Saturday, April 30, 2011

Minnesota nabs Palmetto's Raymond in NFL Draft

Mistral Raymond, the Palmetto High product who came out of nowhere to make himself a big time college player at USF, was selected in the sixth round (170th overall) by the Minnesota Vikings in Saturday's 2011 NFL Draft.

He becomes the Bulls 10th NFL Draft pick over the last three years and 18th overall in the program’s 14-year history. Raymond is the first Bull to be selected by the Vikings.

“It has been a long journey and I’m so grateful to everyone that has helped me along the way,” said Raymond. “I’ve worked extremely hard with this goal in mind, and now that it is real, I’m just excited to represent my family and USF as I move on to the NFL. I had great visits with the Vikings and I knew there was a chance they’d take me. I’m glad they did and I’m going to work as hard as I can to help them win games in the future.”

With the selection, Raymond becomes the fifth Bulls’ defensive back to be selected in the last three NFL Drafts and the seventh defensive back overall.

Last season, Nate Allen was drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles and Jerome Murphy went in the third round to the St. Louis Rams. In 2008, Mike Jenkins was drafted with the 25th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys and Trae Williams went in the fifth round to the Eagles.

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Gilchrist opts to return to USF for senior year

USF leading scorer Augustus Gilchrist did not declare himself an early entry for the 2011 NBA Draft and will be returning for his senior year

The deadline to declare was Friday and the final list of early entries had 69 college underclassmen and 22 international players. Among the most notable opting to return to school was North Carolina freshman sensation Harrison Barnes and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger.

The 6-10 Gilchrist averaged 13.4 points per game last year and was the key factor in the Bulls frontcourt, which was the strongest part of their team. USF will now have seven of its top eight scorers returning losing only 6-11 center Jarrid Famous.

Players, who submit their names but do not hire an agent have until May 8th to withdraw and retain their college eligibility for next season.

Last year, 80 college players and 23 international players declared as early-entry candidates and 48 withdrew from the draft leaving 50 college players and five international players as the early-entry candidates.

Friday, April 29, 2011

USF's McClain selected in 3d round of NFL Draft

University of South Florida DT Terrell McClain was selected 65th overall by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
He becomes the Bulls ninth NFL Draft pick over the last three years and 17th overall in the program's 14-year history. In addition, McClain is the seventh Bull to be selected in the first three rounds.
"I'm really excited to go to Carolina," said McClain. "I've got family in Charlotte, Virginia and obviously here in Florida, so the location is perfect. I had a great time there when we played in the bowl game at the end of last season. This is a dream come true and I can't wait to get my career started."
With the selection, McClain becomes the third Bulls' defensive lineman to be selected in the last two NFL Drafts, which is the most of any FBS program in Florida, and the fourth defensive lineman overall.
Last season, Jason Pierre-Paul was taken in the first round with the 15th pick overall by the New York Giants and George Selvie was a seventh-round selection by the St. Louis Rams. In addition, Shurron Pierson was drafted in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders in 2003.

"Terrell is an athletic player, who uses a combination of quickness and strength," said USF head coach Skip Holtz. "He's got so many positive attributes. He's a great young man with solid character. I think he is the complete package."

McClain played in 50 games over his four-year career at USF, starting 33. He finished with 89 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 17 TFL, 10 pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In 2010, he anchored a USF defense that finished the season ranked 17th nationally in total defense (317.9 ypg), 22nd in scoring defense (20.0 ppg) and 22nd in rushing defense (125.6 ypg). He posted 24 tackles, three sacks, 4.5 TFL and five pressures en route to first-team All-BIG EAST honors.

"Terrell is a great player, but even better person and it makes him very easy to coach," defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick said. "He has the nickname 'Dancing Bear' for a reason. He's a 300-pound guy that has the feet of a linebacker or almost a defensive back. He's very explosive and has developed a great understanding of the game. He'll be a great asset for the Panthers."

O'Leary's comments on renewing USF-UCF series misleading

Looks as if George O’Leary is at it again. Apparently the UCF head football coach just can’t live without USF.

O’Leary reportedly told an audience at the Tampa Bay chapter of the UCF Alumni Association this week that the USF-UCF football rivalry would be renewed in either 2014 or 2015, indicating it would be a two game series with hopes that it would continue.

O’Leary has continued to call the series a no-brainer that brings lot of fans together for little travel costs. However, USF’s continues to share a somewhat indifferent attitude about the game.

USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard and Keith Tribble, UCF's Athletic Director, have had conversations about possibly playing, but there isn't currently a contract or a proposed contract, a USF official said.

USF and UCF played four times from 2005 through 2008 with the Bulls winning each game. Then USF head coach Jim Leavitt said he did not want to the series to continue opting to have more opportunities to play Florida, FSU and Miami and the series was renewed.

Current USF head coach Skip Holtz has said he would be open to resuming the series, but is not sure whether it was possible because of schedule commitments.

USF officials have said there have been discussions about possibly renewing the series, but no agreement has been reached.

Rod Harper and Nate Allen working out at IMG

Rod Harper and and Nate Allen, two Florida grown products now with the Philadelphia Eagles, have been working out at IMG in Bradenton.

Harper, the Southeast High product, who overcame enormous odds to earn a roster spot on 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans, spent last season on the Eagles practice squad after the Saints released him following an injury.

A receiver-return man, Harper has proven his resiliency and could be just an injury free season away from establishing himself in the NFL.

A second round pick in 2010, Allen earned the Eagles starting job at safety and was arguably on his way for challenging for Rookie of The Year honors until he suffered a knee injury and was placed on injured reserve last December.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cast your vote for best softball pitcher in the area

A lot of people have called 2011 the Year of The Pitcher for softball in the Manatee-Sarasota County area.

There is an extraordinary group of talented hurlers with all sorts of skills, including flame throwers and others who rely on finesse and what some might call trickery.

They sat it doesn't matter how you get them out as long as you do. Cast your vote on who you think is the best.

East-West Shrine Game moves to Tropicana Field

The legendary East-West Shrine Game® is moving to St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field on January 21, 2012. The game will be televised live by NFL Network.

“Making the move to the Tampa Bay area is very important to us,” said Harold Richardson, Executive Director, East-West Shrine Game, “This community supports Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa and is home to Shriners International Headquarters. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play our game here.”

Most recently held in Orlando, the annual East-West Shrine Game, originated in 1925, and is the longest-running college all-star football game in the country featuring some of the highest-rated NFL draft prospects.

Since the inception, 62 East-West Shrine Game alumni have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and 246 are currently active on NFL rosters. At the East-West Shrine Game, NFL scouts and coaches have an opportunity to assess the future stars of the National Football League.

It has emerged as a showcase for up and coming NFL talents, but more importantly, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children. As part of their experience, players and coaches visit Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa, where they get to spend time interacting with the kids and developing a philanthropic relationship with Shriners Hospitals for Children that will hopefully endure throughout their careers.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to age 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay.

Shaved head threat turns McNett into terror at the plate

Andrew McNett and his father Brent might be on to something!

Ever since Andrew's dad threatened to cut his hair off if he didn't get four hits in Lakewood Ranch's district tournament opening round game against Bayshore, the junior second baseman has been on fire.

The threat (however real or in jest) has turned McNett into the area's hottest hitter with seven straight hits in seven at-bats, including three doubles and three runs-batted-in.

He went 4 for 4 in the Mustangs 11-1 victory over Bayshore and followed it up with a 3 for 3 night that included two doubles in Lakewood Ranch's semifinal round 6-2 victory over Braden River.

The surge has sent McNett's batting average soaring to .459.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dick Vitale Gala Sold Out

The V Foundation for Cancer Research has announced The Sixth Annual Dick Vitale Gala, scheduled for May 20th at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota has been sold out.

Those who still wish to support the Gala are invited to make a donation to The V Foundation.

To be placed on a ticket waiting list, please contact The V Foundation at 1-800-4-JIMMYV or Sarasota area residents can contact Mary Kenealy at

As is Gala tradition, coaching greats and sports celebrities from across the country will join Vitale to honor Roy Williams and John Calipari.

Celebrity guests joining honorees Nick Bollettieri, John Calipari and Roy Williams include all four head coaches of the recent Final Four – Jim Calhoun, Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart (and Calipari).

Also scheduled to attend are: Celtic great Dave Cowens, Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown, Florida State Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher, baseball’s Gary Sheffield and three former Heisman trophy winners, Desmond Howard, Chris Weinke and Vinnie Testaverde.

An all-star group of collegiate basketball coaches scheduled to attend include: JamieDixon (Pitt),Billy Donovan (Florida), Steve Fisher (San Diego State), Seth Greenberg (Va. Tech), Ben Howland (UCLA), Bob Huggins (WVU) and Gary Williams (Maryland). Men’s doubles Wimbledon champ Don Johnson is also expected to appear. Gala Host John Saunders will be joined by fellow broadcast colleagues Erin Andrews, Jay Bilas, Rece Davis, Lesley Visser and Dereck Whittenburg.

Could Tampa Bay Bucs select Palmetto's Mistral Raymond?

Palmetto High graduates Joe Hills and Mistral Raymond will be spending time back home this week hopefully waiting to hear their names called in the NFL draft.

The draft kicks off Thursday night with the first round. Rounds two and three will be held Friday and the final rounds (4-7) will take place Saturday beginning at Noon.

If drafted Hills and Raymond figure to be selected Saturday. A receiver, Hills has gotten his most serious look from Tennessee. Raymond, who can play cornerback or safety, has worked out for Chicago, Minnesota and Tampa Bay.

It has been reported that Chicago has the most interest in the former USF All Big East selection, but with the Tampa Bay Bucs playing a lot of nickel and dime packages and in need of defensive backs, Raymond could be an attractive choice for them.

Former Lakewood Ranch assistant Dorsey goes to Riverview

Ken Dorsey, the former University Miami quarterback who put some time in the NFL won't be returning to help the Lakewood Ranch football program.

Dorsey, who helped Reggie Lindsey develop into a quality quarterback before injuries shelved him most of his senior year, has accepted a position to be the offensive coordinator at Sarasota Riverview.

A two time Heisman Trophy finalist, Dorsey played in the Canadian Football League last season with the Toronto Argonauts. He was a seventh round draft pick by San Francisco in 2003 and was with the Cleveland Browns from 200 to 2008.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kedric Johnson arrested, could face suspension from Gators

Former Palmetto High standout Kedric Johnson and his University of Florida teammate Chris Martin were arrested in January by Gainesville police for possession of marijuana, according to numerous media reports.

Johnson, a sophomore defensive end, and Martin, a linebacker/defensive end were cited for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana in separate incidents. He did not participate in spring drills reportedly because of an injury.

Johnson was arrested on Jan. 9 after an officer pulled him over for speeding and smelled marijuana. He produced two grams of it from his glove compartment, a police report said.

Martin was arrested on Jan. 29 after officers detected the scent of the drug coming from a vehicle. Martin was in the car and revealed approximately two grams of cannabis when the police confronted him, the report said.

Both players agreed to deferred prosecution and the cases did not go to trial. However, they could face disciplinary action from Florida head coach Will Muschamp.

Their arrests follow the arrest of Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been arrested twice this year for misdemeanor of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

Monday, April 25, 2011

AJ Love catches passes from Cam Newton

A.J. Love
has not played in a football game since 2009, but that doesn’t mean the USF receiver isn’t getting his name out to the right people.

Thanks to Jon Gruden’s ESPN “QB Camp” workouts that are being held on USF’s new practice fields and Love has had a chance to catch passes from some of the NFL’s top quarterback prospects.

Recently the Southeast High product caught passes from Auburn’s Cam Newton, who might be the first pick in Thursday night’s NFL draft. Love looked good and his former teammate at Southeast, , also going into his final season at USF, got into some of action.

The 6-2, 205 pound Love looks as if he has fully recovered from his ACL surgery that forced him to sit out last season. In fact, USF head coach Skip Holtz says it’s just a matter of the receiver getting his confidence back and he doesn’t expect that to be a problem.

Gruden put in a plug for Love and the others telling the media and that USF has a good looking bunch of receivers. The former Bucs head coach who spoke at Holtz’s coaching clinic last month, got to spend time with Southeast head coach Paul Maechtle.

Holtz has told Paul Maecthle that the coaching staff is counting on Love and expects big things from him in 2011. They love Love’s size, soft hands, athleticism and perhaps most of his leadership skills.

USF Sailing Along

TAMPA - The University of South Florida sailing team placed second in the 2011 South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing (SAISA) Women's Championship Regatta on Saturday, qualifying for the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Sperry Top Sider Women's National Semifinals.

College of Charleston won the April 23 race, qualifying for the ICSA Sperry Top Sider Women's Nationals, while the Eckerd Tritons placed third and will join USF in the semifinals.

Skipper Abby Featherstone and crew Hillary Noble represented the Bulls in six of the A Division races (Nos. 1-2, 4-7) and Noble and Darby Smith paired up for the No. 3 race.

In A Division, Featherstone and Noble won the fifth race, were the runners up in the second and fifth, and were third in the Nos. 1 and 4 races, totaling just 20 points.

Rachael Silverstein and Stephanie Reynolds sailed all seven races of the B Division, winning the first and second race and ending with just 17 points for the day.

Saturday the bay waters had classic late-spring conditions, as winds stayed in the 8-12 knot range, slowly veering to south-southeast by noon, but remained through races 6A and 6B. Races 7A and 7B were finished just as the breeze completely collapsed, however. After a brief postponement due to lack of wind, the racing was called, as the afternoon forecast was for a light westerly seabreeze, arriving very late.

# School: A - B = TOT

1 College of Charleston Cougars 10 - 18 = 28

2 University of South Florida Bulls 20 - 17 = 37

3 Eckerd College Tritons 17 - 21 = 38

4 Clemson University Tigers 26 - 25 = 51

5 University of Miami Hurricanes 32 - 24 = 56

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dallas not yet ready to give up on Mike Jenkins

There are a lot of different opinions on Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins; the former first round pick who earned All-American honors at USF and was a Blue-Chip prospect out of Southeast High.

Jenkins was a first round pick in 2008. But the question everyone seems to be asking is which Mike are going to see in 2011; if of course there is a 2011 NFL season.

Jenkins was a Pro-Bowler in 2009. Last season he could've been named captain of the NFL's All-Disappointment team.

To be frank, Jenkins was horrible. He allowed the second most yards by a defensive back in the NFL and tied for allowing the 14th most catches.

People are telling Dallas to draft a cornerback or two and draft guru Mel Kiper says it's time to give up on the speedy 6-1, 190 pound defensive back.

But Dallas coaches are so far sticking with him, believing that Jenkins can have a bounce back season in 2011.

"He’s a talented guy. I think he wants to be good, and we as coaches are going to try to get him back where he plays with the right frame of mind and plays with the discipline necessary to allow his talents to come out," Dallas head coach Jason Garrett said.