Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ford signs with Toronto

Former USF running back Mike Ford signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League on Tuesday.

The signing ends a period of turmoil for the former Sarasota High running back. Early in the year he was dismissed from the USF football team and later arrested on charges of domestic violence.

The charges against Ford were recently dropped and Toronto, which had been reportedly keeping an eye on the 6-2, 225 running back, offered him a contract to be on its practice squad.

It is uncertain when Ford will be activated. He impressed a lot of people north of the border last January when he ran for a personal career high 207 yards in the Bulls victory over Northern Illinois, earning him the International Bowl MVP award.

A lot of people, including Manatee High Hall of Fame Coach Joe Kinnan believe Ford is the best high school running back the Manatee-Sarasota County area has ever produced. In his senior year at Sarasota High, he rushed for 2,836 yards (highest ever by a running back from Manatee or Sarasota County) and scored 37 touchdowns in being named the Class 5A Player Of The Year.

Shaw could be factor in USF running game

USF head football coach Skip Holtz said his Bulls will use a running back by committee approach in the season opener Saturday night against Stony Brook and that it might continue throughout the season.

Various injuries to sixth year senior Mo Plancher has created a situation that now has true freshman Marcus Shaw listed as one of four running backs expected to see time this Saturday. Braden River and Palmetto high fans cannot forget how Shaw torched them for big yardage when he was toting the ball for DeSoto County High.

Holtz said Plancher was only involved in about 20 out of more than 300 snaps this fall practice that included full dress scrimmages and wasn’t prepared to handle a fulltime load.

Shaw, safety Mark Joyce, walk-on quarterback Bobby Eveld and receiver Stephen Bravo Brown are the four true freshmen Holtz said would see action on Saturday.

The first year coach said he doesn’t want to use true freshman unless he knows they will get a good workload throughout the season because it’s like wasting a year of eligibility.

Kinnan-Holtz mend fences

It looks as if Manatee High head football coach Joe Kinnan and new USF coach Skip Holtz have mended fences.

The two shared lunch together Tuesday when Kinnan made a surprise visit to the first USF media football luncheon under the reign of Holtz. They were smiling and talking to each other while looking like two buddies renewing acquaintances.

It seemed different from when Holtz first took over the Bulls program and last February took away a scholarship that had been promised to Brion Carnes, Manatee High’s quarterback last season.

Kinnan was upset about the decision and made his feelings known saying USF was not welcome at his school. However, it looked like water on the bridge on Tuesday. Speaking of Carnes, expect him to redshirt this season at Nebraska.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lots of Manatee County flavor at WKU-Nebraska opener

Two former Manatee County players are expected to play key roles in the Willie Taggart era that begins Saturday when Western Kentucky visits Nebraska.

Braden River’s Willie McNeal is slated to start at receiver and return punts and kickoffs while true freshman Ty Scott from Palmetto High goes into the game as a second team defensive back.

The game will mark the head coaching debut of former Manatee High great Taggart, who takes over a team that did not win a game last season and has lost 20 straight.

The game has some strong Manatee County ties involving three former quarterbacks, who played at Manatee under legendary head coach Joe Kinnan.

Tommie Frazier, former Nebraska All-American, played at Manatee High and helped sway Brion Carnes, last year’s quarterback for Kinnan, to the Cornhuskers. Ray Woodie, who coached and played at Palmetto High, is on Taggart’s staff.

Manatee County well represented at WIU

The Manatee County high school football season officially begins Friday Night, but if you look at the Western Illinois roster you might think it opens Thursday.

There will be five Manatee County residents on the Leathernecks roster when they kickoff their season Thursday night at home against Valparaiso.

Leading the way is senior receiver Todd Speight, who is Pre-Season All American Honorable Mention and pre-season first team All Missouri Valley Conference choice. He was an All-Conference Punt Returner last year when he ranked 15th in FCS (I-AA) and 73d in kickoff returns.

The 5-8, 165 pounder is the only player in WIU history to return a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same game. He is the younger brother of Southeast quarterback Dyron Speight.

Three former Southeast players are on the team: Enock Presendieu, a junior offensive lineman and sophomores Charles Chestnut (WR) and Kieron James (DB).

The other Manatee County product is sophomore running back Marva Carley, from Palmetto High.

Harper cut by Saints

Hit with injuries for the second straight year apparently cost Rod Harper his job with the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

The Southeast High graduate defied all odds last year when he jumped from the Arena Football League 2 Arkansas Twisters onto a roster spot with the Saints. He unfortunately was injured and didn’t play though he was on the team for entire season, including its Super Bowl triumph.

Harper was hit with a hip injury in this year’s camp, which forced him to lose some valuable practice time and a pre-season game. The punt returner/receiver then fell behind as others stepped up and he was cut last week.

The Saints receiving corps was already congested and the emergence of Adrian Arrington made things even tougher for Harper and fellow receiver Mark Bradley, who was also cut.

Julius Wilson signs with Omaha

Do good things happen to good people?

Those who support Julius Wilson sure believe it.

Shortly after getting suspended from the Arena Football League for going into the stands to help his father, Wilson now finds himself in a better situation.

The Southeast High grad recently signed a contract with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League and is currently practicing with the first team.

He says he is earning a lot more money than what he received when he was with the Orlando Predators of the AFL and is getting to play the outdoor version of the game, which he truly loves.

Adding a little more excitement to his role, the 6-4, 315 pound offensive lineman will get block for former Tampa Bay quarterback and long time NFLer Jeff Garcia.

Wilson will also be trying to clear some running room for former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett, who signed with the Nighthawks on Monday.

To add more intrigue, the Nighthawks head coach is Jeff Jagodzinski, who was fired by the Tampa Bay Bucs last year as their offensive coordinator. Wilson played with Orlando last year in the UFL.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Russell's use of Milledge baffling

Can’t help but wonder what Pirates manager John Russell is thinking these days when it comes to Lastings Milledge.

First Russell platooned Milledge with Ryan Church, though he was hitting under .200 against right-handers while Milledge was hitting over .250 against them and over .300 against lefties.

The Pirates got rid of Church in a trade and now Russell is trying to convert catcher Ryan Doumit into a right fielder and has him taking a lot of Milledge’s playing time away.

But you have to give credit to the Palmetto native, who led Lakewood Ranch to its only state baseball championship his senior year. Milledge has handled the situation without moaning or protesting and has adopted a positive attitude.

He even maintained that demeanor when the switch hitting Doumit started against a lefty though he is batting under .200 against southpaws, more than 100 points less than Milledge.

“I just feel like, when I get my opportunity, I’m going to make the most of it, whether it’s two times a week or three times a week,” Milledge told the Post-Gazette.com this week.

Milledge has hit .276 in his last 10 games, getting at least one hit in all but two games where he only had three combined at-bats. For the season, he is hitting .316 against lefties and .251 against right handers.

With runners in scoring position for the season, Milledge is batting .393 against lefties and .327 against righties. Doumit is a switch hitter, but is batting an anemic .179 against lefties striking 20 times in 112 at-bats and .280 against righthanders. With RISP, Doumit is batting .240 from the right side and .250 from the left.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Versatile Raymond switches to corner

Mistral Raymond, who was just recently given a scholarship by USF head football coach Skip Holtz, has given the Bulls much needed flexibility in their secondary.

The Palmetto High graduate drew praise from USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder in last Saturday’s scrimmage. Raymond had been listed as the starting safety and could wind up playing every position in the secondary.

For now, Snyder says he wants to use Raymond at cornerback because it makes the Bulls secondary the strongest when he is at that position. The 6-2, 192 pound senior gained a reputation as a physical player last year when he joined the Bulls from junior college.

But Raymond has improved his cover skills and shown a lot of speed that perhaps people were not aware that he possessed. His presence at cornerback will knock either Quenton Washington or Kayvon Webster out of the starting lineup.

Raymond played his first two years at Ellsworth Community College (Iowa) and led the team in tackles in 2007 with 62. He is the leading returning tackler among the USF defensive backs with 40 with Webster second at 30 tackles.

Fabian Washington looks impressive in debut

The best news for Manatee County football fans last week had to be the play of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington.

The Bayshore High graduate hadn’t played in an NFL game since he tore the ACL in his left knee last season and was being dogged by skeptics that claimed he would never be himself again or regain that 4.3 forty speed.

Going against the Washington Redskins first team offense, including quarterback Donovan McNabb last Saturday, Washington silenced a lot of his critics and showed he is ready to resume his place in the Ravens secondary.

Playing the first quarter only, Washington showed he still has his lateral quickness and moved smoothly without any pain or discomfort. He didn’t display any signs of rustiness, which seemed to be a concern in a secondary that has been battered with injuries.

Despite playing in his first game since November 22nd, Washington looked good in coverage, recorded one tackle and had a pass deflection. He also came close to intercepting a McNabb pass.

The 27 year-old wouldn’t go as far as declaring himself 100 percent recovered from his injury, but said he can do anything he wants to on the field, perhaps a millisecond short of what he is use to doing and that he did feel some soreness in the knee.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hornes moves up on USF depth chart

Former Southeast High standout Faron Hornes has moved up to number two on the USF depth chart at receiver.

The senior wideout, who joined the Bulls last season from junior college, earned his promotion after impressing Bulls head coach Skip Holtz and his staff during the team’s recently completely camp workouts at the Vero Beach Sports Village Training Complex.

He drew praise from Holtz in the 150 play scrimmage that highlighted the camp last week showing his breakaway and pass catching skills on a 58-yard reception from true freshman quarterback Jamius Gunsby.

The three starters at receiver are Dontavia Bogan, the most experienced of the healthy pass catchers, converted running back Lindsey Lamar and Evan Landi, a backup receiver/ quarterback last year.

Palmetto High graduate Mistral Raymond is listed as the starting cornerback, though the senior figures to see time at corner and safety in a secondary that is still looking for its identity.

Selvie looks impressive for Rams

It’s only one meaningless pre-season game, but George Selvie looked like the George Selvie in his pro debut last week when his St. Louis Rams took on the Minnesota Vikings.

The 7th round pick from USF caused some havoc reminiscent of his days with the Bulls when he picked up a sack, forced a fumble and kept constant pressure on the Viking quarterbacks when he was in there.

It was reminiscent of his sophomore year at USF when he caught the football world by surprise and earned All-American honors in a banner season.

Unfortunately, his production dropped the next two seasons, particularly his senior year in 2009 and his stock fell. But for at least one night against a Vikings squad that did not have Brett Farve or running back Adrian Peterson, he showed a lot of promise.

Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo praised Selvie for his play and noted how he came across the field on one play to make a tackle. In a scrimmage this week, he noted the defensive end had what would’ve been at least two sacks and a safety in a regular game.

The head coach is looking for consistency from his young guys. Selvie will get a chance to show some of that tonight against Cleveland in the Rams second pre-season game a

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hornes has big catch of the day for USF

USF receiver Faron Hornes, who has been trying to move up the depth chart, may have helped himself Saturday when the caught the longest pass of the day in the Bulls first scrimmage of fall practice at the Vero Beach Sports Village.

The former Southeast High standout hauled in a 58-yard pass from freshman Jamius Gunsby that set up a four yard touchdown run by Bradley Battles. That turned out to be the only TD for the Bulls in about a 150 play scrimmage. But Gunsby looked impressive connecting on 12 of 17 passes for 168 yards while starter B.J. Daniels struggled and was 7 for 22 for 70 yards.

Hornes drew praise from USF head coach Skip Holtz, who is expected to come up with a new depth chart before the end of the weekend, probably Sunday night. It appears the senior will be among the two deep.

“That was a great play by Faron Hornes. The ball was thrown up there like a punt and he kept running and caught it,” Holtz said. “I think we will be fine in the secondary. There is some talent back there and we just have to keep working. B.J. is going through some growing pains and didn’t have a great throwing day.”

The defense controlled the day and got a big jump start from Palmetto High graduate and senior defensive back Mistral Raymond, who picked off a pass on the first series of the scrimmage. Redshirt freshmen JaQuez Jenkins and Reshard Cliett also had interceptions.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sandberg gets another accolade

The accolades keep rolling in for the Manatee High quarterback Cord Sandberg, who has yet to start a regular season varsity game.

The lefty was listed among the top 100 sophomores in the country this week by MaxPreps, which has been taken over by CBSSports.com.

The 6-1, 180 pounder gained a lot of notoriety last spring when he threw five touchdown passes in Manatee’s 48-41 victory Palm Bay Side, connecting on 21 of 23 passes for 320 yards.

The best part is that he is obviously more than a one night wonder. Sandberg looked good in several college football camps this summer, particularly impressing the coaches at Auburn, who told him he was high on their radar screen and would likely get a scholarship in the not too distant future.

Smalls decides to concentrate on basketball

The Southeast High football team received some bad news, but for the ‘Noles basketball team it had to be good.

Reggie Smalls, one of the most talented athletes in the school, has decided to forego his senior year of football and concentrate on hoops.

The 5-11, 180 pound senior is coming off a big summer of basketball where he made a name for himself on the AAU circuit, showing a knack for being able to score from anywhere on the court coupled with his ability to hang in the air, maneuver his way to the basket.

Smalls also showed he has used his quickness to turn himself into a top flight defensive player. He shined at the prestigious Big Shot AAU Tournament in Myrtle Beach (SC) during the summer and received a scholarship to Lynn University, a Division II school in Boca Raton.

The biggest improvement for Smalls was in his long range shooting. Most people familiar with his body of work always believed he had the athleticism to play at the next level, but the question was whether he had the ability to hit the long range shot with consistency. He answered that during the summer.

Smalls figured to play receiver this year, but can also return punts or kickoffs and has the talent to play defensive back. However, right now he is concentrating on turning himself into a Division I basketball prospect.

Washington held out of pre-season opener

Fabian Washington was ready, willing and able to go Thursday night in the Baltimore Ravens pre-season opener against Carolina, but the coaching staff decided to err on the side of caution and kept the cornerback out.

It made sense. The former Bayshore High standout is coming off ACL off season surgery and the Ravens secondary is already banged up so there is no need to take chances.

Baltimore already lost cornerback Domonique Foxworth for the season with a torn ACL and cornerback Lardarius Webb is still nursing a sore knee and hasn’t been able to get back on the field. Adding to the problem is that at All-Pro safety Ed Reed is also out while recovering from off season hip surgery.

Washington is a warrior who can’t wait to get back on the field and wanted to play Thursday night. But he might also be concerned about rumors that the Ravens are looking into the possibility of trading running back Willis McGahee for a top flight cornerback.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Washington could play in Thursday's ESPN game

Local fans hoping to get a glimpse of hometown hero Fabian Washington in the Baltimore Ravens pre-season opener this Thursday night on ESPN may have to wait until kickoff to see if he is going to play.

The former Bayshore High standout is coming off ACL knee surgery and Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t want to risk anything with his starting cornerback though he has looked impressive during camp and has made what appears to be a speedy recovery.

Washington started 10 games last season before being shelved with his injury. He wasn’t expected to play again until close to the regular season opener. But he has been practicing well and showing the speed and agility that made him first round pick out of Nebraska in 2005.

Harbaugh said the 27 year-old Washington could play, but he is not sure whether he wants to risk injury in the game against the Carolina Panthers. Kickoff is for 8 p.m.

“He’s ready to go. It’s just a matter of whether we want him to go. I think we’ll take him out during pregame and see how much work we get done, and we’ll just decide. But, we’re not going to push it, I can tell you that,” Harbaugh said in his Tuesday press conference.

Naturally Washington said he wants to play, but will go along with whatever Harbaugh decides. He has been practicing with the first team defense the last three days. The Ravens have really been banged up in the secondary.

Future bright for Reiter at USF

Austin Reiter, the former standout offensive lineman from Lakewood Ranch, appears to have a good future ahead of him at USF. It’s just that he might have to show little patience for awhile.

Lakewood Ranch head football coach Shawn Trent said the USF coaches told him the 6-4, 250 pound Reiter was now the third string center. It’s not so bad for the true freshman, who might sit out this season as redshirt.

The two guys ahead of him are talented, but also in the latter stages of their college careers. Sampson Genus, a 6-1, 315 pound senior, is the starter and a pre-season All Big East Conference selection in several publications.

The backup center is 6-1, 308 pound junior Kevin McCaskill, who has appeared in 10 career games with one start after taking a redshirt season in 2007. He started the last regular season game last year against Connecticut when Sampson was injured.

“I don’t know if USF will redshirt him this season, but I would assume they would try to do that,” Trent said. “They were thinking after spring ball that he could eventually be a three year starter. He was great for us. We even put him on the defensive line for about 15 plays a game and he dominated.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bad luck continues to dog USF receivers

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the USF receiving corps_ Well they do.

Colby Erskin, who has spent more time in rehab the past five years than on the football field is now out for the season again.

After being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, Erskin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the fourth time in last Saturday’s practice. It’s the same knee he has had three previous surgeries on for tearing his ACL.

USF head coach Skip Holtz reportedly was very skeptical about allowing Erskin to play this season, but apparently gave into his wishes.

His injury is just the latest in a run of bad luck that has dogged the USF receiving corps this year. First A.J. Love tore his ACL in the spring game and then highly regarded Sterling Griffin broke his ankle. Both were starters and Love was being touted as one of the top receivers in the Big East Conference.

Carlton Mitchell opted to go to the NFL while three other receivers chose not to return to the team (Patrick Richardson, Ed Alcin and Jason Sherman).

B.J. Daniels earns pre-season honors

There aren’t many experienced quarterbacks in the Big East Conference. In fact, the only returning starters at what is considered the most important position on a football team are sophomores B.J. Daniels from USF and Rutgers Tom Savage.

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that Daniels was named to the Rivals.Com Pre-Season All Big East first team and Savage was picked for the second team.

The only other USF players to earn honors were senior center Sampson Genus (6-1, 315 pounds) and junior cornerback Quenton Washington (5-10, 190), who were both selected to the second team.

Daniels is more athletic than Savage, but will be operating behind an offensive line that is not without questions marks. The Bulls lost a key cog when senior guard Zach Hermann, who had 26 starts under his belt, decided to forego his last season because of a bulging disc in his neck.

The Bulls also lost two top receivers to injuries in A.J. Love (torn ACL) and Sterling Griffin (broken ankle), who figure to be out for at least the first half of the season. The injuries came on top of the losses of Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor, who many feel were the two most talented running backs on the team.

The Rutgers offensive line might be suspect, which could be a problem after last season when the Scarlet Knights allowed three sacks per game despite having NFL first round pick Anthony Davis at tackle.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mistral Raymond finally gets scholarship

Entering his senior year at USF and second as a starter, Palmetto High grad Mistral Raymond got good news recently when Bulls head coach Skip Holtz told him he would now be on full scholarship.

It was particularly satisfying because Raymond gave up scholarship offers to other schools after he finished at Ellsworth Community College so he could be close to his family and play for USF. He was the only starter for the Bulls without a scholarship.

He made the decision to play at USF after the home his mother and other family members occupied in Palmetto was shot up by assailants, who reportedly targeted the wrong house.

The 6-2, 192 free safety began last season as a backup and worked his way into the starting lineup eventually finishing with 40 tackles, which is the most among the returning USF defensive backs this season. He had 21 solo tackles and one interception.

“Mistral has great passion for football and is very energetic on the field. He is a senior and knows now is his chance. He is going to have to play corner and safety for us,” Bulls defensive backs coach Rick Smith said.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rodgers-Cromartie looks impressive

If Arizona Cardinals defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not at one-hundred percent, the other teams in the NFL could be in for a rough time.

The Lakewood Ranch graduate says he is still not fully recovered from knee surgery and a subsequent toe injury he suffered during the off season.

However, the third year pro has been impressive during the first week of training camp, showing his knack for breaking up passes and coverage skills. Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald praised Rodgers-Cromartie after going against him in practice, noting how physical he is despite his slender 6-2, 185 pound frame.

The 24-year-old Rodgers-Cromartie is coming off a Pro Bowl season where he showed he has a lot more going for himself than his 4.29 speed in the 40-yard dash. He and Fitzgerald got into a spirited physical encounter during drills on Monday.

The 6-2, 218 pound Fitzgerald is a two time first team All Pro (’08 and ‘09), four time Pro Bowler and was selected the Pro Bowl MVP last season when he caught 97 passes for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Boe Brand now a 3-star prospect

Southeast High receiver Boe Brand recently picked up his first stars, which means he is now an official highly touted recruit. The 6-1, 160 pounder received 3 stars from ESPN, which believes he has the talent to be a success at the next level.

ESPN loves his hands and quickness and calls him an explosive athlete who can take off after the catch or use hi speed to get open. The big question is his durability.

Brand is a popular prospect in the Big East Conference. He has been offered by Big East schools USF and Rutgers and his other BCS offer is from Illinois. He has also been offered by UCF, Bowling Green, FIU and Kent State

During the recent 7 on 7 tournament at IMG, Brand showed a knack for getting open and using his leaping ability to go over the top of defenders to make a catch.

Former Southeast star receiver Peter Warrick, who starred at FSU and was a first round draft choice for Cincinnati, believes Brand is a big time prospect and has all the tools to make an impact on the major college level.

The biggest criticism of Brand is his lack of weight. Listed at 160 pounds, ESPN says he is one of the “skinniest” receivers it has seen in years. However, weight is not much of a factor at that position for a college, which has time to get him bigger. They can redshirt a player for a year, get him in the weight room and beef him up.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Looking ahead to 2012 football class

The prep football season is almost at our doorsteps, but in this day and age it’s never too early to look ahead to the following season.

With that in mind, it should be noted that four players from Manatee County have been listed among the top 50 college prospects in the country for the class of 2012 by the publication Friday Night Football Florida.

They all play defense and not surprisingly two play for Manatee High and two for Southeast. All have a good combination of size and speed.

Manatee High’s representatives are linebacker Darius White and defensive back
Clinton Heaven,who has been offered a football scholarship to South Carolina by head coach Steve Spurrier.

The Southeast guys are defensive tackle DeAngelo Dawes and cornerback
Brian Poole Jr., who ran a sub 4.4 second forty-yard dash at the recent Friday Night Lights camp, which made quite an impression on the University of Florida coaching staff.

The publication also lists head coach Joe Kinnan and his assistants as the fifth best coaching staff in the state. Ironically, the top rated staff is Tampa Plant led by Robert Wiener. These clubs will go into the season as the top two teams in Class 5A.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Washington practices, but no contact allowed

Recovering from two off season surgeries, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington received some good news Friday when he was taken off the physically-unable-to-perform list (PUP).

The former Bayshore High standout took part in afternoon drills his first day back, but is not allowed to get involved in any contact. He had surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee and a bulging disc in his neck. The ACL is the one that concerns team officials.

The Ravens have been hit hard in their secondary with injuries and are trying to bring Washington along slowly so he won’t have any setbacks and be ready sometime during the first quarter of the season. The cornerback suffered the ACL injury in the 12th game last season.

The Ravens lost cornerback Domonique Foxworth to a torn ACL on Thursday making their situation at the position even worse, but team officials insist as bad as they need and want Washington they don’t want to rush the 27-year-old.

Another Baltimore cornerback, Ladarius Webb, is also coming back from knee surgery. The Ravens also have a question mark at safety where six-time pro bowler Ed Reed is recovering from hip surgery.

Washington spent some time this summer working out at IMG with hometown buddies Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Mike Jenkins and said he felt ready to go. However conventional wisdom is not to rush things with an injury of his type.

USF lineman signs big contract; exceeds Jenkins

Jason Pierre-Paul was only with the USF football team for a year, but he will be remembered for a long time and it just won’t be for unseating George Selvie as the Bulls top defensive end in 2009.

The 15th overall pick this year’s NFL draft with the New York Giants, the 6-6, 260 pounder out of Deerfield Beach signed for a reported $20.05 million in a five year deal with $11.62 million guaranteed. He is the highest pick in the history of the 14 year-old program.

The deal between Pierre-Paul and the Giants was consumed on Saturday night, prior to the opening of the Giants training camp in Albany, New York. His contract is the biggest awarded to a USF player coming directly out of the draft.

Pierre-Paul had only season of major college football and the thinking is it might take some time for him to develop. The Giants are pretty well stocked at defensive end so the thinking is the staff is willing to wait awhile because the coaches are so enamored by his athleticism.

Last season, he had 45 tackles with 6.5 sacks for minus 29 yards and 16.5 tackles for losses with a team high seven quarterback pressures.

USF’S only other NFL first round pick is Southeast grad Mike Jenkins. The cornerback was the 25th selection in the 2008 draft and signed a $9.275 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys that included $3.1 million signing bonus and $6.75 million guaranteed.