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Bulls gets recruit, hope for another

GREG AUMAN
Published August 7, 2004

TAMPA - South Florida has added one promising freshman from Sarasota Booker and could get another with even more promise next week.

Daniel "Willie" Phelps, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback, signed with North Carolina in February but requested a release to be closer to his family. USF cannot comment on him until he starts classes, but his high school coach, Fred Gilmore, confirmed he will report to USF on Sunday and be eligible this season. "They're getting a special player, and when all this is straightened out they'll be getting another one," Gilmore said.

He was talking about Terrence Jones, a 5-10 177-pounder who earned first-team all-state honors after rushing for 2,612 yards and scoring 41 touchdowns as a senior. He committed to USF but was academically ineligible to sign in February.

Jones, who could not be reached for comment, took the English portion of the FCAT in June, having previously missed a passing score by two questions, Gilmore said. He expects to receive the results next week, and if he passes he'll enroll at USF and be eligible in 2005, Gilmore said.

"He's been visiting up there periodically, hanging out, seeing how they do things, preparing himself to be a Bull," Gilmore said. "He's planning on joining his brother."

His brother is junior defensive back Johnnie Jones, who is considering redshirting this fall as he recovers from an offseason neck and shoulder injury. The family has strong USF ties. The brothers' nephew is former Bulls linebacker Maurice Jones.

One certain addition for USF is Phelps, whose skills as a cornerback made him one of SuperPrep's top 100 recruits in the state. His speed also could help the Bulls on special teams. He averaged 47.2 yards on kickoff returns last season and ran four back for touchdowns.

Baxter wants scholarship

USF basketball and track star Jimmy Baxter worked out as a receiver this summer but said Friday he won't play unless he is given a scholarship before he leaves town Sunday.

"Coach (Jim) Leavitt hasn't called me, but the ball is in his court," said Baxter, who is working out with NBA players in Miami as he tries to get a pro basketball deal. Leavitt could not be reached for comment. Baxter, who hasn't played football since his sophomore year in high school, has one semester of eligibility remaining. He played basketball for 31/2 before quitting in January and hopes that doesn't affect Leavitt's decision. "Whatever he decides I'll always respect him," Baxter said. "But I hope he can judge me based on 31/2 years of me putting this school on the map and not one semester of basketball."

He graduates today with a degree in interdisciplinary social sciences.

OLE MISS: Running back Jamal Pittman was suspended for at least six games and linebacker Ken Bournes was dismissed. Both pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanors stemming from an alleged gun-waving incident in July. Coach David Cutcliffe said Bournes also faced academic issues, and Pittman will return Oct. 16 against Tennessee, "if he does what we expect of him."

Also, fullback Rick Razzano was suspended for the season opener after an arrest in connection with an April 4 fight.

HAWAII: Darrel "Mouse" Davis, the architect of the run-and-shoot offense, was hired as a special teams coach. Davis and coach June Jones worked together with Houston (1984) and Denver (1985) of the USFL, the Lions (1989-90) and Falcons (1994-96).

TEXAS: Running back Cedric Benson will serve eight days in jail after pleading no contest to misdemeanor criminal trespassing. Police said Benson, who was suspended for a game after his arrest, forced his way into an apartment in October to search for a stolen TV. He is expected to play in the season opener.

Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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