Down to one

When three former USF football players were selected in the 2003 NFL draft, the program matched its best output after three players were selected in 2002.

The Bulls also had a four players sign free-agent contracts with NFL teams following the draft, giving USF its highest output of football players to professional leagues.

However, following Sunday, when teams were forced to trim their rosters to 53 players, only one of the seven players from last season’s team remained on a roster.

Kawika Mitchell, who became the highest draft pick in USF history when the Kansas City Chiefs selected him in the second round, was the only player to make it past Sunday’s final cuts.

Quarterback Marquel Blackwell and defensive lineman Shurron Pierson joined Maurice Tucker, Hugh Smith, Tavares Jurineack and DeAndrew Rubin as players who failed to make it out of the preseason.

Blackwell, who tossed two touchdown passes in his final game for the New York Jets, was vying for the third-string quarterback position behind starter Vinny Testaverde and backup Brooks Bollinger.

Pierson, who was a fourth round selection by Oakland, was attempting to move from the defensive line to linebacker for the Raiders. Pierson, who is USF’s career sack leader, was the first football player ever to leave school early for the NFL draft, opting to turn pro following his junior season.

Both Blackwell and Pierson were released on Sunday by their respective teams.

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