DeAndrew Rubin, WR/1999-2002
The Bulls have had a lot of really good wide receivers during their history. Clif Dell, Rj Anderson, Scott McCready, Hugh Smith, Huey Whittaker, Taurus Johnson, Jessie Hester, and Carlton Mitchell are all among the best at that position over the first 15 years. But the best wide receiver ever at USF is DeAndrew Rubin.
Rubin could do anything you needed. Trying to beat one-on-one coverage with a slant? D-Rube could do that. Looking to go deep? Rubin was your man. Do you want your receiver to also be an ace punt returner? He's got that covered too. What put him over the top for us, even though he doesn't have as many elite stats as a guy like Hugh Smith or Carlton Mitchell, was his multifaceted big-play ability.
As a receiver, Rubin caught 91 passes for 1306 yards and a school-record 14 touchdowns in his career. He also had 1049 punt return yards and 1534 kick return yards, along with a record five combined return touchdowns. His 3898 all-purpose yards at USF are easily a school record, and likely to stand for awhile unless Dontavia Bogan goes on a rampage this season. He also has two of the seven 90+ yard scoring plays in Bulls history - a 91-yard punt return against Utah State in 2001, and a 95-yard reception against Northern Illinois in 2002 (the longest play ever from scrimmage for USF).
And consider that he probably would have had even bigger stats and more huge plays except for an ankle injury in 2000, and a turf toe injury that took him out of three games in 2001 and lingered for most of the season. He suffered it in the landmark win against Pittsburgh, which was his greatest game and one of the great single-game performances in USF history. On that day, Rubin caught 11 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and added punt and kick returns for another 127 yards. This wasn't some scrub I-AA team he was doing all this against, either, this was Big East Pittsburgh, a team that blew Virginia Tech's doors off 38-7 and later won the Tangerine Bowl that year, with future NFL cornerback Torrie Cox trying to check him.
USF had a 28-7 lead in the third quarter, but Pittsburgh closed to 28-26 in the middle of the fourth. Then they put the Bulls in a 3rd and 3 on their own 44. For the first time since the early minutes of the game, the crowd got into it, thinking the Panthers could get a stop and score to finally put away this pesky Bulls team. That's not what they got.
From there, the Bulls would eventually get the ball in the end zone to clinch the 35-26 win.
Rubin was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2003 as a receiver and returner, and after a couple of years on NFL practice squads and in Europe, he jumped into Arena football, where he currently plays for the Tampa Bay Storm. The Storm are setting up for a run at yet another Arena Bowl, and it would be a nice reward if a league that prizes versatile players like DeAndrew Rubin could get him a championship ring.