Stampeding Through The Roster: #24 DB Ernie Tabuteau

Mar 18, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; The South Florida Bulls mascot performs in a game against the Ohio Bobcats during the second half in the third round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Bridgestone Arena.The Bobcats beat the Bulls 62-56. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

One of last year's most interesting stories will be looking for a few more chances to get on the field in his final year of eligibility.

#24 DB Ernie Tabuteau
Senior, 5'10", 194 lbs.

Stats In 2011: Tabuteau played in four games last season, recording three tackles and two pass breakups. However, he missed the rest of the season with a back injury. USF was 4-0 with Ernie in the lineup and 1-7 without him. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

Current Position On Depth Chart: Ernie is listed as the backup strong safety on the current two-deep depth chart.

How He Came To USF: Tabuteau played defensive back and special teams at North Miami High School and went to Miles College, but wasn't recruited as an athlete. In fact, he ended up on the football team by accident. Greg Auman told the whole story back in April 2011:

Former strength coach Ronnie McKeefery discovered him, as Tabuteau was dating a USF track athlete and hung out around the weight room. McKeefery worked him out, checked his 40 time, vertical leap, etc. "I talked to the kid, got his highlight tape off YouTube, watched it," (defensive backs coach Rick) Smith said. "I tried to get him in the program that day. Coach (Holtz) wouldn't let me do that. He went through all the process. He's really going to be good."

Recruiting Rankings: Ernie was not rated by Rivals or Scout.

Projected Playing Time In 2012: Tabuteau was promised a scholarship by Skip Holtz during the offseason, so it stands to reason we'll continue to see him on special teams and occasionally in the defensive backfield. In addition to being a safety, maybe he'll get a rep or two as a cornerback.

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