Coming off the high of beating UCF 48-31 and winning the inaugural “War on I-4” trophy, USF will be without back up linebacker Cecil Cherry for the bowl game and beyond as he has decided to transfer from the school.
In a series of tweets, Cherry informed the public of his decision:
I'm going to jr college in Mississippi and I got a huge tunnel vision from here on now— Cecil Cherry (@cecil_cherry4) November 28, 2016
When reached for confirmation, USF had not gotten back to The Daily Stampede. However, Brady Fredericksen of The Ledger in Lakeland was able to shed some light into the situation.
Cherry said he left USF for some of the same reasons he left Texas. He said some told him one thing, did another in regards to playing time.— Brady Fredericksen (@Brady_Fred) November 28, 2016
Cherry transferred to USF from Texas after spending just three practices in Austin. He sat out the 2015 season to satisfy the NCAA transfer rule and went on to play in all 12 regular-season games for the Bulls. It doesn’t jive with me that he was upset about playing time when he knew there were two incumbent starters at linebacker in Auggie Sanchez and Nigel Harris. Sanchez just completed his second straight season with over 100 tackles, and Harris has started 40 games in his career.
Defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie began substituting defensive players liberally in the Navy game. After that Cherry began to see the field more on defense instead of just on special teams. Cherry finished the year with 30 tackles, 13th on the team overall, and third among linebackers behind Sanchez and Harris.
With Cherry being Sanchez’s backup as the MIKE linebacker and Sanchez having another year of eligibility left, maybe Cherry didn’t think waiting another year was worth it.
Cherry has known he was going to leave USF, he said. He wanted to wait until the UCF game which, of course, was this past weekend.— Brady Fredericksen (@Brady_Fred) November 28, 2016
If the coaches had known this before the game, maybe they wouldn’t have played him since he had already checked out on being a Bull.
Cecil Cherry tells me he's leaving USF to play at Coahoma CC. Hopes to only spend one year in JUCO before transferring back up.— Brady Fredericksen (@Brady_Fred) November 28, 2016
Coahoma Community College is an HBCU located in Coahoma County, Mississippi. The football team went 1-8 this year.
Cherry’s signature moment as a Bull came against Memphis when he drilled cornerback B.J. Ross on the opening kickoff. Ross was sent to the hospital and is out for the rest of the season, but has gotten better.
Cherry’s departure, plus the pending graduation of Harris will leave the Bulls with limited experience at linebacker next year. Along with Sanchez, Nico Sawtelle and Danny Thomas will be the only other linebackers with significant playing time under their belt.
Good luck Cecil, wherever you choose to go.