Transfers, QB among new USF walk-ons
Given that seven former walk-ons are now on scholarship with USF football, there's a certain amount of news -- perhaps long-term news -- in announcing the names of nine walk-ons added to Skip Holtz's Bulls roster, allowing him to use the full 115 players as he prepares for Saturday's opener against Stony Brook.
Still gleaning new morsels of information on the new names, but we can report that one of them has solid experience against Stony Brook, strange as that may seem. Daryl Ash, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker from Matt Grothe's high school, Lake Gibson, played last season at Presbyterian College, a I-AA program in South Carolina that went 0-11 last season. Ash had 43 tackles as a true freshman, good for sixth on the team, including a season-high seven against, yes, Stony Brook, in a 52-14 loss to the Seawolves. And yes, Presbyterian's mascot is the Blue Hose, and we're sure opposing fans have a lot of fun with that. Ash will sit out this season, then should have three years of eligibility.
-- The Bulls have a fifth quarterback on roster in walk-on Brandon Smith, a 6-foot, 185-pound true freshman from Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach. You can find plenty of highlights for Smith, who attended the same Elite 11 camp as current Bulls freshman QB Bobby Eveld, and actually had the highest accuracy score of all the QBs. And I'd point out that he earned first-team All-Palm Beach County honors from Maxpreps.com, but three quarterbacks were lucky enough to earn first-team honors. If I'm reading things right, his high school coach last season was former Miami quarterback Steve Walsh.
-- Not all the new walk-ons are new -- as we mentioned the other day, punter Renato Proia is back after redshirting last season, and Cory Schomp of Seminole is also back after redshirting last season as a backup long-snapper.
-- Another transfer, this one with USF experience: Kasey Owens of Bradenton Manatee is a 6-3, 220-pound linebacker who played one season at the University of St. Francis in Illinois, logging 4.5 tackles in five games in 2008. Manatee coach Joe Kinnan said Owens spent the last year in community college getting his associate of arts degree. "Very good athlete, good student," said Kinnan, who had Owens just one season in 2007 after he transferred to the area from Michigan. Owens should have three years of eligibility.
-- The rest, for whom I haven't found out anything too much yet: Hernando defensive end Clay Kessler, who we wrote about earlier; Darryl Duncan, a defensive back from Tallahassee Rickards; J.J Peterson, a running back from Arcadia DeSoto (same school as current freshman RB Marcus Shaw, though it looks like Peterson is a few years older); and Rodney Watson, a true freshman running back from Lakeland High.