TAMPA — The stars of ESPN's Gruden's QB Camp, which airs at 7 tonight, are former Bucs coach Jon Gruden and five of the NFL draft's top quarterbacks, but if you look closely, you'll see cameos by USF receivers, who worked out with the passers on the Bulls' new practice fields.
"The experience was great," said junior Evan Landi, part of a receiving group that also included A.J. Love, Terrence Mitchell, Victor Marc, Derrick Hopkins, Stephen Bravo-Brown, Faron Hornes and Isaac Virgin. "The guys we were able to catch passes from are going to be first-rounders or early second-rounders. It's good experience to see guys of that caliber and to be able to work on what Coach Gruden's trying to do."
The Monday Night Football analyst said he was impressed both by USF's practice facility and the young receivers.
"It opened my eyes. We have great facilities here at USF; brand-new practice setting," said Gruden, who spoke last month at Skip Holtz's annual coaches clinic and regularly attends USF basketball games with his sons. "It's exciting for the USF Bulls, and we've got some good receivers. I think they benefited. I think it motivated those guys. They got excited to see (Auburn's) Cam Newton one day, (Missouri's) Blaine Gabbert the next, (Texas Christian's) Andy Dalton down the road, etc., to (Arkansas') Ryan Mallett and (Washington's) Jake Locker."
Drew Gallagher, who produced the show for ESPN, said the convenience of working out the quarterbacks so close to Gruden's home was a major plus, but he said USF gave them more than expected, with staff and players eager to help and both grass and turf fields available. SEC quarterbacks Newton and Mallett chose the grass, while Locker opted for the turf.
"Every time we came out there, they had receivers ready, staff to help, a bag of NFL balls," Gallagher said. "Even on short notice, from the get-go, they welcomed us with open arms."