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Ex-Bull cleared of charges

Former USF offensive lineman Shelly Houston could rejoin the team after the state attorney's office elected not to pursue multiple charges against him.

Houston, 21, was dismissed by coach Jim Leavitt shortly after his arrest Sept. 25. He was charged with burglary of a conveyance, third-degree grand theft and fraudulent use of a credit card. On Oct. 10, three more felony charges were brought: third-degree grand theft, dealing in stolen property and false information on a pawnbroker form.

The initial charges were dropped when the victim signed a waiver requesting the state attorney's office not prosecute. The remaining charges were dropped in December when the victim failed to respond to requests to call the state attorney's office or come in for an interview.

"We're taking a look at everything before we do anything," Leavitt said.

Houston, 6 feet 3, 295 pounds, started eight games at guard in 2002 and the season opener last season. If reinstated, he would be a junior this fall.

In recruiting news, Mayo Lafayette receiver Marcus Edwards orally committed. Edwards (5-11, 170 pounds) chose USF over Wake Forest and Southern Miss, and he also was recruited by Stanford.

"I think he really likes Coach Leavitt," Lafayette coach Joey Pearson said. "He is excited about the direction he's got the program going, the facilities, the proximity to home, all those things."

Edwards will be the second Marcus Edwards to play receiver for the Bulls. (The previous one transferred to San Diego State after the 2002 season). He was a second-team all-state selection this season despite missing four games with a broken collarbone. He made 22 catches for 412 yards and eight touchdowns in six games. Edwards also had 23 career interceptions, including three of Hawthorne's blue-chip quarterback, Cornelius Ingram.

Leavitt made a home visit this week to Ingram (6-5, 215), rated the No. 13 prospect in the state by the Times. Ingram, who has scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State and Georgia, also is considered a top-flight basketball prospect and plans to play both in college. He passed for 1,390 yards and rushed for 642 in 2003 and accounted for 25 total touchdowns. He intends to make an official visit to USF next week.

UCF: Longtime assistant coach Alan Gooch accepted a job in the athletic department's fundraising department.

SIENA: The school dropped its I-AA football program.

SO. MISS: A series of concussions has forced quarterback Micky D'Angelo to give up football. The junior plans to join the golf team.


BUSH BACK AT UT: It turns out Adrian Bush will be coaching soccer at Tampa after all.

Two weeks after being passed over for the head-coaching position in favor of his former coach, Tom Fitzgerald, Bush accepted an assistant position.

The move allows Bush, a Hillsborough High graduate, to return to the school he helped to a Division II title in 1994 under Fitzgerald. "This is a great opportunity for me as a coach," Bush said. "I was hurt by the news a couple weeks ago, but I understood the news. I'm looking at the big picture, and this gets me in the door under one of the best coaches in the country."

Bush, who will retain his job as director of coaching at Hillsborough County United Soccer Club, was thought to be the front-runner for the Spartans' head job until Fitzgerald called UT officials to offer a positive recommendation of his former star.

Fitzgerald said that phone call turned into an opportunity for him to return to Tampa, where he began his coaching career, and he resigned as men's coach at UCLA a couple days later.

Former Jesuit and University of Tampa two-sport star Eric Sims will join the staff as goalkeepers coach and Maurice Loregnard, a UT assistant for two years, will remain with the team.

_ Times staff writer Mike Readling contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.