Walk-on updates: Three new names
First, before I get to the walk-on news, I just want to take a moment to offer condolences to defensive line coach Dan McCarney, whose father, P.J. McCarney, died in Iowa on Sunday night. A visitation will be held in Iowa City on Wednesday, with funeral services scheduled for Thursday, according to the Des Moines Register. Our thoughts and prayers are with the longtime Iowa State coach and his family. ...
This being the blog of record for all things related to walk-ons, I have a few names to report as (at least potential) additions to USF's football roster in the next year.
I'll start with a preferred walk-on from Lake Brantley who will report with USF's freshman class on June 27: his name is Rhett Hamrick, and he's a 6-foot-6, 200-pound receiver whose high school coach called him the premier receiver in the Orlando area last season.
"I really think he's a kid who fell through the cracks," coach George Clayton said of Hamrick, who totaled 74 passes for 1,125 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Lake Brantley despite playing in an option offense. He helped his team to the state championship against Miami Northwestern, scoring a touchdown in the final. "I just loved the program," said Hamrick, who had scholarship offers from Army and smaller schools like Jacksonville.
Hamrick pointed me to another future USF walk-on, Apopka quarterback Andy Summerlin, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect who was respected enough entering his senior year that Rivals.com listed him on its "Elite 11" watch list of the nation's top 100 quarterback prospects. At a Nike scouting combine in Miami last summer (also attended by USF signee Alton Voss), he had the best bench-press among quarterbacks (15 reps of 225 pounds) and the second-best vertical leap at 33 inches. His 40-yard time was a rough 4.98 seconds, but that might be one to toss out, as his shuttle time of 4.28 seconds was faster than Miami Central's Travaris Cadet, who nearly signed with USF.
Summerlin underwent shoulder surgery in February to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and as a result, he won't join the football team in January, the walk-on equivalent of a "greyshirt." He'll pick up what he can this fall as a part-time student, but his five-year eligibility clock won't start ticking until 2008. He's the second walk-on quarterback committed to USF, joining Lemon Bay's Matt Piloto. Summerlin said he passed for about 1,000 yards and rushed for about 500, again in an option offense not geared toward passing statistics.
Summerlin's training partner this summer is yet another walk-on hopeful: I haven't confirmed it with him, but Summerlin said J.P. Moriarty, the starting quarterback at Orlando Bishop Moore, will attend USF with the hopes of making the team as a walk-on defensive back. Summerlin said Moriarty met with USF coach Jim Leavitt recently about the possibility of him joining the team. You can check out video highlights from Moriarty here at Fridaynightfootball.net.
It wouldn't be proper to write this much about high school sports in Orlando without linking to the farewell column for the Orlando Sentinel's Bill Buchalter, as well-liked and well-respected a preps writer as you'll find in this state. Buchalter worked as a student at the Independent Florida Alligator in Gainesville, just as I did, and his first newspaper job was at the St. Petersburg Times. His wealth of knowledge will be missed.
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Post 'em all. I watched a half-hour of voluntary football workouts Monday -- all the quarterbacks were out with various conflicts, so receiver Amarri Jackson was tossing spirals as he did back in high school. Players are taking the summer workouts seriously -- two collided on one play and had to be checked by trainers for concussions. ...