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The Ultimate USF Football Player Tournament: Sweet Sixteen

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It’s getting real. We’ve whittled down the field to the sixteen best USF players of all time.

Thursday’s results:

(1) George Selvie d. (8) Jacquian Williams, 98-2%
(4) Rodney Adams d. (5) DeAndrew Rubin, 85-15%
(3) Ben Moffitt d. (6) Terrell McClain, 67-33%
(2) Marquel Blackwell d. (7) Sam Barrington, 75-25%
(1) Matt Grothe d. (9) Mistral Raymond, 98-2%
(5) B.J. Daniels d. (4) Nate Allen, 71-29%
(3) Stephen Nicholas d. (11) Austin Reiter, 84-16%
(2) Mike Jenkins d. (10) D’Ernest Johnson, 76-24%

It was largely business as usual in the Selmon and Rocky Regionals, as all of the top seeds won with the exception of Nate Allen, who fell victim to a quasi-upset against B.J. Daniels. Daniels and Andre Davis are the only non-top four seeds to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, taking the places of Allen and Tyrone McKenzie, respectively. Wow, sounds like someone did a great job with the seeding! Great job, whoever seeded these players.

Anyway, with this tournament now officially entering the Sweet Sixteen, we’ve decided to replace the usual blurbs with a quick paragraph or two from me and Jamie on each matchup. Below are the best 16 USF players of all time; you have 24 hours to help us choose the best eight. Ballot is at the bottom, as always.

(1) Quinton Flowers vs. (5) Andre Davis

Jamie: Can you believe Flowers and Davis only played together one time? Davis caught three passes for 36 yards. Imagine if Davis was a year or two younger. You could have had Andre Davis, Rodney Adams, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the field at the same time. Plus Flowers and Marlon Mack. I don’t think USF would have ever punted.

Ryan: It is dreadfully unfair that Davis never got to play in the Gulf Coast Offense. I’m not saying that this is Skip Holtz’s fault for not redshirting Dre in 2011, but I am insinuating it.

Anyway, Q easily for me here. I love Davis, but I wouldn’t have voted him past T-Mac.

(3) J.R. Reed vs. (2) Kawika Mitchell

Jamie: Two of the 10 best players in school history in the round of 16? Damn you kids and your recency bias! Both NFL players, both fantastic careers, both had one very memorable game. Kawika was awesome against Oklahoma, but he didn’t win the game by himself like J.R. did at Memphis.

Ryan: I’m too young for this matchup. Sure, that sounds good!

(1) Marlon Mack vs. (4) Anthony Henry

Jamie: I finally found an argument for Anthony Henry over Marlon Mack. Henry had one career run for 17 yards, giving him a better career yards per carry (17.0) than Mack (6.25).

Ryan: You can’t argue with the facts.

(3) Andre Hall vs. (2) Jason Pierre-Paul

Jamie: Your voting criteria make all the difference here. If you go only by what they did in a USF uniform, it’s Andre Hall by a mile. If it’s their overall career, it’s Pierre-Paul by a mile.

Ryan: I really, really like this matchup. Voters haven’t been thrilled with JPP thus far in this tournament, which has been strange to me — even though he only played one season, this wasn’t an Aaron Lynch-type situation, where by all accounts he mailed it in until he could get a paycheck (which worked! Good for Aaron, seriously!). JPP was great in 2009, and he’s the best USF alum in the NFL, ever. He gets my vote, but I 10000% understand a vote for Hall here.

(1) George Selvie vs. (4) Rodney Adams

Jamie: The ultimate one-trick-pony-off. And it was the same trick! I think I’ve got Adams in an upset. He was one of the fastest and most versatile players in school history. Selvie was never the same after Ray Rice trucked him.

Ryan: I don’t know what play you’re talking about; I had it surgically removed from my brain.

Very interesting point about how both players’ best attribute was Run Around Everyone Else, but Adams never had a season even close to Selvie’s 2007. The only consensus All-American from USF gets the nod for me.

(3) Ben Moffitt vs. (2) Marquel Blackwell

Jamie: How did Moffitt get a 3 seed? I urge you all to vote for Blackwell. Easiest game on the board.

Ryan: Moffitt made the most famous play in school history! And was really, really good for four seasons, like borderline All-America good in 2007! I agree with you here, but for slightly different reasons. This is pretty much a tossup for me, and Moffitt’s off-the-field incidents don’t really motivate me to pick him in a tossup.

(1) Matt Grothe vs. (5) B.J. Daniels

Jamie: Ah, the Sophie’s Choice of this tournament. I have to be honest, I think I’m taking Daniels here. He was a better athlete, he had a better arm, he got massively let down by everyone around him, and he didn’t set the school record for interceptions.

Ryan: This entire tournament was worth it because it gave us this matchup.

After B.J.’s last season in 2012, he was still rather disliked by the USF fanbase as a whole, and I defended him to the death. Rightfully, public opinion has done a total 180 since then, thanks in large part to the dreadful Daniels-less 2013 and 2014 seasons. That said— and this is coming from the ultimate Daniels stan— I don’t know if public opinion should flip so much as to regard him as a better USF player than Grothe. B.J. is an incredible athlete and a good quarterback; his NFL career is proof enough of that. He’s almost certainly a better QB on paper than Grothe. But he didn’t accomplish half as much at USF, and while that’s not even remotely his fault, we live in a cruel, unjust world. The game is rigged, man.

TL;DR I still have no idea who I’m gonna pick here, but it’s a razor-thin margin either way.

Jamie: I just thought of something. It took two miraculous finishes by the Patriots to prevent B.J. Daniels from owning three Super Bowl rings in four NFL seasons. Can you imagine THREE TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION B.J. DANIELS? He’d be getting NFL Films features done about him, and superstitious teams would find space for him on their practice squads until he turned 45.

(3) Stephen Nicholas vs. (2) Mike Jenkins

Jamie: Man, both these guys were so good. You knew years ahead of time they would both end up in the NFL, and they both had (or in Jenkins’ case, may still have) solid pro careers. I have no idea how to vote on this one. I’m no help at all.

Ryan: I’m with you; this is a Final Four matchup. I’m flipping a coin.