Safety Young could be back as starter Friday
Sophomore strong safety Jerrell Young, who has returned to form after missing four games with a broken arm was working with the first-team defense Tuesday and could return to the starting lineup Friday when the Bulls play host to No. 20 West Virginia.
"You could tell he was back pretty close to the old Jerrell, back in there grabbing and reaching, hitting and doing the things you want him to do," Leavitt said. "He's working with the 1s right now."
Young had six tackles off the bench in USF's 41-14 loss at Pittsburgh, his first significant action after playing sparingly in the Bulls' loss to Cincinnati. Junior walk-on Mistral Raymond has filled in admirably with three starts, totaling 21 tackles and an interception this season.
"Skinny (Raymond) has worked so hard. Skinny's a good player. His effort is unbelievable," Leavitt said.
Young could wind up covering a good friend in Friday's game -- West Virginia receiver Jock Sanders, a St. Pete Catholic grad, said he's looking forward to seeing Young, as well as Bulls receiver Theo Wilson, a Dunedin graduate.
MORE REPS FOR TAYLOR: Junior running back Jamar Taylor made his season debut against Pittsburgh, gaining 8 yards on his first carry and having a 19-yard run negated by penalty. He'll give the Bulls another dependable runner against West Virginia, and Leavitt has been impressed by the work he put into his rehab.
"It's unbelievable, that young man. He's everything you dream about," Leavitt said. "I couldn't ask for anything more from a young man and how hard he works and how hard he goes. ... The guy can play."
DEVINE INSPIRATION: The task of simulating West Virginia running back Noel Devine in practice this week falls on two small, quick Bulls -- freshman walk-on running back Jonny Sitton and freshman receiver Derrick Hopkins. Hopkins is an elite sprinter who is redshirting this fall, and Leavitt had praise for Sitton, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound walk-on from Indian Rocks Christian.
"He's very quick. I don't know how many yards he had in high school, but I'll bet a bunch," Leavitt said. "I don't see anybody stopping that kid in high school. They don't stop him out here. He's got a chance to stay on this team and may play a little bit someday. That little running back's pretty good."
THIS AND THAT: Defensive end Craig Marshall was limited by an elbow injury in Tuesday's practice, but Leavitt said he expects him to be fine for Friday's game. ... Offensive lineman Jamar Bass, who wore a No. 86 jersey in Saturday's game and lined up on one play as a tight end, was back to his No. 63 Tuesday.