USF recruit headed to Pearl River
USF's incoming recruiting class has its first apparent academic casualty.
Lake Gibson defensive end Claude Davis, who signed with USF in February but has not earned the minimum test scores for NCAA initial eligibility, is expected to start classes next week at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi, where coach Tim Hatten expects him to play this fall.
Davis, who could not be reached for comment, graduates from Lake Gibson this week and can still take entrance exams this summer with the hopes of scoring high enough to qualify academically, but Hatten said he will start summer classes with Pearl River's incoming players next week at USF's request. He could still attend USF this fall if he posted the required scores, but more likely would try to return to USF after earning his associate of arts degree from Pearl River, likely for the 2009 season.
USF signed 27 players in February -- over the NCAA limit of 25 -- so coaches were conceding from the start that some players would not make grades, so their signing was more a posturing to help USF's position when they come out of junior college. USF isn't penalized (in terms of APR scores and such) for recruits who sign but do not qualify academically and never make it to campus.
Coach Jim Leavitt said this spring that he expected "three or four" signees not to qualify, and that's far less than a year ago, when nine failed to qualify and two other signees quit the team before the season started. Three of those players -- defensive end David Fonua and offensive linemen Jeremiah Warren and Kevin McCaskill -- earned qualifying scores, enrolled in January and count toward this year's class.