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Speedy receiver gets scholarship at USF
By Times Staff Writers Times Wires
Published August 28, 2005
TAMPA - USF's fourth scholarship transfer this fall is its fastest.
Ryan Gilliam, who had 13 tackles as a redshirt freshman cornerback at Oregon last season, has accepted a scholarship to USF and said he was admitted Friday. He'll start his Bulls career as a receiver, a position he excelled at while at Tallahassee's Lincoln High School.
"Coach ( Jim) Leavitt gave me a great opportunity to come down here, play football and run track, to be in my home state," said Gilliam, who will run the 100 meters for USF's track team in spring. "I'll start at receiver, but they want to try me at both positions."
Gilliam committed to Florida State out of high school but signed with Oregon, where he matched the fastest 40-yard time ever by a Ducks defensive back (4.27 seconds). He initially planned to transfer from Oregon to Tulane, but changed his mind after finding out much of his credit hours couldn't transfer there.
Gilliam joins Indiana quarterback Grant Gregory, N.C. State defensive end Maurice Charles and LSU receiver Amp Hill as the Bulls' scholarship transfers. Charles and Hill are still waiting to be accepted.
FAMILIAR FACE: As a senior at Pasco High, receiver Johnny Peyton got a home visit from Penn State coach Joe Paterno and made an official visit to the Nittany Lions. With the Bulls opening the season at Penn State on Saturday, his cell phone has been ringing with calls from would-be teammates.
"I know a couple of them personally. They've been telling me a couple of them have a little hit out on me, but it's all fine and dandy," said Peyton, who befriended Lions quarterback Anthony Morelli when both were committed to Pittsburgh.
Peyton, who led USF with 469 receiving yards as a freshman last season, said his decision had less to do with Penn State and more to do with the weather during his official visit.
"I got off the airplane in like 8 feet of snow. Unh-unh," Peyton said.
- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer
FSU: Catching up
TALLAHASSEE - After several months of hitting the books hard, Brodrick Bunkley is transferring some of his efforts to the practice field.
"I'm feeling good," said Bunkley, who arrived at fall practice one week late. "Now it's getting down to the week, I've got to just refine some of my techniques and making sure everyone knows their assignments."
The former Tampa Chamberlin standout battled through injuries last season, playing in 10 games and starting in seven.
"I've been running pretty heavy," the 6-foot-3, 284-pound senior defensive tackle said. "(The coaches) feel that I had to get me back in shape going into the big game. We still got a week left to put some work in, and I plan on using it."
SATURDAY'S PRACTICE: The Seminoles, who open against Miami on Sept. 5, had a short kicking practice, worked on substitutions and did some conditioning.
- D.C. REEVES, Times correspondent
UF: Meyer attends funeral
GAINESVILLE - Coach Urban Meyer left practice early to attend the funeral of Thomas Herrion in Fort Worth, Texas, co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said.
Herrion, who played one year for Meyer at Utah in 2003, died last weekend after the San Francisco 49ers NFL preseason game in Denver.
"I think that more than anything, once you establish a relationship with your past players, just thinking about that - the death was so sudden that you just couldn't believe it," Strong said.
FORMER PLAYERS BACK: Many familiar faces walked off the practice field with the players headed for UF's first former player cookout. Meyer wants to establish it as an annual tradition.
Former Gator Ray McDonald Sr. not only got to attend the barbecue, but he also got to watch son Ray Jr., the starting defensive end, practice.
McDonald was a Gators receiver in the mid 1980s and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in October 1985.
"I said this years ago that that was one of the one missing ingredients here," McDonald Sr. said. "You have to get the old players involved."
- IAN FISHER, Times correspondent
Miami: Back to work
CORAL GABLES - Miami continued its return to normalcy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as the team went through a mock game in shoulder pads and shorts.
"Our guys are very anxious and they do want to play well," coach Larry Coker said. "I think we're ahead of where we were last year at this time."
Devin Hester (toe) returned to practice but was limited to special teams work.
- TIMES WIRES
UCF: Joachim healthy
ORLANDO - With the season-opener at South Carolina just five days away, there have been several surprises incamp. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Sergiori Joachim has impressed with his ability to get downfield and make plays. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Joachim has excellent hands and the knack for getting open in the secondary.
Nagging injuries derailed Joachim's first two seasons, but he has stayed healthy through camp and been one of the team's most productive wideouts. Joachim is second on the depth chart behind Brandon Marshall.