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USF players, coaches rally around kicker Spencer Shrader

The Bulls have expressed support for the Newsome High alumnus since his four missed field goals Saturday.
USF placekicker Spencer Shrader (32) watches his missed field goal against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
USF placekicker Spencer Shrader (32) watches his missed field goal against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Nov. 19

TAMPA ― In the immediate wake of the most disheartening experience of his athletic life, Bulls walk-on kicker Spencer Shrader, naturally, was the subject of social media disparaging.

But the harsh comments on Twitter were offset by the humanity on his team.

The Bulls ― players and coaches ― have rallied around the Newsome High alumnus since his four missed field goals (three of them 43 yards or longer) in Saturday’s 20-17 loss to No. 17 Cincinnati.

The final miss, a 33-yarder that hit the right upright with 2:07 to play, was followed by the Bearcats’ winning field goal as time expired.

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“You look at a young man like that, and here he is, he gives everything he’s got and you just hate to see that happen,” coach Charlie Strong said Monday. “I’d rather for it to happen to myself than it to ever happen to one of my players, because I care so much about my players.”

Deemed USF’s “long-range” kicker by Strong coming out of preseason camp, Shrader has handled all the kicking chores the past month as fellow walk-on Coby Weiss works his way back from an unspecified injury.

He was 3-for-4 on field goals and had converted all 10 of his PATs entering Saturday’s game, but hadn’t even tried a field goal longer than 34 yards. In USF’s 48-22 win at UConn, he ran for a 22-yard touchdown on a fake field goal.

MORE BULLS: USF kicker Spencer Shrader delivers with both legs

“It’s unfortunate what we were going through (Saturday night),” senior tight end Mitch Wilcox said after the loss, "but he’s a great kicker and he’s got a great career ahead of him.”

Wilcox was among those embracing Shrader in the locker room Saturday. Senior defensive end Kirk Livingstone acknowledged he and classmate Marcus Norman briefly prayed with him.

“I’ve never been in that spot, but I could tell that’s a tough, tough spot to be in,” Livingstone said. “After we broke it up and we were about to shower, guys were just going, arms around him, just to hug him, just to talk to him to keep his head up.”

A 2018 Newsome graduate, Shrader spent most of last year competing with an under-20 soccer club in Brazil and documenting the experience. His sister, Sophie, plays for USF’s women’s soccer team that has reached the NCAA Tournament’s second round.

“He handles himself the right way,” Strong said. “Still young … still growing up, and you just hated to see that happen for him because he does everything we ask of him.”


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    John Romano | South Florida is a program with little history and loads of potential, and Scott is a hotshot young coach looking to make a name for himself.
  2. New FAU coach Willie Taggart faces one of his old teams, USF, on Sept. 26, 2020 in Boca Raton. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    He moves to his fourth program in the past 36 months. Adding intrigue to the hire, FAU hosts USF in 2020.
  3. (From left) USF Bulls mascot 'Rocky the Bull", new USF football coach Jeff Scott, his wife Sara and their 4-year-old daughter Savannah pose for photos after his announcement at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center on Wednesday [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The fifth football coach in USF history seems to hit all the right notes to a standing-room-only crowd
  4. LSU players celebrate after the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. LSU won 37-10. [JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP]
    “Members of Congress care about college sports. They recognize how important it is to American society."
  5. Jeff Scott is introduced as the new USF football coach at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa on Wednesday, [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Signs and sound bites indicate the Clemson co-offensive coordinator was the Bulls’ top choice all along
  6. Jeff Scott is introduced as the new USF Bulls head football coach at the University of South Florida Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    In fact, here’s how he did it as a Clemson walk-on in 2001
  7. In this Jan. 5 file photo, Clemson Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott speaks with media during media day at the SAP Center prior to the College Football Playoff national championship game  vs. the Alabama Crimson Tide at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. [ADAM LACY  |]
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    The former Clemson co-offensive coordinator must pay USF $2.5 million if he leaves on his own before Dec. 31 2020.
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    The fifth Bulls coach in program history will appear at the Sam & Martha Gibbons Alumni Center.
  10. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott talks with receivers Mike Williams (7) and Artavis Scott (3) during a 2016 game at FSU. Scott was named USF's coach Monday. [DAVID GROOMS/CAL SPORT MEDIA  |]
    Though not the bay area’s primary recruiter for Clemson, Scott’s fingerprints are all over the region.