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USF: position by position
By Greg Auman
Published August 31, 2007
Sophomore Matt Grothe was last year's Big East Rookie of the Year, throwing for 2,576 yards and leading the team in rushing. There's no experience behind him - backup Grant Gregory, injured most of last season, hasn't thrown a pass in a game since 2003.
Former walk-on Ben Williams, the 5-foot-7 MVP of last year's bowl win, opens the season as starter, but watch out for a slew of newcomers, led by bullish Mike Ford, speedy Aston Samuels and last year's opening-day starter, Moise Plancher, who has recovered from knee surgery.
Three proven veterans - Marcus Edwards, Taurus Johnson and Amarri Jackson - lead the way, but watch out for younger players such as 6-5 freshman Carlton Mitchell and speedy Jessie Hester Jr., who redshirted last year.
Perhaps the thinnest position, with little experience behind junior Cedric Hill. Sophomore Ben Busbee is ahead of freshman Andrew Ketchel, but watch out for walk-on Quincy Okolie, who has put on significant weight in the past year.
Injuries have muddied things, but center Nick Capogna and tackles Marc Dile and Walter Walker are polished, experienced leaders. There's a youth movement at guard, where redshirt freshman Zach Hermann and true freshman Sampson Genus are pushing hard for starting positions.
Sophomore end George Selvie had a breakout season last year, but the opposite end is up for grabs. Inside, tackle Richard Clebert had a great offseason and is a weight-room demon. If healthy, he can dominate against the run, but the Bulls need to establish some depth here.
Senior Ben Moffitt, below, is an anchor in the middle, and transfer Tyrone McKenzie was a tackling machine at Iowa State, piling up 129 last season. Weakside is a battle between junior Brouce Mompremier and sophomore Donte Spires, a junior college transfer who has impressed.
Senior corners Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams are one of the nation's top tandems, capable of shutting receivers down. Redshirt freshman Nate Allen steps in at free safety, with junior Carlton Williams at strong safety and sophomore Jerome Murphy as the nickel back.
Inconsistent last year, the Bulls hope for more this year from sophomore Delbert Alvarado, who hit a Big East-record 56-yard field goal as a freshman. Rugby-style punter Justin Teachey is still the guy to beat at the position, and he'll likely handle kickoffs this season as well. Anthony Severino returns as holder, and freshman Mike Walsh is pushing Eric Setser for the long-snapper job.