Thursday, April 19, 2018
Colleges

Football injuries force USF Bulls to embrace youth

TAMPA

A month ago, when USF football played at Temple, the Bulls had 12 seniors in their starting lineup. On Saturday, when the Bulls ended a six-game losing streak with a win against Connecticut, the Bulls started just five seniors. The season-ending ankle injury suffered by QB B.J. Daniels lowers that number by another senior.

Skip Holtz's youth movement has had more to do with injuries to key Bulls veterans, but it gives USF a head start on next season, lessening the hit it will take from losing a deep senior class. At many positions, young players — even true freshmen — have played without a significant dropoff.

When freshman DE Eric Lee became a starter two games ago, he had one career tackle. He had six in his first start then added his first sack Saturday. When freshman Tashon Whitehurst stepped in at weakside linebacker Saturday, he had one career tackle, he but totaled eight in Saturday's win, including a key fourth-quarter fumble recovery. Sophomore Reshard Cliett has 17 tackles in the past two games since he became a starting linebacker.

The same can be said on offense, where redshirt freshmen Thor Jozwiak and Brynjar Gudmundsson have stepped in as starting guards and true freshman Sean Price has become a top target at tight end, with nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the past three games. Junior Marcus Shaw has stepped in for Lindsey Lamar at running back, and expect freshman WR D'Vario Montgomery to play a larger role in the final three games.

There are still glaring holes to be filled for 2013. Redshirt freshman Matt Floyd will likely get an early crack at taking over for Daniels, and the Bulls will have to replace two senior cornerbacks in Kayvon Webster and George Baker, with few experienced corners behind them. The kicking game will have major turnover, with a reliable pair in K Maikon Bonani and P Justin Brockhaus-Kann both seniors.

The biggest challenge is for USF to salvage more wins from its final three games, but in shifting to a younger lineup, the Bulls are picking up experience that will be invaluable next fall.

MORE YOUTH: USF men's basketball team scored eight points in the first eight minutes of Monday's exhibition win against Division II Eckerd, making it all the more impressive when freshman G JaVontae Hawkins later fired off a personal 8-0 run in a span of 74 seconds, taking USF from a 24-22 lead to a 32-22 cushion just before halftime.

Hawkins, a 6-foot-5 freshman from Flint, Mich., hit a 3-pointer, then a 2, then a three-point play on consecutive possessions. He not only finished with 13 points, he did it on 5-for-6 shooting in 17 minutes.

"He's got that quick first step, has a nice shot when he gets his feet set. He's going to be a nice weapon to bring into the game, like (senior Jawanza) Poland does," coach Stan Heath said. "Bringing those two guys in the game, I don't think we miss a beat, and sometimes we might get better. Both those guys are very electric players."

USF has a versatile newcomer in G Martino Brock, who had nine assists, six points and six rebounds in 28 minutes against Eckerd. Brock showed his speed in transition, and while he'll start at shooting guard, he'll also be the primary backup to Anthony Collins at point guard.

Comments
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after police found 17 grams of a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom Thursday afternoon.The Tallahassee Police Department previously received a report of drug activ...
Published: 04/13/18