Shields reports Monday, already up to 220
Can the start of preseason practice be just two days away? Monday afternoon at 4, USF opens the first of 25 practices before regular game-week preparation begins the week of Aug. 25. The Bulls actually only have two-a-day practices on seven days, with Sundays off each week. Anyway, we'll have tons from practices, and I wanted to clear out some news and links before we're caught up in those ...
-- Freshman tight end Andreas Shields, the Wharton graduate who had been headed for a grayshirt (deferred enrollment until January), will report with the rest of the team Monday and will be part of this year's recruiting class.
"I'm a player, so I want to play football. I didn't want to watch," said Shields, who had started summer classes with his teammates last month and has put his focus in the weight room.
Shields said he will redshirt this fall but has already made good progress in adding weight to his frame. He came to USF at about 205 pounds and is now at 220.
"Hopefully, by January, I can be up around 240," said Shields, who has two high school teammates on USF's roster in running back Joel Miller and linebacker LaDre Watkins, both walk-ons.
-- While Shields will be there, freshman linebacker Quavon Taylor has been excused to go back home to Miami to deal with some personal issues. It's nothing related to USF, but he's likely to be absent at least the first week of drills. Taylor and the other two freshman linebackers, Mike Lanaris and Armando Sanchez, were likely headed to redshirts anyway. Taylor has the kind of speed and hitting that could make him valuable on special teams, but obviously he has more pressing matters to deal with first.
-- The last two recruits to finish up their academic requirements, defensive end David Bedford and cornerback Theo Wilson, may miss a few days at the start of camp as the logistics of their academic clearance is finalized. Bedford's last class here in Tampa has to go back to his junior college in Kansas, then back to USF to get i's dotted and t's crossed.
-- NFL updates! The Longmont Times Call writes about former USF running back Andre Hall, who is part of a wide-open competition with the Denver Broncos, with no jobs guaranteed. The Dallas Cowboys' official site writes about how cornerback Mike Jenkins is working with the first team while veteran Terence Newman recovers from an injury. And not only did former USF receiver Huey Whittaker earn first-team All-Arena honors, he signed a new three-year deal with the Utah Blaze.
-- The Palm Beach Post's Jorge Milian offers his preseason top 10, and not only is USF in there, the Bulls are No. 6. When folks write that 18 starters return, it's really not true, unless they're counting kickers and specialists and such.
-- Dawgsports.com picks four games in all of college football that will get lots of hype but disappoint, and USF-Kansas is one of them, with the thought that the Bulls should win easily.
-- I like malapropisms as much as anyone, so that's the real reason I link to a Pensacola News Journal story that writes about how not funding college football would "kill the egg that laid the golden goose." You can argue which came first, but I think it's clear which laid which ...