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by Matthew Manuri | SoFloBulls.com
The obvious precursor should’ve been on the first possession when Mike White’s 3rd and 7 pass intended for Andre Davis fell incomplete at the UCF 28 forcing a Marvin ‘Money’ Kloss 46-yard field goal. Not that I’m upset to see the haus #LikeAKloss do his magic, but the Bulls Offense seemed to regurgitate a stall pattern all night in Orlando. And quite frankly, this is nothing new for anyone that has reluctantly watched week after tumultuous week, fully cognizant of the pain that will be inflicted on there retinas. I won’t lie though, I was excited we put points on the board early.
Melodramatic? I don’t think so ladies and gents…..
Redshirt Senior Strong Safety Jaquez Jenkins (Lakewood Senior HS/St. Petersburg, FL) and Senior Safety Mark Joyce (DeLand HS/DeLand, FL) were both suspended for violating undisclosed team rules by Coach Taggart before the game last week and both have now been kicked off the team. Rumors have surfaced about what may have occurred, regardless it’s sad to watch Seniors go out in this manner. Losing ESPN’s #33 Safety in the Class of 2009 in Jenkins and the #49 Safety in 2010 in Joyce opened the door for several true Freshmen on Friday night.
USF true Freshmen seemed to dominate in the secondary, with Nate Godwin leading the way with six tackles (two solo), one tackle for loss and one Interception. Godwin, out of Freedom HS (Tampa, FL) was ranked as the 81st Safety in the Class of 2013 by ESPN’s RecruitingNation.com. Not to mention Johnny Ward (Colquitt County HS/Moultrie, GA) hauled in two interceptions while posting four tackles (three solo), forced a fumble and earned a tackle for loss. Ward was ranked as the #112 Cornerback in the Class of 2013, which is another great example of why I believe in Coach Taggart’s ability to spot talent. Hassan Childs, a true freshmen from (Kissimmee-Osceola HS/Kissimmee, FL) ranked as the #74 Cornerback in 2013 by ESPN, has three picks in 2013 in a limited role. Childs has seen just 15-20 snaps in 2013 according to Coach Willie Taggart during his weekly presser. Folks, we finished with three interceptions for the entire 2012 season.
Concerned about Coach Taggart’s eye for talent?
QB Mike White was offered by Coach Taggart and committed on the spot last fall before leading University School (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) to the Class 3A State Championship. White was Taggart’s first offer after taking over the Bulls program last fall, despite only seeing White’s abilities under center on film. As the 4th USF Bulls starting quarterback in 2013, the offense has shown marked improvement mainly attributable to White’s on field demeanor. The true Fr. has completed 54.9% of his passes going 79 for 144 in last five games with a QBR of 105.6. All three previous 2013 starters completed just 73 passes on 182 attempts (40.1%) for a combined 76.7 QBR. White has made some mistakes late in games, but in a hostile environment he showed up in a big way on the big stage. Coach Taggart added this during his weekly presser, “I told our guys the other day, and you know, I’ve been telling them all year: The spotlight does strange things to some people, it just does. We’ve seen it. Some of us show up and showout. And some of them, the light comes on, they run and hide like roaches.”
Just look at the class of 2013. You have Godwin, Ward, Robbins, White, Tice, Harris, etc. taking on serious playing time. With Willie’s recruiting and certain key current pieces like Andre Davis and Marcus Shaw we are 100% heading in the right direction. I know we’re 2-9, but I am and will always be a #BULLiever.
by Matthew Manuri
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