Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls center Sampson Genus keeps impressing with work ethic

NEWPORT, R.I. — It would be no surprise to find USF center Sampson Genus putting in extra time in the weight room, as the senior is arguably the Bulls' strongest player, able to bench-press a team-best 455 pounds.

But offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler was in the weight room this summer when he looked out the window and saw the 318-pound Genus running in the midday heat.

"It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon, it's about 98 degrees, and he's out there running by himself with a stopwatch, timing himself," Shankweiler said. "No coaches around, and later I grabbed him and said, "Didn't you get enough work this morning?' He said, "Coach, I've got to do all the things I can do."

Genus is in Newport today with quarterback B.J. Daniels and first-year coach Skip Holtz, representing USF at the Big East preseason media gathering. Of eight Big East schools, there are only five offensive linemen in Newport. But after earning second-team all-conference honors last year, Genus can show he's one of the league's best.

"This time of year, everybody's writing big articles about everybody, but this kid, there's something special about his commitment to football and his football team," Shankweiler said. "He's a very unusual kid in that respect."

Genus, 22, was excited about Monday night's famous clambake, where the lobsters didn't have much of a chance ("I can eat a couple of them," he said) and the publicity reminds him just how far he has come. Genus came to USF from tiny Lake City, a quiet city of about 12,000, where he grew up with a love of cooking more than any sport.

"I come from a little old country town. I never really pictured myself doing this," said Genus, who will graduate in December, needing just 31/2 years for a degree in criminology. "Football wasn't really a big thing in my head."

And if Monday brought together football and good food, that's fitting for Genus, who can barbecue just about anything and has a grilling rivalry with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. Genus spent a year on the defensive line, starting five games as a sophomore before moving back to center last fall.

Genus has entrenched himself there, and Shankweiler said his quickness off the snap might be the best he has seen in 28 years of coaching college offensive lines. USF will likely have three seniors and two juniors starting on the line, so there's no shortage of experience, but Shankweiler said Genus stands out as a leader.

"It goes beyond just the line," he said. "The kid has earned the respect of everybody in that locker room, regardless of position."

As the Bulls work to develop a more traditional running game in Holtz's new offense, that commitment starts with the line, and Genus likes to hear that USF wants to establish the run.

"It should be one of our strengths, because we have some big powerful guys up there," Genus said.

USF has had one offensive lineman drafted — Kenyatta Jones in 2001 — but Genus has a chance to become the second with another season of steady progress. Last year, then-offensive coordinator Mike Canales called Genus USF's "bellcow" — the cow wearing the bell, the herd leader, the one you listen for to know where the group is going.

"It means you're leading the charge," Genus said. "It ended up sticking with me."

Times staff writer Greg Auman can be reached at and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at

USF Bulls center Sampson Genus keeps impressing with work ethic 08/02/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 2, 2010 8:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs


    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  3. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.