After one of the most difficult years of his life, former USF quarterback Matt Grothe finally had some good fortune fall into his lap when he signed a contract with the Florida Tuskers of the two year old United Football League.
Grothe was in his final season of a record setting Big East Conference career in 2009 when he tore the ACL in his knee in the third game of the season that ended his college playing days.
During his career at USF, Grothe completed 717 of 1,046 passes (68.4%) with 49 touchdown passes. Before his injury, the Lakeland native started off the ’09 season as if it was going to be his best, completing 72 percent of his passes while throwing for 512 yards and five touchdowns.
There was a lot of controversy following his injury in a game that was already decided and ended in a lopsided 59-0 win against FCS (formerly I-AA) Charleston Southern. Critics claimed he shouldn’t have been in the game and definitely should not have been running the ball with the Bulls ahead 28-0 late in the second quarter when the injury occurred.
Grothe never complained. It was not his way and he loved being a quarterback who was equally adept at running and throwing the ball. It apparently is one reason Tuskers head coach Jay Gruden is so high on him.
“Matt Grothe is a tough kid, a great leader and a winner,” Gruden said. “He led the Bulls to many huge wins over nationally ranked teams and certainly deserves a ton of credit for helping build that program into a nationally ranked power. I certainly look forward to working with him in 2010.”
As a junior, Grothe reached career highs in completions (240), yards (2,911) and touchdowns (18) and also led the Bulls in rushing with 591 yards and four touchdowns. He led the Big East in total offense with 269.4 yards per game and was named MVP of the St. Petersburg Bowl.
Grothe passed for 2,700 yards and ran for 1,250 yards – accounting for 48 touchdowns -- as a senior at Lake Gibson High School.
The Tuskers open their season Friday, September 17th at Las Vegas and the following week are at Sacramento. Their first home (in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl) is Thursday Sept 30th.
Grothe will be competing with former NFL QB Brooks Bollinger, who played with the Jets and was the UFL Player of The Year last season, throwing for a league high 1,825 yards with 16 TDs. He led the team to six straight wins without a defeat before losing in the championship game.