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The Ultimate USF Football Player Tournament: Round 2, Selmon & Rocky Regionals

The competition heats up as we close out the second round.

Yesterday’s results:

(1) Quinton Flowers d. (8) Marvin Kloss, 98-2%
(5) Andre Davis d. (4) Tyrone McKenzie, 68-32%
(3) J.R. Reed d. (6) Kayvon Webster, 53-47%
(2) Kawika Mitchell d. (7) Trae Williams, 73-27%
(1) Marlon Mack d. (8) Jerome Murphy, 96-4%
(4) Anthony Henry d. (5) Kenyatta Jones, 57-43%
(3) Andre Hall d. (11) Deatrick Nichols, 87-13%
(2) Jason Pierre-Paul d. (7) Carlton Mitchell, 78-22%

I was surprised that Andre Davis beat Tyrone McKenzie, let alone by such a large margin. Everything else went about as expected, although Kayvon Webster really gave J.R. Reed a run for his money. Flowers and Mack keep rolling, and Deatrick Nichols’ Cinderella story comes to an end.

We still have one more day of Round of 32 voting, and then we’re on to the Sweet Sixteen. Matchups below, ballot further below.

(1) George Selvie vs. (8) Jacquian Williams

Selvie stats: 2006-2009: 206 tackles, 69 TFL, 28.5 sacks
Williams stats: 2009-2010: 99 tackles, 12 TFL, 2.5 sacks

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 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.

(4) Rodney Adams vs. (5) DeAndrew Rubin

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
Rubin stats: 1999-2002: 91 receptions, 1306 yards, 14 touchdowns; 2584 return yards, one touchdown

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 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.

(6) Terrell McClain vs. (3) Ben Moffitt

McClain stats: 2007-2010: 88 tackles, 17 TFL, 7.5 sacks
Moffitt stats: 2004-2007: 335 tackles, 41 TFL, six sacks

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 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.

(7) Sam Barrington vs. (2) Marquel Blackwell

Barrington stats: 2009-2012: 258 tackles, 21.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks
Blackwell stats: 1999-2002: 795-1417 (56.1%) for 9108 yards, 67 touchdowns; 1235 yards rushing, 20 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 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.

(1) Matt Grothe vs. (9) Mistral Raymond

Grothe stats: 2006-2009: 717-1148 passing (62.5%) for 8669 yards, 52 touchdowns; 543 carries for 2206 yards, (4.0 YPC), 23 touchdowns
Raymond stats: 2008-2010: 96 tackles, 6.5 TFL, two interceptions

The case for Grothe: The man who put USF football on the map. Grothe was the face of the Cinderella 2007 Bulls, taking the country by storm with his wild scrambles and wild haircut. When he was good, he was unstoppable and un-tackle-able— his best plays involved him running circles around defenders before launching a 50 yard touchdown pass. Grothe built a brand for himself and USF that season, and is probably one of the only Bulls that a casual college football fan would recognize.

He won a lot, too. Grothe was under center for a big chunk of USF’s biggest wins (West Virginia in 2006, West Virginia and Auburn in 2007, Kansas in 2008), and he delivered in all of them. He took the starting job by the horns as a redshirt freshman and never let go, leading the Bulls to national rankings and bowl games of which they never could have dreamed just a few years earlier. He’s got a strong case for being the best quarterback in school history, and is undoubtedly a USF legend.

Grothe was named the Big East Freshman of the Year in 2006, as well as Honorable Mention Freshman All-America by Sporting News. He leads both the Big East and USF in career all-purpose yards. He’s second in USF history in career passing yards and touchdowns, and fifth in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

The case for Raymond: The most wonderful underdog story you’ll come across. Mistral lost his mother and half-sister growing up, spent a year at junior college and then walked on at USF, where he earned a spot by shouting at the coaches about his tape through a fence. The Bulls’ secondary coach at the time, Troy Douglas, joked that if Raymond was ever in the game, he’d be at the local Sweetbay because the game would be well in hand.

Douglas must have spent a lot of time at Sweetbay, because Raymond broke into the secondary rotation in 2009 and became USF’s defensive captain in 2010. He was their most valuable defensive back that season, playing both cornerback and safety and racking up 56 tackles and 4.5 TFL. Raymond was drafted in the sixth round by the Vikings, with whom he played three seasons, making 10 starts and racking up 53 tackles.

Raymond was named Second Team All-Big East in 2010.

(4) Nate Allen vs. (5) B.J. Daniels

Allen stats: 2006-2009: 226 tackles, five TFL, nine interceptions
Daniels stats: 2008-2012: 649 for 1132 passing (57.3%) for 8433 yards and 52 touchdowns; 526 carries for 2068 yards (3.9 YPC), 25 touchdowns

The case for Allen: One of USF’s best safeties of all-time, Allen anchored some impressive USF secondaries from 2007 to 2009, excelling both as a center fielder and a big hitter at the line of scrimmage. He was fast, athletic, and had a nose for the ball— whenever USF needed a big defensive play, Allen was usually the guy to make it. He grabbed a crucial interception in both the Auburn and West Virginia games in 2007, and his late-game interception of Todd Reesing against Kansas the next season led to the game-winning field goal.

To top it all off, Allen has put together one of the most productive NFL careers of any Bull. He was drafted by the Eagles in the second round, and has since started 76 games, made 285 tackles, and racked up 13 interceptions.

Allen was named Second Team All-Big East in 2009. He ranks fourth in USF history in career interceptions.

The case for Daniels: Brought to Tampa to be Matt Grothe’s successor, Daniels exceeded expectations from day one, when he stunned Florida State in his first ever start in Grothe’s stead. Though he was hamstrung by the diminishing talent around him (thanks, Skip Holtz!), Daniels was often brilliant, a tremendous runner with a cannon for an arm. He could score a touchdown from anywhere on the field on any given play. Once Holtz opened up his offense a bit in 2011, Daniels had one of the best seasons of any QB in school history, accounting for over 3,200 total yards and 19 touchdowns.

Daniels’ jaw-dropping athleticism was enough to get him drafted in the seventh round by the 49ers. He’s since bounced around a number of NFL teams and has seen playing time at quarterback, receiver, and punt returner.

Daniels is tied for second in USF history in career passing touchdowns and is third in career passing yards. He’s sixth in school history in career rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns. His 10,501 career yards of total offense rank second in school history and third in Big East history.

(11) Austin Reiter vs. (3) Stephen Nicholas

Reiter stats: 2011-2014: 36 starts
Nicholas stats: 2002-2006: 326 tackles, 53.5 TFL, 20 sacks

The case for Reiter: After spending a season as a backup in 2011, Reiter started every single game from the 2012 opener onward, becoming one of the most prolific and impressive centers in school history. He was USF’s best offensive lineman for two years straight, earning the team’s Offensive Line award in both 2013 and 2014.

He was drafted in the seventh round by the Redskins, but landed with the Browns in 2016, where he started a game before suffering a season-ended injury. This has already given him one of the best pro careers of any Bulls offensive lineman.

The case for Nicholas: A strong contender for the best linebacker in USF history, Nicholas was a remarkable, NFL-level talent from the second he stepped on campus. He could line up at any of the three linebacker spots and excelled at each one, but he was most dangerous making plays behind the line of scrimmage. After three tremendous years in Tampa, he chose to snub the NFL for another year and posted his best season yet in 2006, making 89 tackles, including 15.5 TFL and seven sacks. Snake rewrote the USF record book in college, and fittingly went on to have a similarly impressive NFL career. After being drafted by the Falcons in the fourth round, he went on to make 50 starts and 284 tackles in his seven-year career.

Nicholas was named First Team All-Big East in 2006 and Second Team All-Big East in 2005. He recorded the fourth most career tackles in USF history, and ranks second in career TFLs and sacks.

(10) D’Ernest Johnson vs. (2) Mike Jenkins

Johnson stats: 2014-present: 228 carries for 1000 yards (4.4 YPC), nine touchdowns; 61 receptions for 746 yards, ten touchdowns; 1189 return yards, 1 touchdown; two passing touchdowns
Jenkins stats: 2004-2007: 130 tackles, six TFL, six interceptions

The case for Johnson: Johnson is one of the most versatile players to ever wear a USF jersey. A big-time recruit who inked with USF in the same class as Marlon Mack, he managed to make a name for himself despite playing behind USF’s all-time leading rusher for three seasons. Johnson ran for nine touchdowns in relief of Mack in 2016, and proved himself to be one of USF’s best ever receiving threats out of the backfield, totaling 649 receiving yards in 2015 and 2016. His success returning punts in 2016 earned him postseason accolades, and he’s even got a pair of passing touchdowns to boot. The Junkyard Dog has earned himself a deserved reputation as USF’s swiss army knife, and will finally get the lion’s share of the carries in 2017.

Johnson was named First Team All-AAC in 2016. He ranks second in USF history in career punt return average.

The case for Jenkins: An NFL talent playing in an era where USF didn’t breed NFL talents very often, Jenkins redefined the caliber of player that USF was capable of producing. After an injury-plagued freshman season, he emerged as the Bulls’ first ever shutdown cornerback in 2005, and he only improved each year. Despite quarterbacks basically avoiding him at all costs by 2007, he still managed 41 tackles, four TFL, and three interceptions. He was a dynamic athlete who was an island in man coverage, had top-end speed, and laid the wood on unsuspecting receivers on more than one occasion. In his senior season, USF was basically just plotting ways to give their best athlete the ball— he returned seven kicks in 2007, and took one of them to the house.

Jenkins was drafted in the first round by the Cowboys— USF’s second-highest draft pick ever, and has enjoyed a long, productive NFL career in which he’s become only the second USF alum to be named to the Pro Bowl.

Jenkins was a Thorpe Award semifinalist in 2007, and was named First Team All-America by AFCA. He was named First Team All-Big East in 2007, and Second Team All-Big East in 2005.