By Times staff writers, Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 24, 2002
TAMPA -- DiShon Platt is headed for South Florida. Directly.
Platt, a blue-chip receiver recruit from Punta Gorda Charlotte, has been accepted as a student by USF, the registrar's office confirmed Friday to the Times.
Platt signed with Florida State but did not qualify academically, so he is ineligible for athletic aid from USF (or any four-year school) and cannot be a member of the football team until fall 2003.
Platt must complete 24 credits by next summer (the fall semester begins Monday) to become eligible to play and eligible for scholarship. USF players Shurron Pierson and Cedric Battles followed such a path.
Platt, 6 feet, 175 pounds, would begin next fall as a sophomore but could earn a fourth year of eligibility by graduating in four years. He would be the third Charlotte High receiver on the Bulls roster, joining junior Elgin Hicks and sophomore Bruce Gipson.
Rated the No. 2 receiver and No. 16 senior in the nation last fall by rivals.com, Platt had considered attending Hillsborough Community College and transferring to USF, or attending Jones (Miss.) County Junior College and transferring to Florida State.
He had 69 receptions for 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior, and as a junior he led the state with 1,470 receiving yards. Platt also plays basketball and said he would like to play both sports in college.
CONDITION IMPROVING: Several South Florida players are on the mend.
Standout receiver DeAndrew Rubin, who missed a week with a hamstring injury, practiced at full speed Friday.
"He looked good today," coach Jim Leavitt said.
Also, receiver Bruce Gipson (ankle) and defensive end Kenny Huebner (toe) practiced Friday.
Receiver C.J. Lewis (ribs) and running back Quinton Callum (groin) did not practice but are expected back soon. Receiver Huey Whittaker (knee) is doing some light running and is doubtful for the opener against Florida Atlantic.
AND YESTERDAY IS TOMORROW: Friday was Sunday for the Bulls, who host FAU on Thursday and have moved everything up two days from the usual pregame schedule. There was one difference, though. The Bulls usually have Sunday off, but not this "Sunday." They practiced for almost two hours and emphasized the kicking game and seven-on-seven drills.
STILL TRYING: Offensive lineman Ken Dawson has two days to complete his degree requirements and earn another year of eligibility. Dawson was a partial qualifier and could not play as a freshman. His four-year window to graduate and earn a fourth year runs out when classes begin Monday.
Hugh Smith and Emerson Morris graduated this month to earn an additional year.
MEET THE BULLS: Today is fan appreciation day. The final half-hour of practice, from 11-11:30 a.m., is open to the public, and players and coaches will be available for autographs and photos afterward.
-- PETE YOUNG
GAINESVILLE -- Three Florida players, all from Tampa, were awarded scholarships Friday.
Sophomore center Dewayne DuBose, sophomore punter Jason Hunter and sophomore tailback Ray Snell were offered scholarships before afternoon practice.
"They've worked extremely hard and I think they deserve it," coach Ron Zook said. "As I told them, I was a walkon, so I understand that feeling and they've worked hard and they deserve it. I think it's important that you have an opportunity to get a scholarship at the University of Florida. I'm just glad we were able to do that."
MITCHELL WON'T PLAY: Junior defensive end Clint Mitchell of Countryside High will not play in the opener Aug. 31 against Alabama-Birmingham because of an ongoing suspension from last season.
Mitchell was suspended for on and off-the-field problems.
"He's done the things we've asked him to do, both academically and on the football field," Zook said.
NO SHOW: Sophomore offensive tackle Mo Mitchell missed the morning session to go home for personal reasons. Also, the academic status of Dallas Baker is unknown and he won't be practicing Monday.
-- JILL MARTIN
CORAL GABLES -- Top-ranked Miami's injury-depleted defensive line received a boost when defensive ends Jerome McDougle and Andrew Williams participated in contact drills for the first time since fall camp began.
The Hurricanes entered the fall with four seniors who had starting experience, but injuries to McDougle's pectoral muscle and Williams' knee depleted the depth.
"I wouldn't say they were ready to play, or if we played tonight that I'd play them 60 plays," coach Larry Coker said. "But they did practice today and saw some limited work, which is a good sign."
Cornelius Green and Jamaal Green, who are not related, are listed as Miami's starters at defensive end. Before last fall, the Greens were slated as the starters, but injuries pushed McDougle and Williams into those roles.
Also Rose Bowl MVP Andre Johnson was one of 32 receivers named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list. The award is given to the nation's best receiver.
-- ASSOCIATED PRESS
ORLANDO -- The annual Golden Knight Classic is 1 today in the Florida Citrus Bowl. The event, which used to be a full intrasquad scrimmage, is a scripted scrimmage in less than full practice gear. "It will be a game rehearsal with everything from A to Z," coach Mike Kruczek said. Also, tight end Brian Miller took all the snaps as QB with the first-team offense as Ryan Schneider and Brandon Sumner watched in red jerseys. In team news, ticket sales have topped 12,000 and are expected to pass last season's 12,467.
-- TIMES WIRES