>> Thursday, July 9, 2009
The South Florida football program has established a meteoric rise in the football world over the past several years. Jim Leavitt's program has managed to reach the top 10 in each of the past two season, only to see a late season swoon derail their BCS chances. However, the Bulls return two of the most talented players in the Big-East this season, quarterback Matt Grothe and defensive end George Selvie. Grothe has the ability to make USF a Big-East title contender from the get-go and he is surrounded by some talent on the offensive side of the ball.
Grothe is an established dual-threat quarterback who has the moxie to lead this team to a very, very good season and he will help make new offensive coordinator Mike Canales's job a lot easier. Canales will instill a more spread oriented offense which should allow Grothe to continue to thrive and produce a tremendous statistical season. However, he must produce behind an inexperienced offensive line that returns only one starter, junior Zach Hermann. If the line can provide Grothe time to throw the ball, he will have several stellar targets to catch the pigskin. Dontavia Bogan, Ed Alcin and Carlton Mitchell all have the ability to help move the ball down the field and Bogan has super-star written all over him. Although the new spread offense will provide more opportunities for the wide receivers, it may cut into junior running back Mike Ford's production.
Defensively USF has one of the most talented players in the country in George Selvie. Selvie is a legitimate 1st round draft pick and is a disruptive force on the defensive line. Sevlie is surrounded by an experienced defensive line that includes end Craig Marshall and tackles Aaron Harris and Terrell McClain. While the defensive line is extremely talented, the linebacking corps is inexperienced at best. Kion Wilson will attempted to lead the inexperienced group from his middle linebacking position and will be joined by Chris Robinson and Sabbath Joseph on the outsides. The defensive backfield appears to be in better shape than the linebackers, because of the return of free safety Nate Allen. Allen is an All-Big East talent and is a playmaker in the defensive backfield.
Jim Leavitt has been reaping the benefits of coaching in the Sunshine state during his tenure at South Florida and this recruiting class was no different. Leavitt landed the 29th ranked class in the country, according to Rivals.com, and that includes four four-star commitments. Defensive end Ryne Giddins has the ability to become a terror from the defensive end position. The 6'4", 235 pound lineman was clocked at 4.6 in the 40 and should have no trouble becoming a nuisance for USF opponents. Four-Star athlete Bradley Battles has the ability to play several different positions, but will probably get a look at the running back position from the get-go in Tampa.
September 12th-@Western Kentucky-Win
September 19th-Charleston Southern-Win
September 26th-@Florida State-Loss
October 30th-West Virginia-Win
Season Projection: 9-3 (6-1 Big East)