Happy 20th birthday, USF football! On this date in 1997, the Bulls played their first-ever football game against Kentucky Wesleyan at the old Tampa Stadium. To celebrate the occasion, we’re pleased to unveil our staff’s picks for the ultimate USF football team.
There were some split decisions in the voting, so we’ll tell you everyone who got votes, even if they didn’t make our team. We chose a standard offense and defense, with an extra wide receiver and cornerback allowed, plus special teamers and a head coach.
Let’s get started.
QUARTERBACK: Quinton Flowers
One of the best players in USF history, and surely the most dynamic, got the nod under center... or more likely in the shotgun. One of only two current players on the team.
Also receiving votes: Marquel Blackwell, Matt Grothe
RUNNING BACKS: Marlon Mack, Andre Hall
These two were unanimous selections. I noticed afterwards that we didn’t vote on fullbacks, maybe because they’re going extinct in modern college football. If we had picked one, I would have voted for Otis Dixon, and not just because his nickname was Dump Truck.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Rodney Adams, Andre Davis, DeAndrew Rubin
Almost unanimous here, and what a fantastic group this would be. Rubin as the big target on the outside, Davis probably soaking up the double teams (while still being good enough to get his), and Adams wrecking shop from the slot.
The only alternate votes were to get Rubin in as the return specialist instead, and from someone who is not old enough to have seen D-Rube play. We gotta teach the kids better than that. Bad job by us.
Also receiving votes: Amarri Jackson
TIGHT END: Sean Price
Tight end has always been slim pickings for USF. Before Willie Taggart arrived they were usually an afterthought in the passing game. You also didn’t see much of their blocking ability. Price gets the nod in this poll. Check back with us in a few years — the answer might be different.
Also receiving votes: Elkanah Dillon
OFFENSIVE LINE: Kenyatta Jones, Darrell Williams, Sampson Genus, Austin Reiter, Thor Jozwiak
This position was the hardest to sort out. Admittedly we don’t know much about evaluating line play, and some of these guys moved all over the offensive line during their careers, so we couldn’t slot them by position. Kenyatta was the only unanimous pick, but there was a pretty good consensus overall.
Also receiving votes: Kofi Amichia, Marc Dile, Frank Davis, Levi Newton, Jeremiah Warren
DEFENSIVE ENDS: Jason Pierre-Paul, George Selvie
We didn’t even really need to vote on these. Everyone picked them both.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES: Cory Grissom, Terrell McClain
McClain, heading into his 7th NFL season, was a no-brainer. Grissom was a bit of a surprise, but you can’t deny that Pork Chop was a very good player.
Also receiving votes: Deadrin Senat, Greg Walls
LINEBACKERS: Kawika Mitchell, Tyrone McKenzie, Stephen Nicholas
The defense pretty much picked itself from here on out. All three of them played in the NFL, and there was only one dissenting vote.
Also receiving votes: Ben Moffitt
CORNERBACKS: Anthony Henry, Mike Jenkins, Trae Williams
Even though Henry started as a free safety and only played one year of cornerback for USF, he went on to play nine years there in the NFL, longer than any other Bull to date. Jenkins has played in the pros for eight years and was USF’s first-ever Pro Bowler. Trae Williams was Jenkins’ sometimes unheralded partner in the Bulls’ 2006-07 defenses.
Also receiving votes: Kayvon Webster
SAFETIES: Nate Allen, J.R. Reed
Both unanimous choices. Reed lines up as strong safety, and Allen at free. This secondary is sick. Good luck, quarterbacks.
KICKER: Marvin Kloss
Our kicker spot goes to “Money” Kloss, the 2013 Groza Award finalist who I still maintain didn’t get the award because Roberto Aguayo got to kick a zillion extra points that year and Kloss didn’t. Irony, since Aguayo’s failure to kick NFL extra points cost him his job this summer.
Also receiving votes: Bill Gramatica
PUNTER: Mattias Ciabatti
Ciabatti holds USF’s single-season and career punting average records, and neither is particularly close. There was only one vote for someone else, but it was for USF’s first-ever All-American, so a very worthy alternative.
Also receiving votes: Tony Umholtz
RETURN SPECIALIST: Lindsey Lamar, D’Ernest Johnson (tie)
This was the only tie. We can solve it by letting Lamar handle kickoffs while D’Ernest takes punts. And if for some reason these two can’t handle the job, we have plenty of guys on the roster who were renowned for running back kicks at USF. Rubin, Reed, Jenkins, and Adams all scored touchdowns on kickoff or punt returns in their careers.
Also receiving votes: DeAndrew Rubin
HEAD COACH: Jim Leavitt
This was only ever going to be one of two guys. Charlie Strong’s been here two games, and ain’t no one voting for Skip Holtz. Leavitt won a close vote over Willie Taggart. Maybe the two of them can work together like they currently are at Oregon.
Also receiving votes: Willie Taggart
So those are our votes... what are yours? Discuss in the comments.