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Stampeding Through The Roster: #43 FB Armando Sanchez

Today's roster spot is held by one of the most interesting stories on the 2011 Bulls:

#43 FB Armando Sanchez

Junior, 5'11", 218 lbs.

Stats In 2010: As a reserve linebacker and special teams maven, Sanchez made 20 tackles last season. He also blocked a punt against Florida Atlantic and recovered it for a touchdown.

Current Position on Depth Chart: Given a chance to move to fullback before spring practice, Sanchez decided to take the opportunity and ended spring as the first-string fullback.

Just a quick side note here. Whatever you did this past spring, it was less than what Armando Sanchez did. Andrea Adelson's blog post yesterday explains why.

Armando Sanchez had a plan when he got to USF. He wanted to maximize his time in college, and work as hard as he could to leave school with multiple degrees.

But he probably did not envision the rigors of this past spring semester when he came up with his plan to get his undergraduate degree in three years. Sanchez loaded up on classes, taking 19 credit hours to ensure he would graduate with his communications degree next month. 

Then the coaches came to him with a question. Would he be willing to move from linebacker to fullback? Sanchez was more than happy to make the switch because he saw it as an opportunity to get more playing time.

He has mainly been a special-teams ace during his USF career, but lining up as more of an every-down player appealed to him. So he took the opportunity.

It's very similar to what Anthony Henry did back in the spring of 2000, when he took 22 credit hours so he could graduate and get another year of eligibility, while also switching positions. Henry only moved from safety to cornerback, though -- he didn't switch sides of the ball full time, like Sanchez going from linebacker to fullback. (We were reminded that Henry did play one game on offense, against Baylor.)

How He Came To USF: Armando played high school football at St. Petersburg's Northeast High School. The St. Petersburg Times rated him as the 15th-best prospect in Tampa/St. Pete in the class of 2008, and his 3.9 high school GPA drew interest from academic powerhouses like Wake Forest, Duke, and Stanford. But the Bulls were the first team to offer a scholarship, and he accepted in May 2007.

Recruiting Rankings: Rivals gave Sanchez three stars, although they listed him as an athlete and therefore did not rank him nationally. Scout listed him as a two-star recruit, ranking him 58th among weakside linebackers.

Projected Playing Time In 2011: Sanchez should be on the field almost every time the Bulls go with a two-back set. It will be interesting to see if he keeps getting playing time on special teams as long as he's the starting fullback, though. While he excels at kick coverage, he might be too valuable to risk playing on that unit.