Gulf QB's lengthy ride ends at USF

Published August 13, 2006

NEW PORT RICHEY - Gulf quarterback Alton Voss spent Saturday riding roller coasters at Universal Orlando.

A fitting celebration considering the ups and downs of his recruitment.

Voss ended the chase Friday with an oral commitment to USF. He also considered Florida and Mississippi State.

"I sat down a few days ago and made my decision," Voss said. "I weighed the pros and cons. USF has great people and the program is on the rise."

The Bulls - and many other programs - initially offered Voss a scholarship as an athlete, which basically meant they could put him anywhere.

What often gets lost when it comes to the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder is his impact on defense. Voss is a punishing hitter and can play linebacker or safety.

After putting up 2,600 yards of offense and 23 touchdowns as a junior, Voss desperately wanted to go to college as a quarterback.

He made a push at Alabama, but lost out after Plant quarterback Robert Marve committed to the Tide.

Mississippi State wanted Voss as a quarterback, but he never felt comfortable playing so far from home.

There were visits to Florida and calls last week from the coaching staff, but never the right message or a firm offer.

USF had fallen off until it came offering a quarterback spot in late July after the unraveling of Carlton Hill.

Hill, who had the starting job entering spring practice, was shipped to Pearl River Community College after a slew of off-the-field-problems.

"That helped my situation more," Voss said. "They spoke so highly of him when I went there. I think (his problems) gave me a big opening."

Hill, who may play receiver in Mississippi, said he wants to return to USF next season.

The Bulls' only returning scholarship quarterbacks should be sophomore Grant Gregory and redshirt freshman Matt Grothe.

USF suddenly had great appeal.

Tie in proximity to family and friends, and picking the Bulls was only a matter of time.

"This affords him the best opportunity," said Robin Burge, Voss' godfather. "With this quarterback situation . . . I think they feel Alton is the answer."

USF SOCCER: Junior Kris Raad and freshman Ogi Perucica each scored as the men's team defeated visiting Tampa 2-0 to win the Rowdies Cup. . . . Freshman Jaleesa Scott scored three goals as the women's team opened its exhibition season with a 4-0 win over visiting Saint Leo.

College hall inducts 20

College seems like a blur to Jerry Rice. "It went by so fast. You're so focused," said Rice, who played for Mississippi Valley State. "I wish I could go back and do it all over again."

That was a common feeling among the 20 men enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. Former Alabama linebacker Cornelius Bennett, Pittsburgh offensive tackle Mark May and Oklahoma running back Joe Washington all said they would love to live those days again.

Even fullback Roosevelt Leaks, who faced some obstacles in becoming the first black All-America football player at Texas, said he would gladly do it again.

Others being inducted included Southern Cal tailback Anthony Davis, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback John Huarte of Notre Dame, Stanford defensive tackle Paul Wiggin and Michigan defensive back Tom Curtis, along with former coaches Pat Dye and Don Nehlen.