Sarasota QB among three new USF walk-ons
USF football's incoming freshmen report for their first classes next week, and that group of newcomers will have at least three new preferred walk-ons, including quarterback Evan Wilson of Sarasota.
We confirmed Wednesday that Wilson -- an all-state selection from Sarasota's Out-of-Door Academy -- has accepted a roster spot with the Bulls, along with tight end Spencer Adkinson of Indian Rocks Christian and fullback/long-snapper Elliot Jacobs of Fort Pierce Central. USF hasn't updated its roster since the middle of spring practice, so we might not know all the additions until close to the start of preseason camp in August.
Wilson had impressive numbers at Out-of-Door, throwing for 2,686 yards and 20 touchdowns against eight interceptions while running for another 614 yards and 10 more scores. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound passer earned first-team Class 2A all-state honors and has worked at IMG Academy in Bradenton, where he got to know current USF receivers coach David Reaves.
"He's a fierce competitor, a quiet leader. First one in, last one out. Strong arm, intelligent, student of the game," said his high school coach, Brett Timmons, who said he chose the Bulls over offers to be a preferred walk-on at TCU and Florida International.
Wilson reports next week, but it's unknown whether he'll be part of USF's 105-man roster for preseason camp, or part of the 115 or so on the first day of school. USF could have as many as eight quarterbacks, with returning scholarship passers Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd, newcomers Steven Bench and Mike White, plus three returning walk-ons: Bobby Eveld, Trenton Miller and Aaron Munoz.
Jacobs, 6 feet and 215 pounds, is a versatile player from Fort Pierce -- he'll come to USF as a fullback and long-snapper, but he was best-known at Central as a defensive end, part of a defense good enough to face Bradenton Manatee twice in the state regional finals. All three walk-ons have grades good enough to come in with Bright Futures scholarships, and Jacobs said his academics were good enough to draw interest from schools in the I-AA Patriot League.
"I told myself I was going to play Division I football," said Jacobs, who also played some receiver at Central.
Adkinson, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, played much of his prep career in the shadow of Missouri's Sean Culkin, and he actually connected with the Bulls through Plant coach Robert Weiner, who had briefly accepted a position on Willie Taggart's staff and has mutual friends with Adkinson. Weiner looked at his highlights and told him he would fit well in Taggart's scheme, forwarding the video to USF with a personal recommendation, said Adkinson, who had been recruited (but not offered) by the Bulls when Skip Holtz was head coach.
Adkinson volunteered that he had a one-year suspension from Indian Rocks, saying he had put his hand on an official's shoulder while arguing a call after a potential game-winning catch was ruled incomplete during his junior year. He said he apologized on the spot, but was still given the suspension, which was upheld after multiple appeals. Indian Rocks coach Mark Buchanan spoke highly of Adkinson, saying he was a consistent player for four years, physical enough to be an effective blocker, but also had "great hands" and was also used as a receiver. He, too, has a Youtube highlight reel you can check out; the Times' John Cotey wrote about the details of his harsh suspension last fall.
Another walk-on from Indian Rocks, receiver and punt returner Jonny Sitton, won't be back for his final year of college football. Sitton had sat out last season after transferring back from Shorter University, but he suffered a shoulder injury this spring and decided not to play this fall. Sitton briefly held USF's punt-return job in 2010 and would have competed for that job this season.