Not surprisingly, there were no USF football players chosen during this weekend's NFL Draft. This is the first time since 2012 without any Bulls being drafted.
However, some of USF's senior prospects will sign free-agent deals with NFL teams after being undrafted. We'll keep updating this story as more news is broken.
8:40 p.m. Saturday: Defensive end Eric Lee is reportedly signing with the Houston Texans:
Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 30, 2016
Lee was a late bloomer with USF who didn't really have competent defensive coaching until his senior year. In 2015 he recorded 45 tackles, 12 for loss, five sacks, and two forced fumbles. He also showed some surprising pass defense skills with an interception against Western Kentucky in the Miami Beach Bowl and four pass breakups. He has NFL size for a defensive end (6'3", 260 lbs.) but will need some grooming to be a pro player.
9:40 p.m.: Steven Bench and Mattias Ciabatti will get tryouts at minicamps:
Former USF quarterback Steven Bench headed to Bucs rookie minicamp as a tryout player ...— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 1, 2016
Former Hillsborough and USF punter Mattias Ciabatti is headed to Redskins rookie minicamp on a tryout contract.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 30, 2016
Bench had a number of chances to solidify himself as USF's starting quarterback, as the position was in near-constant flux during his first two years as a Bull. But he spent most of his time as a backup. For his career he only completed 47.8% of his passes. However, like most of USF's offensive players, his numbers were much better in 2015 when he completed 14 of 22 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 62 yards and two more scores. Bench does have good speed, though, and reportedly he might be trying out at a different position.
Ciabatti finished his college career as USF's all-time leading punter, averaging 42.5 yards per kick and downing 61 punts inside the 20. He holds the two highest season punting averages in school history (44.4 yards in 2014, followed by 43.2 in 2015) and had 47 punts of at least 50 yards, including his career long of 68 yards, which he accomplished twice.
5:55 p.m. Sunday: Sean Price reportedly heading to Ravens minicamp:
USF TE Sean Price is headed to the Ravens mini camp— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) May 1, 2016
It's not clear if he's on a tryout contract or a regular UDFA contract.
It looked like Price would be lost in the shuffle for his entire college career. First he played in an offense that rarely threw to tight ends as a freshman. Then in his sophomore and junior years, he had no one to reliably throw him the ball. Finally in his senior year, he reached some of his potential with 19 receptions, 296 yards, and five touchdowns, including two apiece against Cincinnati and UCF. Thanks to USF’s prolific running game, seams opened up for Price off play action and packaged plays. Overall, he set USF’s tight end receiving records with 75 catches and 897 receiving yards. (If those numbers sound low, it’s partly because the Bulls haven’t really featured tight ends in the passing game over the years, and often didn’t even have them on the field.)
Price’s college production wasn’t great, but his size (6’3", 252 pounds) and raw ability make him an interesting prospect for the team that wants to take a chance on him. If he can add a few pounds to his frame and dedicate himself as a blocker, he can become a viable NFL tight end.
Monday evening: Thor Jozwiak and Brynjar Gudmundsson also trying out with the Bucs:
Gudmundsson was USF's starting center and Jozwiak started at left guard in 2015, as the offensive line cleared a path for the Bulls to shatter their single-season record with 3205 rushing yards. Gudmundsson made a total of 38 starts and played every position on the offensive line except left tackle, while Jozwiak finished with 26 career starts at guard and earned two degrees while at USF.