(1) Marlon Mack d. (16) Evan Landi, 97-3%
(8) Jerome Murphy d. (9) Kion Wilson, 60-40%
(4) Anthony Henry d. (13) Amarri Jackson, 58-42%
(5) Kenyatta Jones d. (12) Auggie Sanchez, 54-46%
(11) Deatrick Nichols d. (6) Hugh Smith, 59-41%
(3) Andre Hall d. (14) Maurice Jones, 97-3%
(7) Carlton Mitchell d. (10) Taurus Johnson, 67-33%
(2) Jason Pierre-Paul d. (15) Maikon Bonani, 70-30%
We were hoping for chaos in the Taggart Regional, and we got quite a bit. Deatrick Nichols pulled off the first upset of the tourney, toppling Hugh Smith, and Auggie Sanchez came very, very close to knocking off Kenyatta Jones. Elsewhere, Mack and Hill cruised, but a few other favorited had to sweat out closer-than-expected results.
Let’s jump in to the Selmon regional to kick off a busy week of matchups. You can also skip directly to the voting at the bottom of the page.
(1) George Selvie vs. (16) Sean Price
Selvie stats: 2006-2009: 206 tackles, 69 TFL, 28.5 sacks
Price stats: 2012-2015: 75 receptions for 897 yards and six touchdowns
The case for Selvie: Selvie originally came to USF as an offensive lineman, which is difficult to imagine in retrospect given how terrifying of a defensive end he became. No one— and I mean no one— could match Selvie for speed off the edge. He was by far USF’s most dangerous player in 2007, and he put up numbers that have yet to see a USF player come close to tying them: a nation-leading 31.5 TFL, and 14.5 sacks. He was the linchpin of the defense that earned USF a trip up the rankings and a lot of national spotlight. It’s very possible that his 2007 season was the best individual season in school history.
As defenses focused on him and adjusted to his speed, Selvie was unable to match his incredible, All-America sophomore season as an upperclassman. But he was still a dangerous pass-rushing threat and experienced a renaissance after a few years in the NFL, where he anchored the line for the Cowboys in 2013 and 2014 and racked up ten sacks.
Selvie was named a Freshman All-American by The Sporting News in 2006. In 2007, he was a consensus First Team All-American, also earning First Team All-Big East honors and Big East Defensive Player of the Year. He was named First Team All-America again in 2008 by the AFCA. He earned First Team All-Big East honors again in 2008, and Second Team All-Big East in 2009. Selvie is USF’s all time leader in tackles for loss in a season, career tackles for loss, sacks in a season, and sacks in a career. He is USF’s only consensus All-American. With 50 career starts, he has started more games than any USF player.
The case for Price: One of USF’s biggest recruits to date, Price was a four-star tight end who looked destined for stardom after his true freshman season in 2012, when he caught 21 passes for 209 yards. The arrival of Mike McFarland and the departure of a functional USF offense saw his production drop in the next two seasons, but he had a marvelous senior season, posting career highs in yards (306) and touchdowns (5). Price was a tremendous athlete with soft hands, and by 2015 was basically un-coverable on a seam route over the middle. The point can certainly be argued, but he’s got a strong case for the title of best tight end in USF history. He was certainly the most productive.
Price was named Second Team All-AAC in 2015. He holds the USF career records for receptions and receiving yards by a tight end.
(8) Jacquian Williams vs. (9) Terrence Royal
Williams stats: 2009-2010: 99 tackles, 12 TFL, 2.5 sacks
Royal stats: 2002-2005: 157 tackles, 49.5 TFL, 19.5 sacks
The case for Williams: A lanky JUCO product who joined the Bulls in 2009 and broke into the starting lineup in 2010, Williams was the Bulls’ most productive linebacker in a unit filled with future pros. He was lightning-fast and excelled at lining up outside and causing chaos in the backfield, but what really set him apart was his knack for the big play. He made a pair of massive plays in two big wins in 2010, flying into the backfield to sack Chas Dodd on fourth down to clinch the Bulls’ first win against Rutgers in a half decade and making a remarkable one-handed interception against Miami.
His athleticism and playmaking ability served him well in the NFL. He was drafted in the sixth round by the Giants and became a staple in their linebackers corps, racking up 243 tackles in four years. He also made one of the most incredible plays made by a USF alum in the NFL, flying out of nowhere to jar the ball loose from the 49ers’ punt returner in overtime in the 2012 NFC Championship game, essentially sending the Giants to the Super Bowl.
Williams was named Second Team All-Big East in 2010.
The case for Royal: Sandwiched between two future NFL players in Shurron Pierson and George Selvie, it’s easy to forget how productive Royal was during his four years in a Bulls uniform. Few defensive ends in school history produced with the sort of consistency that Royal did; he started 32 games in four seasons and became one the team’s most dangerous pass rushers. In the Bulls’ first season in the Big East and Royal’s final season in college, he put together his finest year, making 46 tackles, including 10.5 TFL and a team-high ten sacks.
Royal was named Second Team All-Big East in 2005. He ranks third in USF history in sacks and fourth in TFLs. His ten sacks in 2005 are tied for the second-highest season total in program history.
(4) Rodney Adams vs. (13) Dyral McMillan
Adams stats: 2014-2016: 134 receptions for 1976 yards, 16 touchdowns; 40 carries for 380 yards (9.5 YPC), seven touchdowns; 1140 kick return yards, one touchdown
McMillan stats: 1998-1999: 223 carries for 1346 yards (5.8 YPC), 13 touchdowns
The case for Adams: If you just looked at Adams’ rushing and kick returning numbers, he’d still have a decent argument for inclusion among the most explosive players in USF history. But Adams was, of course, a receiver, and his numbers there are better than almost any other Bull who played the position. While the rise of the Gulf Coast offense was largely attributed to Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack, Adams may have had the most unique skill set of the trio, and he was every bit as vital. A burner with top-end speed who was equally effective on a fly pattern as he was taking a jet sweep, the versatile receiver blossomed in 2015 and strung together two straight seasons in which he set the USF single-season receiving record, and then broke his own record. He’ll be hard to replace in 2017.
Adams was named Second-Team All-AAC in 2015 and 2016. He holds USF single-season records in receiving yards (822), receptions (67), and receiving touchdowns (9). He is second all-time in the career totals for each category, and is fourth all-time in career all-purpose yards.
The case for McMillan: An underrated back who produced some of the best single-game offensive performances in USF history. McMillan played three seasons at Miami but was moved to fullback as a junior, which did not please him. He transferred to USF and found the level of competition more to his liking, becoming USF’s first ever 1,000 yard rusher in 1999. McMillan’s biggest achievements came in a couple of consecutive monster games: he ran for 258 yards against New Haven and followed it up with 221 yards against Hofstra the next week.
McMillan ranks 10th in rushing yards in USF history, and his 1999 season is the seventh-highest single-season rushing total in school history. He ranks third all-time in career yards per carry.
(5) DeAndrew Rubin vs. (12) Jeremiah Warren
Rubin stats: 1999-2002: 91 receptions, 1306 yards, 14 touchdowns; 2584 return yards, one touchdown
Warren stats: 2008-2011: 38 starts
The case for Rubin: USF’s first gamebreaker at receiver, and perhaps on offense in general, Rubin was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. It made sense, then, that USF would try to get it to him in every single way possible. He was a deep threat who could just as easily operate within the hashes— and to top it all off, he might’ve been the best returner in USF history.
Injuries slowed him from putting up huge numbers, but Rubin was electrifying. He saved his best game for his biggest game, catching 11 passes for 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns in USF’s landmark win over Pitt in 2001. His third-down, fourth-quarter reception in that game was the play of the season.
Rubin was named Honorable Mention All-America in 2002, and First Team All-FBS Independent. He leads USF in career all-purpose yardage, highest career punt and kickoff return average, and most career return touchdowns. He’s also second in career punt return yards, third in career kickoff return yards. He ranks third in career touchdowns and eighth in career receiving yards.
The case for Warren: A stalwart of USF’s offensive line in the Big East days, Warren saw his first action in 2008, broke into the starting lineup in 2009, and started every single game from that point on. In his best season as a senior, he lined up at guard an anchored a surprisingly potent USF rushing attack, earning postseason accolades. His time with the Bulls was followed by an NFL career that saw him switch to center and bounce around on a few practice squads before finally landing with the hometown Bucs in 2015, where he appeared in a few games.
Warren was named Second Team All-Big East in 2011.
(6) Terrell McClain vs. (11) Bill Gramatica
McClain stats: 2007-2010: 88 tackles, 17 TFL, 7.5 sacks
Gramatica stats: 1998-2000: 36/53 on field goals (67.9%), long of 63
The case for McClain: The Dancing Bear was as huge and nimble as his nickname suggests. McClain learned the ropes on the fantastic 2007 defensive line, then became a keystone of USF’s defensive front from 2008 to 2010. In his senior season, he was a run stopper extraordinaire, helping to clog opposing fronts all season long and lead a stingy USF defense. The massive, 310-lb. lineman was a hot commodity for NFL teams, and was selected in the third round by the Panthers. He’s been in the NFL for six seasons and just had his best year yet, starting 15 games for the Cowboys and making a career-high 40 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
McClain was named First Team All-Big East in 2010.
The case for Gramatica: Gramatica transferred to USF from Florida State after losing his starting job as a freshman. He promptly went on to become one of the best kickers in I-AA, demonstrating pinpoint accuracy from under 40 yards and an absolute cannon for a leg. He made a 63-yarder in his senior season— that’s a yard under the NFL record, by the way— which obviously attracted some serious attention from the pros. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Cardinals, and went on to have a fruitful NFL career that included making 37 field goals (and, of course, tearing his ACL while celebrating).
Gramatica was named First Team All-America (in I-AA) in 1998, also earning First Team All I-AA Independent honors. His 63-yarder is obviously the longest field goal in USF history. He ranks third in USF history in career field goal percentage.
(3) Ben Moffitt vs (14) Carlton Williams
Moffitt stats: 2004-2007: 335 tackles, 41 TFL, six sacks
Williams stats: 2005-2008: 226 tackles, 7.5 TFL, five interceptions
The case for Moffitt: After a quiet freshman season, Moffitt became the heart and soul of the USF defense as soon as he assumed the starting middle linebacker position in 2005. With Moffitt in charge, the Bulls’ defense was always fast, fiery and excellent. He was excellent himself, leading the Bulls in tackles in 2005 and 2006 and finishing second in 2007. He was a stocky tackling machine who played out of his mind in the first half of the 2007 season, averaging about ten tackles per contest and grabbing three interceptions in the first five games. The most important of these interceptions was, of course, Moffitt picking off Pat White and returning it to the house, giving USF a 7-0 lead over fifth-ranked West Virginia in a sold-out Raymond James Stadium. This is probably the biggest play in USF history.
Moffitt’s career was stained by accusations from his ex-wife that she did most of his academic work for him in college, which also likely ruined any shot at an NFL career.
Moffitt was named Third Team All-America in 2007 by AP, and Honorable Mention by Sports Illustrated. He was named First Team All-Big East in the same season, and made the Conference USA all-freshman team in 2004.
The case for Williams: A dynamic, under-appreciated force in the secondary in USF’s early Big East years, Williams was equally comfortable in coverage and delivering big hits near the line of scrimmage. Despite battling injuries for the majority of his career, Williams was a four-year starter for the Bulls and a vital part of several of the best secondaries in school history. In his best season in 2007, he recorded 66 tackles and five TFLs.
Largely considered one of the toughest and possibly most insane players in USF history due to his insistence on playing through injuries, including surgery on one thumb, torn ligaments in the other, two hip pointers, and a concussion (the last of the bunch is not something to be applauded, but that’s on the USF staff, not Williams). And yet he rarely missed a game— he’s fourth in USF history in career starts— and was productive throughout his career.
(7) Sam Barrington vs. (10) Dontavia Bogan
Barrington stats: 2009-2012: 258 tackles, 21.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks
Bogan stats: 2007-2010: 107 receptions for 1534 yards, 12 touchdowns
The case for Barrington: One of the most physically gifted players to ever suit up at linebacker for USF, Barrington made an instant impact for the Bulls in 2009 before becoming a permanent staple in the defense for the rest of his career. Even as the defense around him got worse, Barrington got better, posting career highs in tackles (80) and sacks (3.5) as a senior in Chris Cosh’s 2012 defense.
NFL teams took notice of his athleticism and production, as Barrington was selected in the seventh round of the draft by the Packers. He’s seen playing time with a few teams, and had a great season in Green Bay in 2014 when he recorded a career-high 53 tackles.
Barrington was named Second Team All-Big East in 2012. He ranks tenth in USF history in career tackles.
The case for Bogan: A speedy, 6’1” receiver who played bigger than his frame and excelled at beating man coverage down the sideline. Bogan was a solid rotation receiver for three years in Jim Leavitt’s offense, but got a chance to be the number one guy who literally every USF wideout got hurt when Skip Holtz took over in 2010. Bogan didn’t disappoint, serving as pretty much USF’s only offensive weapon and making a number of highlight-reel catches with the likes of 2010 B.J. Daniels and Bobby Eveld throwing him the ball. He pretty much single-handedly won the Miami game with a pair of remarkable sideline catches on jump balls from Eveld in game-tying drive in the fourth quarter. His 47 catches for 685 yards stand as one of the best single seasons from a USF receiver.
Bogan was named Second Team All-Big East in 2010. He ranks fourth in USF history in career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and sixth in career receptions. He recorded the second-most receptions in a game with 11 against West Virginia in 2010, and 685 yards are the fifth-highest season total in program history.
(2) Marquel Blackwell vs. (15) Deadrin Senat
Blackwell stats: 1999-2002: 795-1417 (56.1%) for 9108 yards, 67 touchdowns; 1235 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns
Senat stats: 2014-present: 113 tackles, 29 TFL, one sack
The case for Blackwell: There are several respectable answers to the question “Who is the best quarterback in USF history?” Blackwell is one of them, and he’s got a compelling case. After taking over the starting job as a redshirt freshman in 1999, Blackwell led the charge as USF transformed from a decent I-AA team to a 9-2 I-A team in 2002 that was receiving votes in the AP Poll. He was that good— a smart, athletic quarterback who took care of the ball and had some wheels on him too. Very few USF players can claim to be as singularly instrumental in moving the program forward as Blackwell.
His numbers are fantastic as well. In his senior season, Blackwell put together one of the best stat lines a USF quarterback has produced, completing 57.1% of his passes for 2,590 yards and a sublime 18/3 touchdown/interception ratio, and adding 302 yards and five scores on the ground.
Blackwell was named the I-A Independent Player of the Year by College Football News in 2002. He earned First Team All-Independents honors in 2001 and 2002 from other outlets. He has thrown for more yards and touchdowns than anyone else in USF history. He also holds the record for most career wins as a USF quarterback, posting a 30-12 record under center. At one point, he had the second-longest streak of passing attempts without an interception in NCAA history.
The case for Senat: Every good defensive line needs a massive nose tackle to sit in the middle and clog things up. Meet Deadrin Senat! Senat arrived in Tampa as a highly-regarded recruit and lived up to his billing immediately, seeing playing as a true freshman in 2014 and posting 18 tackles. He’s only gotten better since then, anchoring the center of the Bulls’ defense and earning career highs in tackles (49) and tackles for loss (7.5) in 2016. For his efforts, he was named the USF Defensive MVP in 2016.
Senat was named Second Team All-AAC in 2016.