Today's player is a freshman at a position where there are a lot of upperclassmen... but what does that really mean?
#74 OL Cameron Ruff
Redshirt Freshman, 6'3", 309 lbs.
Stats in 2013: Redshirted.
Spot on 2013 Depth Chart: Not listed. While he didn't play last season, one report mentioned that he moved from tackle to guard. For what it's worth, the roster lists all offensive linemen, except starting center Austin Reiter, as "OL".
How did he come to USF: From Tampa Jesuit. Originally committed to Skip Holtz, stayed committed to USF after the coaching change to Willie Taggart. He called USF his "dream offer" and stressed that he was committed to the school, not the coach. Had interest from Cincinnati, Syracuse, UConn, Purdue, Iowa State, and Duke.
Projected Playing Time In 2014: Good question. The offensive line returns lots of upperclassmen, but that isn't necessarily a virtue when you've won five games in two seasons. The OL has been cited as an area that needs to improve if USF is going to start to turn things around this season. See USA Today's preview, for example.
Because Willie Taggart is more secretive about his depth chart than either of his predecessors, we don't know where Cameron Ruff currently stands relative to holdovers at his position like Brynjar Gudmundsson, Max Lang, and Mak Djulbegovic.
We learned last season that Taggart will play freshmen, even true freshmen, if it's the best move for the team. He has no apparent bias for "his" recruits versus holdovers from the previous coach. And he will make drastic changes if things aren't working. So playing time situations like this will be an open question for the next year or two. Will Taggart-era recruits push Holtz-era recruits to the bench ahead of schedule? And would that mean the new recruits are genuinely better right now, or that Taggart is giving up on the remnants of some recruiting classes that looked pretty ugly in our historical review? Stay tuned.
Fun Fact: Ruff was a shot putter in high school, with a personal best throw of 49 feet, 2 and a half inches. Have you ever tried even lifting a shot put? Those things are heavy.