how silly coaches can be. Oregon State finished ahead of Oregon in the Pac-10 standings and beat the Ducks head-to-head, but the Sun Bowl picked Oregon because they didn't want the same team two years in a row. Oregon State can't have really wanted the same bowl experience two years in a row, and they get to play a BCS team in San Francisco, so there's really not much reason to feel that shorted. Check out this story from the El Paso Times, and you'll see OSU coach Mike Riley is peeved enough that he claims he didn't "even know who the matchup would be" if he'd made the Sun Bowl, which had picked the Bulls six days before they slighted his team. I can buy a lot of wild things, but I cannot believe Riley didn't know who he would have been playing.
-- I know I only have so many women's basketball recruiting fans here, but want to update something. You might have read that forward LaDesha Stoudemire -- that's Amare's sister -- had orally committed to USF. Not the case. She's considering USF, but said Friday that she hasn't made a decision yet and is still considering Illinois and Louisiana Tech. She played with USF's Brittany Denson in high school at Lake Wales, and the two remain friends and in regular contact. Stoudemire's at Odessa College but not playing this season because she can transfer in January and have three years of eligibility.