USF drops to No. 53 in merchandise rankings
First, two quick updates on former USF signees who didn't qualify academically this fall -- tight end Gerard Atkins of Dixie Hollins will attend St. Petersburg College this fall with plans to join the Bulls in January, according to Dixie Hollins coach Mike Morey.
Atkins, who drew interest from Louisville and had a scholarship offer from Wyoming, was told by USF's academic committee that if he takes a full 12-hour courseload at St. Pete this fall and maintains at least a C average, he would be admitted to USF in January, though his five-year window of eligibility will start this fall because he started classes as a full-time student.
Another USF signee, safety Ivan Nicholas of Jacksonville, has started classes at ASA Institute, a new junior college in Brooklyn, N.Y., launching its football program this fall, his father said Thursday. Nicholas will spend two years at ASA and intends to go to USF in 2011, his father said.
Freshman running back Bradley Battles was not at practice Thursday, and USF coach Jim Leavitt said Battles had gone home for a few days due to an issue with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Leavitt said he expects Battles to be cleared and soon back with the team, potentially as early as this weekend.
Here's Thursday's practice report from correspondent Kerry Klecic:
Redshirt freshman tight end Andreas Shields, who was working on USF‚Äôs first team, injured his right ankle in Wednesday's scrimmage and was wearing a boot on his injured foot Thursday.
Leavitt said an x-ray came up negative, but he wasn‚Äôt sure if Shields would return for the Bulls‚Äô opener against Wofford on Sept. 5.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs getting closer now,‚Äù Leavitt said. ‚ÄúYou get a guy banged up right now and it‚Äôs real questionable whether the guy will play in the first game.‚Äù
Leavitt said if Shields is unavailable, the starting job would probably go to senior Ben Busbee, with walk-on Kenneth Luberice still limited by a hip injury.
Two join USF: USF junior defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who missed the first two weeks of practice while completing online classes, joined the Bulls for the first time at Thursday night‚Äôs practice.
Pierre-Paul, a transfer from Fort Scott community college, is the last of coach Jim Leavitt‚Äôs 2009 signing class to join the team.
Walk-on tight end Chase Boswell, a Wharton graduate, also joined the Bulls‚Äô fall football roster Thursday. He‚Äôs the fifth Wharton graduate to join USF.
Quick Hits: USF was scheduled to finish Thursday‚Äôs practice at 5:15 p.m., but the Bulls didn‚Äôt get done until about 9:00 because of inclement weather ‚Ä¶ Despite the late finish, Leavitt said the team will practice in full pads this morning at 8:30 a.m. ‚Ä¶ Defensive end Craig Marshall (shoulder) sat out of Wednesday night‚Äôs scrimmage.