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Joey Knight, Times Staff Writer

Joey Knight

A fourth-generation Floridian, Joey Knight was born in Tampa and raised in Zephyrhills, where he still resides. He moved to the Times in July 2006 after 15 years at the Tampa Tribune, which included a seven-year stint (1997-2004) as University of Florida beat writer. He began covering the University of South Florida athletic department for the Times in 2013. A married father of three, he enjoys running, classic television and classic heavy-metal music.

Phone: (813) 310-6328

E-mail: jknight@tampabay.com

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  1. Details released for B.B. Waldon benefit game

    Blog

    At least 10 former USF men's basketball players are slated to play in Saturday afternoon's alumni game benefiting B.B. Waldon, organizer Anddrikk Frazier announced Wednesday.

    Sun Dome doors open at 2 p.m., with the game starting at 3. Fans are asked to enter through Gate A. Admission is free but donations will be accepted.

    Proceeds will help defray medical costs for Waldon, the Bulls' all-time leading rebounder who was seriously injured in a late-April car accident in Polk County....

  2. Assessing USF's latest depth chart

    Blog

    Amid huge demand, USF released its preseason football depth chart Tuesday, leaving a fan base to ponder its long-term significance.

    Grain of salt, anyone?

    What the Bulls released Tuesday is a mere starting point. When practice commences next week, the two-deep chart could fluctuate more than Tom Brady's alibi. But for now, as we ride out the summer's final dog days, it's ideal conversation fodder. In that sense, we'll gladly play along.

    Here are five things we take from the newest chart:

    1. Don't read much into the starting o-line.
    Frankly, this is where we foresee the most fluctuation. Case in point: Neither freshman transfer Reilly Gibbons nor juco transfer Glen Bethel are listed on the two-deep chart, but both could work their way into starting roles by the season opener (provided all of Bethel's academics are in order). Meantime, senior Thor Jozwiak is listed as a second-team left guard after being injured in the spring. Jozwiak's lost practice time hurt for sure, but we project him winning back a starting job in August.

    2. Derrick Calloway's departure stings.
    USF's switch back to a four-man front put a premium on experienced tackles, and Calloway's withdrawal from school (for academic reasons) leaves the Bulls with little seasoning at that spot. Sophomore Deadrin Senat may possess the strongest upper body on the team, but he has started only two games; and senior James Hamilton has started only three. The Bulls really need: (A) Senat to build on the momentum of his solid spring camp, (B) redshirt freshman Kevin Bronson to emerge, (C) sophomore Bruce Hector to fulfill the potential he brandished at Robinson High, and (D) everyone to stay healthy.

    3. Tice is rewarded.
    Coach Willie Taggart indicated late in March that RB Darius Tice, at that point, was the MVP of spring drills. Now, lo and behold, the sturdy (5-foot-10, 211 pounds) junior is No. 2 -- behind Marlon Mack and ahead of D'Ernest Johnson -- on the depth chart. Will Tice's sparkling spring effort carry over? And how will Johnson react to entering August as the No. 3 guy?

    4. For Whitehead, the work starts now.
    The Division I landscape is littered with unheralded guys who sparkled for a spring, only to never be heard from again. (Remember fleet Gators wideout Ian Skinner? Didn't think so.) Five-foot-9 walk-on WR Chase Whitehead earned the respect of his peers and adoration of fans by seemingly making a big play every spring practice, then catching six passes in the Green and White game. The effort earned Whitehead the No. 2 spot on the slot-receiver depth chart, but with the Bulls amassing depth at its skill positions, maintaining a spot in the rotation will be a challenge.

    5. The Bulls are deeper.
    Say what you will about the results (and they warrant criticism), but there's no question the Bulls are a more talented team than they were at the dawn of the Willie Taggart era. The upgrade is especially noticeable along the offensive line and in the secondary, and the receiving corps has the potential to be special (if someone can consistently get those guys the ball).  ...

    Junior Darius Tice enters USF's preseason camp as the No. 2 running back.
  3. New USF staff assignments include former linebacker Stephen Nicolas

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Nine days before preseason camp, USF on Tuesday released its updated roster, depth chart and staff assignments, which collectively feature some notable additions and subtractions.

    Among the additions: Former Bulls All-Big East linebacker Stephen Nicholas, a seven-year NFL veteran, joins Willie Taggart's staff as an analyst for the defense; while iconic former Manatee High coach Joe Kinnan's role as senior offensive consultant becomes a full-time staff position....

    Derrick Calloway, left, withdrew from USF for academic reasons, though the school said the door is open for his return after the 2015 season.
  4. USF roster: Add Nicholas, subtract Calloway

    Blog

    Nine days before the start of preseason camp, USF has released its updated roster, depth chart and staff assignments, which collectively feature some notable additions and subtractions.

    Among the additions: Former Bulls All-Big East LB Stephen Nicholas joins Willie Taggart's staff as an analyst for the defense; while iconic former Manatee High coach Joe Kinnan's role as senior offensive consultant becomes a full-time staff position....

  5. AAC Media Days: 7 burning questions

    Blog

    A week from today, 33 of the American Athletic Conference's most prominent players join their coaches and league administrators in the formal kickoff to the 2015 season.

    All will convene at the Hyatt Regency in Newport, R.I., for the AAC media days, the culmination to what some refer to as college football's "talking season." As for the talking points, well, they span the conversational gamut. From the benign (How long are Jamie Byrd's dreads?) to the burning (What is the league's long-term football viability?), a plethora of topics will be raised.

    The most significant ones? Well, that's subject to opinion. Here are what we deem the biggest story lines:

    How will George O'Leary's dual roles (UCF coach and interim athletic director) affect his his team?
    While juggling the AD/coach jobs worked fine in a previous era (see Joe Paterno, Vince Dooley), many rightfully question whether anyone can handle both roles effectively in 2015. Complicating matters is the fact O'Leary lost a handful of assistants (including both coordinators) in the offseason, and must replace some key administrators. There's also the small matter of essentially rebuilding the Knights defense. Seems an awful lot for even the most organized self-starters, much less one two weeks shy of his 69th birthday.

    Will the AAC have a New Year's Day bowl representative?
    If it wants to be recognized as the sixth "power" conference, it should. While no one's questioning the conference's viability in basketball, its failure to have a New Year's Day representative last season (or even have a team finish in the College Football Playoff committee's final top 25) hurt its street cred. Cincinnati, Houston and perhaps Memphis all appear capable of finishing as the top-ranked team among the Group of 5 conferences, which comes with a New Year's Day bowl berth. For the league's sake, someone -- anyone -- from the AAC must snag that bid.

    Who will be the media's preseason pick to win it all?
    That answer should arrive bright 'n' early Tuesday morning. Our guess: Cincinnati. The '14 AAC co-champions return eight offensive starters, including Player of the Year candidate Gunner Kiel behind center, and their top seven receivers. Now, about that defense...

    Has Memphis really arrived, or was the 2014 season an aberration?
    A lot will hinge on how effectively the defense -- which lost eight starters and three senior backups -- is replenished. Offensively, most of the components -- including rangy 3,000-yard passer Paxton Lynch -- return, and Coach Justin Fuente's stock is surging. Thanks to a favorable early-season slate, we see the Tigers defense congealing quickly, the offense flourishing yet again, and Fuente coaching a Power-Five program this time next year.

    What about those question marks (i.e. juco transfers, Division I transfers) on USF's roster?
    Nearly all should be answered in Newport, where the Bulls -- who begin practice two days later -- likely will issue their formal preseason roster. While we probably won't have an answer on transfer QB Asiantii Woulard's request for a hardship waiver, the '15 status of all juco guys and incoming freshmen should be known by then.

    Who's the league darkhorse?
    Name one school in the conference that wants to play Navy. ... Anyone? ... Bueller? ... The Midshipmen's trademark triple-option, engineered by veteran QB Keenan Reynolds, is sure to provide headaches to the league's defensive coordinators, many of whom will have only a week to prepare for it. The schedule -- Navy doesn't play consecutive games against teams that finished with winning marks in the AAC last year -- also plays in its favor....

    UCF coach George O'Leary, who turns 69 next month, also is serving as the Knights' interim athletic director.
  6. Eriksen finds silver, 2 new staffers in hectic summer

    Blog

    Seems Bulls softball coach Ken Eriksen has struggled to catch a break, or even a breath, lately.

    Eriksen, whose U.S. national team fell in extra innings to Canada in Sunday afternoon's Pan American Games final, has juggled his national duties with finding two new assistants for his USF staff.

    In the last 11 days, Eriksen has announced the hiring of onetime FSU assistant Tommy Santiago and current Team USA pitcher Jessica Moore to his staff. Santiago replaces veteran Bulls assistant and two-time USF All-American Mo Triner, who opted to coach privately and spend more time with her family.

    Moore replaces four-time Bulls all-conference performer Carmela Liwag, who also left on her own accord.

    Santiago has coached seven years at the Division I level, with stops at Maryland, St. John's and FSU. Moore, an All-American at Oregon, worked 10.2 innings at the Pan Am Games, where the USA's quest for an eighth consecutive gold medal in the event ended with an eight-inning, 4-2 loss to Canada.

    Former Bulls ace Sara Nevins earned three victories in the tournament, starting the gold-medal game and throwing 4.2 shutout innings.

    Eriksen's club concludes its international summer circuit with the Japan Cup early next month....

  7. USF's cost-of-attendance figures appear solid

    Blog

    Days before the dawn of August, USF already has set itself in a position to be a stern league competitor this school year in each of its full-scholarship sports.

    At least in terms of cost of attendance.

    School officials, including athletic director Mark Harlan, have confirmed student-athletes in the Bulls' full-scholarship sports (football, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, women's golf) will receive between $4,100 and $4,500 to cover cost of attendance (COA) in the 2015-16 academic year....

  8. Archibald vows long-term allegiance to USF

    Blog

    The right leg he broke in three places last winter is almost fully healed. Bowman Archibald feels like he could play for USF this fall, though he'll likely only practice.

    Fine with him. The former nationally ranked Pasco High tight end will maximize his de facto redshirt year in preparation for 2016. And while much can transpire between now and then (i.e. coaching change, another injury, etc.), Archibald insists one thing certain not to be fractured is his allegiance to the Bulls.

    "USF was the only school I wanted to transfer to," said Archibald, who graduated from Pasco early and enrolled at Wake Forest in January. "If it wasn't gonna work, I wouldn't have transferred."

    Archibald, rated the country's No. 8 tight end by ESPN last year, had barely unpacked in Winston-Salem when he broke his right shin in two places and the upper part of his ankle while running a route on artificial turf during a workout. Surgery was performed Jan. 20.

    But the injury had little to do with his decision to move back home.

    "I just have a lot going on with family right now and some things at home that just needed me to be closer to them," Archibald told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. "It just didn't make sense to be all the way in North Carolina when my family's struggling back home, so I wanted to be closer to home and still play legitimate football."

    He immediately got in touch with Bulls co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Danny Hope, who had developed deep connections at Pasco High while coach at Purdue. Among them: former Pirates three-way star Josh Johnson, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten pick for the Boilermakers.

    "(The Bulls) were one of my first offers out of high school, so they were definitely happy when I called and wanted to consider transferring," Archibald said. "Things are moving great and I'll be enrolled in the fall."

    Though discussions ensued about Archibald seeking a hardship waiver that would've allowed him to play in '15, he seems resigned to sitting out this season. His goal is to practice with the Bulls as soon as possible.

    Ten days before the start of preseason camp, he says he's back to running and sprinting after resuming weightlifing months ago. He arrives at 6-foot-5 1/2, 247 pounds.

    "It's coming along," Archibald said. "I mean, I'm getting close to 100 percent. I'm a few months ahead of schedule, been working hard and rehabbing hard. I'm getting close."...

    Former Pasco High tight end Bowman Archibald, who recently transferred to USF, hopes to practice with the Bulls as soon as possible.
  9. Baseball: Bulls signing class ranked sixth nationally

    Blog

    Something to ponder in the summer's final dog days: Did baseball coach Mark Kington make a more dazzling USF debut in the dugout or recruiting trenches?

    Kingston, who guided his inaugural Bulls club (34-26-1) to the program's first NCAA Tournament berth in 13 years, has assembled -- and retained -- one of the nation's top recruiting classes according to perfectgame.org.

    The site ranks USF's 16-player class as the sixth-best in the nation. Solidifying the ranking is Kingston's confirmation last week that all five Bulls signees taken in the recent Major League Baseball first-year player draft will attend USF.

    All five teams ranked ahead of the Bulls had at least one drafted recruit sign a pro contract....

  10. Asiantii Woulard seeking waiver from NCAA

    Blog

    Heralded USF transfer QB Asiantii Woulard is seeking a waiver of the NCAA's transfer rule that would allow him to play for the Bulls in 2015, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    Once deemed the nation's top-ranked dual-threat prep quarterback by ESPN.com, Woulard is enrolled at summer classes at USF after transferring from UCLA, where he spent the past two seasons but never appeared in a game....

  11. Former USF basketball star B.B. Waldon focuses on recovery

    College

    BARTOW

    He eschews both walker and cane, impediments to his goal of self-sufficiency. B.B. Waldon walks on his own power, albeit with a slouch and an occasional wince.

    Somewhere beyond his personal horizon lies independence. With each surgery, each rehab session, one of the greatest players in USF basketball lore shuffles a bit closer to it, praying for no complication that would negate any steps forward....

    Former USF men's basketball player B.B. Waldon, right, and his wife, Kelly. (Joey Knight | Times)
  12. Women's hoops: Bulls announce sturdy non-AAC slate

    Blog

    A season projected to unfold as one of the greatest in USF women's basketball history will have a non-conference schedule to match.

    A mid-February rematch with longtime nemesis Louisville, which ended the Bulls' 2014-15 season, highlights a sturdy non-American Athletic Conference slate formally released Wednesday.

    Some of the games, including home contests against '15 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Oklahoma State and Chattanooga, have been known for some time. What remains unknown are the possible big-name opponents awaiting the Bulls in the Preseason WNIT.

    USF will play at least three tournament games, starting with a Nov. 13 contest against Jacksonville at the Sun Dome, and potentially could meet '12 national champ Baylor in a semifinal. DePaul and Chattanooga also reside on the opposite bracket.

    Other highlights include a Dec. 30 neutral-site game against Mississippi State in Jacksonville, and the Feb. 15 trip to Louisville, which rallied for a 60-52 victory against the Bulls (27-8) before a Sun Dome crowd of 5,104 in an NCAA Tournament second-rounder in March.

    "We’re excited about the opportunities and the challenges this non-conference schedule presents,” said coach Jose Fernandez, whose team is likely to receive the program's first Associated Press preseason top-25 ranking this fall....

  13. For now, Bulls-to-Big 12 buzz has no substance

    Blog

    Say this for the dog days of summer: They possess their share of bark.

    The current proliferation of conference media days has given football-starved fans exactly what they've been craving: coaches and commissioners nationwide pontificating about virtually every subject germane to their sport and/or depth chart.

    Among the biggest talking points: Power Five conference realignment, or even expansion.

    Naturally, the subject took center stage when the Big 12 media days commenced Monday. For all intents, the 10-team league's lack of a conference title game cost it a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff, and while Commissioner Bob Bowlsby downplayed the necessity of the conference returning to 12 teams, some heavy-duty names have lobbied for it.

    With lobbying, of course, comes speculation. UCF and USF are regularly mentioned as possible Big 12 invitees, if for nothing else than the size of their respective media markets and fertility of their recruiting bases. So we asked Bulls athletic director Mark Harlan about it -- again -- on Tuesday.

    And again, he repeated his stance on the subject.

    "As it relates to the University of South Florida, my opinion on this really hasn't wavered since the first time we talked," Harlan said.

    "Which is, my belief is we try to get better every single day in competition, academics, the way we're presenting ourselves in the community. If change comes and we're asked to be a part of it and it's good for the university, we'd absolutely consider it. But my focus is not on all the national conversation, my focus is just to make us the greatest athletic program we can possibly be."

    Harlan said neither he nor USF president Judy Genshaft have received direct overtures about expansion from any Power Five conference, but added "we're always in the loop, so to speak, with those kinds of things." Harlan, for one, regularly has an ear to the ground as a member of the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee.

    "So I'm always in the conversation about national changes, whether they're expansion, rule changes or those kinds of things," he said.

    But as rational expansion conversation goes, there's simply nothing new to report, he says.

    "I think Tampa's fantastic. I think the region is special, I think this university is extremely special. I think this athletic program's special," he said.

    "I think all of those things add up to this being an incredible place. Like I said, we're just gonna get after winning in every way possible, and if changes come we'll be ready for 'em."...

    Mark Harlan said neither he nor USF president Judy Genshaft have received direct overtures about expansion from any Power Five conference, but added "we're always in the loop, so to speak, with those kinds of things."
  14. Men's hoops: Perry feeling better than ever

    Blog

    USF junior PF Chris Perry said a problem with one of his four heart chambers forced him to miss the final 13 games of his sophomore season, but added he's feeling better than ever.

    Speaking with reporters Monday for the first time since being hospitalized the night before a Jan. 25 game at Connecticut, Perry said doctors indicated he was born with a left-ventricle issue that carries a "really low risk."...

  15. Golf outing, alumni game to benefit B.B. Waldon

    Blog

    Some of the top names in USF men's basketball lore have signed on to appear at the Aug. 1 alumni game at the Sun Dome to benefit former Bulls star B.B. Waldon, organizer Anddrikk Frazier said Monday.

    Additionally, 21 spots remain for the July 31 golf event in Hardee County also being staged for Waldon's benefit.

    The Bulls' all-time leading rebounder and No. 4 career scorer, Waldon, 35, continues recovering from serious injuries sustained in late April when his Nissan Altima rear-ended a garbage truck on Lakeland's outskirts. A married father of one and stepdad of three, Waldon is undergoing rehab twice a week in Winter Haven and has limited mobility, though he walks on his own power.

    Frazier said the goal is to raise $50,000 through the golf outing, alumni game and a silent auction to be held Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at Ferg's Live near Amalie Arena.

    "To see what he has gone through over the course of the last three months, I mean, he was just starting a new job when all these life-changing events occurred as far as the accident," said Frazier, Waldon's teammate on the 1998-99 USF team.

    "To see him put in the type of effort he has the last two years, and for this to happen to him, as a teammate and as a friend you really do feel for him."

    The golf event will be held at Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green. The $4,500 cost per threesome includes a forecaddie, range balls, gift bag, dinner and a group photo. Gift-bag and dinner sponsorships also are available.

    Waldon is set to appear at the alumni game. Several of his former teammates have committed to playing including USF career assists leader Reggie Kohn, Will McDonald, Chonsey Asbury, Raheim Brown and Marlyn Bryant.

    The Waldon-era coaching staff -- Seth Greenberg, Dave Zimroth and Mike Madagan -- also will be there. Bulls No. 2 career scorer Altron Jackson will attend but hasn't committed to playing.

    Admission to the game, set to tip off Aug. 1 at 3 p.m., is free, but donations will be accepted. Other donations to Waldon can be made automatically via GoFundMe.com, or by mail to B.B. Waldon Fund, P.O. Box 6969, Brandon, FL, 33509.

    Those interested in participating in the golf outing can reach Frazier at (813) 299-6468, or via e-mail at BBWaldonFund@gmail.com....

    Former USF men's basketball star B.B. Waldon was seriously injured in a late-April car accident in Lakeland.