2016-2017: #StrongLikeBull Strong's South Florida Stable

Copious Florida Connections Between Illinois, No. 21/22 South Florida

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The USF football game vs. Illinois remains set for 7:00 p.m. kickoff Friday at Raymond James Stadium. Here are some pregame facts about the two teams.

Copious Florida Connections Between Illinois, No. 21 South Florida Article Image | SoFloBulls.com ∴ Photo by Dennis Akers // Twitter: @DAphotospot

The sheer number of sideline connections present when Illinois travels to Raymond James Stadium to square off against the No. 21/22 South Florida Bulls Friday night borderline requires a mapping system. From Illini and Bulls having played high school football together, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates turned coaches, to the Abraham father-son duo on opposing sides. Breeze through the below bullets outlining the shared Illini, Bulls connections before the 7PM Friday Night showdown on ESPN:

South Florida, Illinois Connections:

» Illinois defensive backs/safeties coach Donnie Abraham’s son, Devin Abraham, is a senior defensive back for South Florida and has an interception in each of USF’s first two games.

» Illinois defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson was a linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999 when USF running backs coach Shaun King started five games as a rookie quarterback for the Bucs.

» Illinois head coach Lovie Smith spent five years as linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2000) while USF wide receivers coach Charlie Williams was Tampa Bay’s wide receivers coach.

» USF head strength and conditioning coach Pat Moorer served as director of strength and conditioning at Illinois from 1997-98.

» Illinois LB Tré Watson and USF DB Bentlee Sanders attended Tampa Catholic High School.

» Illinois LB Jake Hanson and USF DB Devin Abraham attended East Lake High School (Tarpon Springs, Fla.).

» Illinois will face one of Steve Spurrier’s sons for the second straight week. Steve Spurrier Jr. is the quarterbacks coach at Ball State, while Scott Spurrier is an offensive quality control coach at South Florida.

» Florida is home to 14 current Illini: James Crawford, Carmoni Green, Dominic Thieman, Trenard Davis, James McCourt, Louis Dorsey, Harvey Clayton Jr., Dawson DeGroot, Mike Epstein, Tré Watson, Jake Hanson, Bobby Roundtree, Owen Carney Jr., Deon Pate.

» Six players in the game attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School: Four for Illinois (DE James Crawford, WR Dominic Thieman, RB Mike Epstein, K James McCourt) and two for USF (K Marco Salani, DT Brandon Boyce)

» Illinois WR Carmoni Green was high school teammates with USF WR Darnell Salomon and CB Deatrick Nichols at Miami Central High School.

2017 Illinois Football Roster - Florida Players (2234x1125)

by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle

SoFloBulls Blog by Matthew Manuri

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