Notes: WR Mitchell among three suspended Bulls
TAMPA -- USF opens spring football Wednesday for the first time under coach Willie Taggart, and three players, including receiver Terrence Mitchell, have been suspended indefinitely for unspecified reasons.
"They could be back. They have to do something, do what it takes to get back out there," Taggart said of Mitchell, receiver Chris Dunkley and running back Bradley Battles. "They can be back. They're not just going to get on this team. You don't just get on this team any kind of way. They have to make sure they're doing their part to be on this football team."
Mitchell, a Hillsborough High graduate, was USF's No. 2 receiver last season, catching 31 passes for 414 yards and a touchdown; he was a Freshman All-America in 2010 as a punt returner. His role was already changing, as Taggart said that before his suspension, coaches had made the decision to move him to defensive back, the position he was best known for at Hillsborough.
Dunkley, a transfer from Florida, has been suspended from the team since September, when he was arrested on a domestic battery violence charge. He has since entered into a pre-trial intervention program, which required six months of counseling and 12 months of supervision without additional legal problems. Battles has been suspended from games in each of the last two seasons; he has totaled just 7 rushing yards in the last two seasons.
Also, sophomore defensive end Edsel Caprice of Cape Coral, who had two tackles on special teams last fall, is no longer with the team. His mother Nicky said Monday that he remains in school but may not end up playing college football again.
POSITION CHANGES: Freshman defensive end Guito Ervilus of Orlando, who redshirted last season, has dropped 31 pounds from his fall roster weight of 252 pounds and will now work as a tight end, Taggart said. The Bulls lost three tight ends to graduation last season, so Ervilus will compete for playing time behind sophomore Sean Price and junior Mike McFarland. Senior walk-on Ryan Eppes, a Largo graduate who had moved from quarterback to linebacker, is now working at fullback, another key position in Taggart's offense.
SATURDAY OPEN: Saturday's practice, the Bulls' first in pads, will be open to the public, with fans invited to watch drills that start at 2:30 p.m. and are scheduled to run until 5 p.m. Taggart said Saturday's practice will be the only one open to the public until USF's spring game at Raymond James Stadium on April 13.
THIS AND THAT: Defensive end Aaron Lynch, who was a Freshman All-America selection at Notre Dame in 2011 and will be eligible this fall, has dropped 18 pounds from his fall roster weight and is now listed at 6-foot-6, 244 pounds. ... Taggart said receiver Sterling Griffin and cornerback Chris Bivins, recovering from knee injuries suffered last season, will be limited this spring, but otherwise the team is healthy.