Report: Ecks likely won't return in 2008
USF pitcher Cristi Ecks, who collapsed during a practice last week, won't likely return to playing softball this season, her father Doug told the Potomac News of Virginia.
A report in Friday's News updates Ecks' recovery following surgery to implant a defibrillator that monitors her heartbeat. Doug Ecks told the newspaper that his daughter cannot raise her left arm above her shoulder because she might tear the stitches from her surgery. She'll be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks, the paper reports, but is unlikely to pitch again this season. Doctors haven't ruled out her returning to softball down the road.
The story also details the support Ecks has had, not only from her teammates but from the rest of USF and even other schools that learned of her collapse last week. We'll work to find more updates on Ecks as her progress continues.
-- With the spring football game set for Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium, I found an interesting morsel on one of the newest additions to USF's roster: walk-on kicker Jamie Clark, who will participate in Saturday's game. Two things that make Clark unusual among Bulls football players: first, that he never played football at the high school or college level, and second, that he's a graduate student.
Clark went to Bloomingdale High and played soccer there and has already earned an undergraduate degree from USF. He's worked for the past two years with Tom Feely -- that's NFL kicker Jay Feely's father -- with the hopes of making a college football roster. Feely said Clark has a strong leg, capable of hitting field goals from 55 yards out. Check out this link to a combine workout that Clark participated in last summer, and you'll see he had better numbers that day than Justin Brockhaus-Kann, who will come in this fall as a punter on scholarship. Again, he's five years older, so it's not quite apples-to-apples.
USF's coaches are normally hesitant to add a walk-on in the fall with limited eligibility left, but coach Jim Leavitt hasn't been happy with his kickers this spring, giving Clark an opportunity to make an impression with a strong game Saturday night. Leavitt said Wednesday that he'll give a long look this fall to Maikon Bonani, the talented Lake Wales kicker who signed with the Bulls in February.
-- Got to talk Friday morning with Joe Wootten, who is the coach at Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell, where 6-foot-11 center Frank Ben-Eze plays. Ben-Eze, once a Harvard commitment, has re-opened his recruitment and has been targeted by the Bulls. Wootten -- son of legendary prep coach Morgan Wootten -- named USF as one of Ben-Eze's top four schools and said he's working to line up an official campus visit later this month. He's visiting newly-crowned-Cinderella Davidson in North Carolina this weekend, with a visit scheduled for Georgia Tech next weekend. UCLA has shown interest but hasn't offered; Wootten said Villanova and Pittsburgh has also expressed interest but not enough to be in his top four right now.
-- Before you go making "Faber College" signs for the spring football game, my understanding is that no men's basketball recruits will be making campus visits this weekend. There had been talk that Los Angeles center Krys Faber might come to town, but the Bulls will continue to try to get him in at a later date. Again, this isn't a recruiting class that will be wrapped up when the signing period opens Wednesday, but will continue to develop over the next month and even into summer, potentially.