Three former USF signees at East Mississippi
For the past few years, Pearl River Community College in Mississippi has been a feeder program of sorts for USF football, a school where signees who don't initially qualify can earn an associate of arts degree and potentially move on for two years as Bulls. This fall, USF will have a second Mississippi pipeline in place, with three former signees at East Mississippi Community College.
Three once-promising recruits will be on the EMCC roster this fall: defensive tackle Leslie Stirrups and defensive end Claude Davis, who were both at Pearl River last year, and linebacker Calvin Sutton. EMCC first-year coach Buddy Stephens, formerly Pearl River's offensive coordinator, said all three players were placed at his school by USF, so the expectation is that they'll be Bulls as soon as they get their AA.
Stirrups, perhaps the most highly touted member of USF's 2006 class, had problems with grades and criminal charges in 2006, but Stephens said he hasn't had a problem with him at EMCC.
"He sees the light at the end of the tunnel," Stephens said. "He's a South Florida commitment, and if he's done at Christmas, he's going to South Florida."
Davis, once a high school teammate of quarterback Matt Grothe, had problems at Pearl River, as Stephens said he had to drop out of school after being accused in an alleged campus burglary. Stephens said it was a case of mistaken identity, and charges against him were dropped this spring. He'll likely play the next two falls at EMCC, potentially landing at USF in spring 2010. "He's as good as anybody we've ever coached," Stephens said.
Sutton, a regular visitor at USF's practices last fall as he tried to get a qualifying test score, is likely going to redshirt at EMCC this fall, Stephens said, allowing him to get to USF in two years with three seasons of eligibility.
Stephens said he almost had a fourth player with USF connections, but he had no room for out-of-state offensive linemen. He said tackle Thomas Edenfield, who was off USF's roster this spring after academic problems, will likely play this fall at the College of the Sequoias in California.
For one reason or another, the early players from Pearl -- Gene Coleman, Donte Spires, Carlton Hill, Frank Harry -- didn't pan out for the Bulls. The Pearl River connection could still work out this fall with three players, linebacker Kion Wilson, defensive end Craig Marshall and cornerback Theo Wilson, expected to be on USF's roster.
-- One more where-are-they-now update: Dylan Douglas, the cornerback from Jacksonville who played on special teams as a redshirt freshman last fall but opted to transfer this spring, visited Division I-AA Georgia Southern this weekend. It's the leader out of a few schools he's considering for a transfer, along with Tennessee State and Jackson State. Douglas would have three years of eligibility at a I-AA school.