Which high school can claim the most Bulls?
With Monday's news that tight end Gerard Atkins of St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins had committed, there came a curious question: What high school has produced the most football players in USF history?
Before you read any further, take three guesses. We're counting total lettermen, which means you had to play in at least one game to make it into USF's record books. If you get all three, it's downright frightening, and if you just get two, it's still pretty commendable. If you only get one, well, that will put you even with Jim Leavitt himself, who had three solid guesses (all five or more players) by phone Monday night during a layover on the way to Los Angeles for the taping of the ESPY Awards.
I was thinking Dixie Hollins might be the answer, and frequent commenter Myron suggested Punta Gorda Charlotte, and while both schools are among the 12 who have supplied at least five players, they're not the leaders entering this season.
Three schools are tied for that honor, with seven Bulls each: Bradenton Southeast, Belle Glades Glade Central and Tampa Hillsborough. Southeast might be in the best position to break the tie, with redshirt freshman David Fonua likely to play here and there if he's fully recovered from a knee injury. Glades Central could break that tie, though incoming defensive tackle Jatavious Jackson will likely redshirt this season. So the tie could stand for another year. Here are the top 12 programs, with a notable player or two for each ...
Bradenton Southeast (Mike Jenkins, Dyral McMillan)
Belle Glade Glades Central (C John Miller, Jessie Hester)
Tampa Hillsborough (J.R. Reed, Joey Sipp)
Clearwater Central Catholic (Nick Capogna, Marcus Edwards)
St. Pete Dixie Hollins (Andre Hall, Marquel Blackwell)
Miami Edison (Charlie Jackson, Marc Dile, Brouce Mompremier)
Tampa Jesuit (Derek Carter, Anthony Severino)
Punta Gorda Charlotte (Javan Camon, Bruce Gipson)
Lake City Columbia (Allen Cray, Sampson Genus)
South Sumter (Ben Moffitt, Clenton Crossley)
Miami Northwestern (Vassay Marc, Allynson Sheffield)
Lake Wales (Chad Barnhardt, Ben Williams)
Schools in position to move up this year? Lake Wales could get a boost from kicker Maikon Bonani to get within one player of the lead; same for Miami Northwestern, if linebacker Quavon Taylor can show enough on special teams to break out of a likely redshirt.
There you go. To give you some perspective, out of 326 all-time lettermen, there's 19 players from outside Florida, including eight from last year's roster. And I'm using USF's official list as a reference, so there could be a player missing or listed with the wrong school, though I've checked all the players since 2004. Questions? Thoughts? Proud alums bragging on their high schools?