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Voss, Leavitt dish on Gulf QB's future

Alton Voss was a little nervous about hosting a local celebrity.

Forget he already was orally committed to USF. Jim Leavitt was the first Division I head coach to walk through his mother's living room.

The Gulf quarterback, on crutches and recovering from last Tuesday's knee surgery, wanted to make a good impression, even phoning a USF assistant to see what Leavitt liked to drink.

"He's a Pepsi man," Voss said.

Leavitt met with Voss more than an hour Sunday night talking about football, knee injuries, housing and redshirting.

"I was the first recruit he did a home visit on," said Voss, referring to the NCAA's contact period, which began Sunday. "Everything I asked about he answered."

That includes Voss' knee injury, a torn lateral release and partially torn meniscus in his right knee. Voss was injured during Gulf's 23-12 victory at Citrus in Week 3. The knee "popped" out of place four times that night and got worse as the season wore on. He was faced with two options.

"If I scoped it I would be 10 to 14 days (to recover)," Voss said. "But they had to repair it and that was four to six weeks (of recovery). ...I was playing good enough to get by week by week."

Voss played the whole season. His knee would lock up mornings after games and he would rehab the knee most of the week just so he could run on Friday nights. The only game he missed was against Ocala Trinity Catholic on Oct. 20.

Coach Jay Fulmer did his best to keep the injury quiet.

"I knew (about the injury), but it wasn't something I was willing to discuss with people." Fulmer said. I didn't want people writing stories about it and taking pot shots at his knee."

Fulmer said Voss should be at full strength within six weeks.

Voss also will have the pinky on his left, nonthrowing hand evaluated Wednesday to see if he needs surgery.

Leavitt assured Voss the knee injury was not a concern for USF, that other kids had similar injuries and recovered fully.

Voss also asked if Leavitt thought redshirting was a good idea. Voss committed to USF to play quarterback before the emergence of Matt Grothe. Leavitt advised Voss to fight to play, that coaches would evaluate him and determine if he should take a redshirt year.

Overall, the visit went well and Voss said he still is committed to USF.

"(Leavitt's) one of the top coaches you could say," Voss said. "They just came off the tough win against West Virginia. The only time I've seen him was in his practice uniform. He came to the house in a suit. He looked professional. It was cool."

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (727) 580-5315.

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