tampabay.com

Ex-prep star leaves LSU for 'open arms' of Bulls

By GREG AUMAN
Published August 23, 2005


TAMPA - Anthony "Amp" Hill , a prolific prep receiver whose two years at LSU were derailed by a 2003 knee injury, said Monday he's transferring to USF on scholarship and joining the Bulls this week.

"I've made my decision," said Hill, who will sit out this season and have two years of eligibility remaining. "I feel like the South Florida football family has reached out to me with open arms."

Hill, who caught 116 passes for 1,579 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Jacksonville's First Coast High, was ranked the No. 8 receiver prospect by rivals.com. After tearing two ligaments in his right knee in August 2003, he did not catch a pass at LSU and appeared in three games last season. He'll be reunited with USF receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey , who worked with him as a graduate assistant in 2003.

"He and I had a great rapport, built a good relationship when we worked together," said Hill, scheduled to arrive tonight.

Hill said his knee wasn't a problem in spring drills, and he transferred because he was unhappy with the repetitions he was getting as a reserve at LSU.

"I feel my knee's the best it's felt since the injury. I'm excited about having a fresh start," he said.

STEPPING UP: With sophomore Danny Verpaele out with a foot injury, redshirt freshman Carlton Williams has emerged as the starter at free safety.

"He's really coming on. He's not practicing like a freshman," co-defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz said. "He's running with the (No.) ones now. He works, he pushes himself hard. He's a great kid to coach."

Verpaele, injured in the first week of practice, won't have his cast off until next week, making it questionable whether he can make a healthy return in time for the Sept. 3 opener at Penn State.

Williams, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Valdosta, Ga., who joined the team last season, entered the preseason as the starting nickel defensive back. That role now goes to another redshirt freshman, converted quarterback Louis Gachette .

SWITCHING SIDES: The Bulls continue to experiment with position changes. The latest is Denard Sweeting , a speedy junior walk-on from Miami Carol City who moves from receiver to defensive back.

"We'll grab anybody with speed," said Kravitz, noting that Sweeting could make an impact on special teams as well.

Coach Jim Leavitt made another switch during the morning practice, moving sophomore Siaosi Uhatafe , a Gibbs graduate who moved from nose tackle to fullback in the spring, back to nose tackle. Uhatafe, listed as the starting fullback entering preseason drills, will work on both sides of the ball to provide depth.

THIS AND THAT: Sophomore Jerome Springfield , competing with junior Thed Watson for the starting left tackle job, has been limited by a sore knee, Leavitt said. ... Freshman Mike Benzer is "a little bit in the lead" in competition with walk-on Kyle Bronson for kicking duties, Leavitt said, and walk-on Justin Teachey is likely to handle kickoffs.