There are two players in today's countdown. First, a talented backup who's finally looking to break through and get some playing time.
#24 RB Bradley Battles
Redshirt Sophomore, 5'9", 201 lbs.
Stats In 2010: Stuck behind Moise Plancher, Demetris Murray, and Marcus Shaw, Battles didn't get many touches last year as a redshirt freshman. While he officially started the Stony Brook game and played in seven games overall, Bradley only had 12 carries for 52 yards.
Current Position On Depth Chart: Battles was not listed on the two-deep at running back following spring practice.
How He Got To USF: Battles played at Marianna High School in Marianna, which is about 60 miles northeast of Panama City in the eastern tip of the Florida Panhandle. He was all over the field for the Bulldogs, scoring 40 touchdowns as a running back his last two years while also playing safety (124 total tackles, four interceptions) and returning kicks. Battles had offers from Wisconsin, Missisippi, Kentucky, Maryland, and others, but he chose USF in June 2008.
Recruiting Rankings: Battles was listed as an athlete by RIvals and given four stars. He was 16th overall as an athlete, 36nd overall in Florida, and #192 in the Rivals250 for the class of 2009. Scout considered Bradley to be a running back, giving him three stars and ranking him 64th at his position.
Projected Playing Time In 2011: Focusing just on this year, Battles has a chance to get into the running back rotation behind Murray and Darrell Scott. Dontae Aycock's departure earlier this week narrows down the competition to Battles and Marcus Shaw, with potentially Willie Davis getting into the mix. It's important for Battles to get as high on the depth chart as he can because unlike when Jim Leavitt and Carl Franks were coaching, there aren't going to be a lot of backs getting into the game. He's also another candidate to run back kicks if something were to happen to either Lindsey Lamar or Terrence Mitchell.
Long-term... I'm really not sure. If Battles can't crack the rotation this year and doesn't get many touches, will he continue waiting his turn? Or might he want to move on and find someplace where he can get more immediate playing time? A lot of it is up to him, though. The opportunity is there for him to take advantage.