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Gators hope DE returns

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 5, 2001


Reports that former Florida defensive end Thomas "Stone" Pittman is returning to the team this week may be premature.

Pittman, a backup last season, is playing baseball with the Class A Jupiter Hammerheads.

Florida coach Steve Spurrier said Pittman could return Wednesday, when the full squad is scheduled to report. But as of Saturday night, Pittman, who declined interview requests, remained in Jupiter playing for the Montreal Expos' Florida State League club.

"We talk about a lot of things, (college football) is one of those," Hammerheads manager Tim Leiper said Saturday. "Do I think he'll still be here next week? I do actually, yeah."

Pittman, who also played in the minor leagues last season, registered 24 tackles and a sack last season. Pittman would help because Clint Mitchell is suspended the first six games and his backup, Kennard Ellis, is suspended for the opener against Marshall.

USF: Two orientation sessions were held for 38 newcomers. Today's orientation includes academics and strength and conditioning.

Among late additions were offensive lineman Jimmie Giles Jr., a transfer from Grambling and son of former Bucs tight end Jimmie Giles, and Frank Davis, a 6-4, 290-pound defensive lineman from the Republic of Panama. Other newcomers are defensive ends Cedric Battles and Shurron Pierson, teammates at Wildwood High School who signed in 2000 and sat out while gaining full NCAA eligibility.

Six newcomers do not plan to join the squad this fall. Four will seek complete NCAA eligibility and two may enroll in January. Anthony Caldwell, Eugene Hampton, Elvis Smith and Willie Williams have not met complete eligibility standards and David Mullins and Patrick Quinn did not enroll.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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