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Five football players among USF spring graduates

Lots of notes and links to catch up on after a busy weekend with the NFL Draft. This week brings another major event for five USF football players who are graduating Thursday at spring commencement ceremonies -- defensive ends Craig Marshall, David Bedford and Patrick Hampton, guard Chaz Hine and linebacker Donte Spires.

Those five join four 2010 seniors who graduated in December (Sampson Genus, A.J. Love, Jake Sims, Mo Plancher), as well as tight end Andrew Ketchel, who graduated from USF last spring. Tight end Kevin Gidrey graduated from East Carolina last spring before transferring to USF.

Perhaps the most impressive of the group are Hampton and Hine, who graduated in four years and will be back for their final year of eligibility this fall, much the same way Ketchel did a year ago. (Hine, you'll remember, was voted "most remarkable" after being part of the College of Business' "25 Under 25" campaign.)

It's not unusual for a four-year degree to take four and a half if not five years, and some of the 2010 seniors who haven't completed their degrees are players who didn't take redshirts and are just now finishing their fourth year on campus -- Dontavia Bogan and Richard Kelly, for instance.

Thursday's graduation is at the St. Pete Times Forum because the Sun Dome is preparing for major renovations -- the Times Forum was reserved for weekend dates in anticipation of the NHL playoffs, but USF was able to secure Thursday's date, which is why the Lightning are playing home games on back-to-back dates tonight and Wednesday.

Posted by Greg Auman at 10:57:26 am on May 03, 2011