Rutgers - USF who to watch
Who are these guys??? It’s the kind of match-up that the good folks who bring you the BCS every year can only begin to dream about in their wildest fantasies: Ohio State versus South Florida for the national title. However, that would be the match-up if, and of course it is still a huge if, both teams can run the table the rest of the season. And USF faces a real test Thursday evening when the Bulls play at Rutgers (7:30 PM ET; ESPN).
In fact, if there was even a more unlikely candidate to be in contention for the BCS title game it would be South Florida which didn’t even have a football program ten years ago. And while Florida is ripe with good football players, USF has generally had to play second-fiddle to the state’s ‘other’ national powers such as Florida State, Florida and Miami for quality football players. In fact, South Florida has only had 8 players drafted in its short history, and only one – Giants’ LB Kawika Mitchell taken in the second round by Kansas City in 2003 – selected within the first three rounds. That should change this year, though, as USF has several outstanding pro prospects starting with the CB tandem of Mike Jenkins (#4, 5-11, 200), a potential first rounder this coming April, and Trae Williams (#21, 5-9, 185), both of whom can really run, along with MLB Ben Moffitt (#59, 6-1, 240) a prototype tackling machine. What has pro scouts really excited about US, though, are a couple of super sophomores in QB Mike Grothe (#8, 6-0, 200), a terrific all-around athlete who also leads the team in rushing, along with DE George Selvie (#95, 6-3, 245) who leads the country in sacks with 11.5 to date.
Meanwhile, it has been something of a disappointing season for Rutgers which had expected to be the ones in USF’s shoes at this point in the season. However, the Scarlet Knights were upset twice at home by Maryland and then Cincinnati to douse any national aspirations by the team. Still, Rutgers has plenty of talent of its own starting with junior RB Ray Rice (#27, 5-9, 200), who is on pace to rush for over 1,600 yards and 26 TDs in what is considered something of a down year. Rice runs behind a very good line anchored by veteran OTs Pedro Sosa (#77, 6-4, 295) and Jeremy Zuttah (#71, 6-4, 290) and huge OG Mike Fladell (#72, 6-6, 325). The Scarlet Knights also have one of the better safeties in the country in junior SS Courtney Greene (#36, 6-0, 205), while junior DE Jamaal Westerman (#90, 6-3, 250) is another emerging star. Also keep an eye on undersized DT Eric Foster (#56, 6-2, 265) who has the quickness and motor to make the move outside at the next level.