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USF Bulls start spring football drills

Former St. Petersburg Catholic four-star offensive lineman Reilly Gibbons, a transfer from Stanford, can practice with the Bulls but won’t be eligible until 2016. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times (2013)]
Former St. Petersburg Catholic four-star offensive lineman Reilly Gibbons, a transfer from Stanford, can practice with the Bulls but won’t be eligible until 2016. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2013)]
Published Feb. 24, 2015

TAMPA — Former St. Petersburg Catholic four-star OL Reilly Gibbons made his public debut in USF practice attire Monday, but his first appearance in a Bulls game-day uniform won't arrive for another 20 months.

Coach Willie Taggart announced Monday that Gibbons, who transferred from Stanford last fall after appearing in two preseason workouts for the Cardinal, can practice with the Bulls but won't be eligible until 2016.

Gibbons joined the Bulls for Monday morning's initial spring workout of 2015.

"Why (is he ineligible)? You have to ask the NCAA that," Taggart said.

Gibbons signed with Stanford last February and took a pair of summer courses at the school but none in the fall. His family's request for a waiver of the NCAA's transfer rule, requiring players who move from one Division I program to another to sit out a year, initially was denied. That decision had been on appeal.

DENSON OUT, KINNAN IN: Running backs coach Autry Denson's reported move from USF to Notre Dame still hasn't been confirmed by the Fighting Irish, but Denson was a no-show at Monday's practice, where Taggart worked with the ball carriers.

Denson, hired to replace Telly Lockette as Bulls running backs coach in January, was on the job barely more than a month when reports indicated he would take the same job at his alma mater, where he remains its career rushing leader. Taggart said no replacement for Denson would be sought until after spring drills.

"We have enough guys to get through the spring," Taggart said. "I don't want to hire just anybody for our guys. … We're going to make sure we get someone in here that's going to be with us and be all in and help us get better."

Meantime, Taggart's high school coach, Joe Kinnan, has joined the staff as a volunteer offensive consultant. Kinnan won five state titles, including one with Taggart at quarterback, in 29 seasons at Bradenton Manatee High.

HUDSON DEPARTS: Taggart confirmed that former Sickles High first-team all-state OL Zach Hudson, a 2014 USF signee, has left the program. Hudson redshirted last season while recovering from shoulder surgery. "Zach decided he no longer wanted to play football, and he wanted to move on," Taggart said.