Today we meet an un-recruited player who had to convince USF to give him a chance to walk on. And the Bulls are glad that they did.
#80 WR Stephen Bravo-Brown
Junior, 5'10", 178 lbs.
Stats in 2011: 4 receptions for 34 yards, all in the first half of the season. He earned a start against UConn, but injured his ankle in that game and missed most of November. By the time he came back, a full-on youth movement was in effect, with youngsters Deonte Welch, Andre Davis, and Ruben Gonzalez getting reps at wide receiver.
Current Spot on Depth Chart: Second-string at one of the WR positions, behind Ruben Gonzalez.
How did he come to USF: With a layover in Scranton. Bravo-Brown wasn't recruited out of Fort Lauderdale's St. Thomas Aquinas in 2008, even though that team rolled to a state championship and had fifteen eventual major-college recruits. Overlooked, Bravo-Brown spent 2009 at Wyoming Seminary College Prep school in Pennsylvania, hoping to catch on at Lafayette, a Division I FCS school. When that fell through, he convinced USF assistant Vernon Hargreaves to let him walk on at USF, because "growing up, I always liked them." (And to think, barely ten years ago, Seth Greenberg said "no one dreams of being a South Florida Bull." Snif.) After Bravo-Brown helped shore up USF's depleted receiving corps in 2010, Skip Holtz rewarded him with a scholarship, despite having few to spare at the time.
Recruiting Rankings: Not in the Rivals, Scout, or ESPN database, even after his prep season in Pennsylvania. Just goes to show that even in the age of the Internet and obsessive high school football recruiting, quality players are still overlooked.
Projected Playing Time For 2012: It's been a fast career for Stephen Bravo-Brown. In barely a year, he went from "forced into action as a walk-on true freshman" to "yielding time to more touted underclassmen." And he's still only a junior. Bravo-Brown will be part of the rotation at wide receiver in 2012, but with so many talented receivers recruited after him, his days of being a starter may be over. Then again, it would fit USF's history for this year's breakout receiver to be the former walk-on rather than any of the touted recruits.