Ever since Skip Holtz became coach, he's talked about putting up a fence around the Tampa Bay area to keep the best local talent home and playing for USF. So we thought, for our next all-time team, let's prove the wisdom of Holtz's plan and put together a roster of the best players in USF history who went to high school in either Hillsborough or Pinellas County.
To paraphrase a bumper sticker around my adopted home state of Texas, these players didn't all start at USF, but they got there as fast as they could. And it turned out to be quite a team, at least on offense. Let's take a look.
QB: Marquel Blackwell (1999-2002)
Our choice as the best player in USF football history so far went to Dixie Hollins High School in St. Petersburg, as did his college coach, Jim Leavitt.
RB: Andre Hall (2004-05), Jermaine Clemons (1997-99)
Andre Hall also played at Dixie Hollins High School and came to USF by way of Garden City Junior College. We already covered his long list of qualifications in his 15 For 15 story and last week's All-Transfer Team.
Hall's really the only running back you need, but the small, speedy Clemons works well as a change of pace. He played at Clearwater High School and transferred to USF from Bethune-Cookman in the inaugural season. Clemons still holds the team record for rushing average in a game when he carried the ball seven times for 132 yards against Kentucky Wesleyan in the Bulls' first-ever game in 1997, including an 80-yard touchdown.
WR: DeAndrew Rubin (1999-2002), Carlton Mitchell (2007-09), Lindsey Lamar (2009-present)
Two of the three best wide receivers in school history (sorry, Hugh Smith, I forgot about you) make this team. Rubin is yet another product of Dixie Hollins High School, and he holds school records for career receiving touchdowns (14), return touchdowns (5), and all-purpose yards (3898). He can play receiver and also return punts.
Mitchell starred at Tampa's Gaither High School during the Cowboys' resurgence in the mid-2000s. He's first all-time in season receiving yards and career receiving yards, despite leaving for the NFL after his junior season.
Ken had picked S.J. Green for the third receiver spot, but I think I'm going to change this to Lamar, who went to Hillsborough High School. This is kind of a potential pick, but he would be a terror in the slot next to Rubin or Mitchell, who could help block for him on hitches and screens. Plus he can return kickoffs. If we go four-wide, we'll put Green (from Brandon High School) in that spot. OK? OK.
TE: Mark Feldman (2001-04)
When we line up with a tight end, we'll put Feldman, from Clearwater Central Catholic High School, in the game. He was mostly a blocker at 6'4", 245 pounds, but he did catch a handful of passes during his USF career.
So, not a perfect offensive line -- four guards and a center. We'll have to move two of them to tackle, and I'm not sure which ones those would be because they all started multiple seasons at guard. I'll leave that to the former offensive lineman to decide.
Carothers went to Clearwater High School. Hermann is from Oldsmar and East Lake High School. Griffin played at Armwood High School in Seffner. Hine went to Newsome High School in Lithia, and Huners came to USF from Palm Harbor University High School.
The defense and special teams after the jump.
Not an ideal setup with three defensive ends, and Giddins is a big potential pick. If you prefer, we can replace Giddins with Tchecoy Blount (1998-2001), who was primarily a defensive end but also played some tackle towards the end of his USF career. But between these players, our team should have no trouble rushing the passer.
Giddins and Buie are both from Armwood High School. Selmon went to Sickles High School in Odessa*, and Royal went to Wharton High School in Tampa. If we need to use Blount instead, he's still another player from Dixie Hollins High School.
LB: Tyrone McKenzie (2007-08), Jacquian Williams (2009-10), Ronnie McCullough (2004-05)
McKenzie (Iowa State) and Williams (Fort Scott CC) both transferred to USF, but they also played together at Riverview High School two years apart. We struggled to fill the third linebacker spot. There weren't a lot of good options, but McCullough came to USF from Hillsborough High School and was on his way to a nice career at middle linebacker before leaving for Bethune-Cookman, where he flourished with the extra playing time.
DB: Glenn Davis (1997-2000), Roy Manns (1997-2000), J.R. Reed (2000-03), Trae Williams (2004-07)
Davis and Williams are the cornerbacks, while Manns and Reed are the safeties. Davis transferred from Purdue to join the Bulls in their startup season after playing at (where else?) Dixie Hollins High School. Manns was one of the original members of USF football and signed on from East Lake High School in Clearwater. Reed, who ranked second on our 15 For 15 list, is another product of Hillsborough High School. Williams played at Durant High School in Lithia.
K: Kyle Bronson (2005)
When seven of your 14 seasons are taken up by kickers from LaBelle (the Gramaticas), there aren't too many choices left. Our only choices were Bronson, Delbert Alvarado, or the original kicker, Steve Riggs. We went with Bronson (from Wharton High School) because he was more accurate than Alvarado, and had a stronger leg than Riggs.
P: Tony Umholtz (1997-99)
Tony transferred to USF after playing at East Lake High School, and his moon-shot punts will come in handy.
SWISS ARMY KNIFE: Armando Sanchez (2009-present)
Need a special-teams ace, or a backup linebacker, or someone to block for Andre Hall? Here's your guy. Sanchez went to Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, and he can fill in quite a few holes.
* - I actually know where that house is. One of my dad's friends had a house on the same lake as them (or so he says). Most of the houses were kind of shabby, but hey, they were on a lake. The Selmons' house was... definitely not shabby.