Out of respect for former teammate Keeley Dorsey, who died after a conditioning workout in January 2007, a different USF player will wear his No. 10 jersey each game this season.
Dorsey, a former running back, died in the offseason after his freshman year. He was 19 and would’ve been a senior this year.
“He meant a lot to us. He was a tremendous young man,” said USF coach Jim Leavitt Tuesday. “I have great respect for our players who came to me and wanted to honor him by wearing his number. I think it’s an appropriate thing to do in what would’ve been his senior year.”
Players will rotate wearing the No. 10 each game. Senior quarterback Matt Grothe said he’s happy to honor a former teammate.
“It means a lot – especially knowing Keeley would’ve graduated with us this year,” Grothe said. “Just knowing him – it’s an honor for all of us … Everybody misses him. I think we’re doing a good thing for him, his family and for us as his friends.”
Senior running back Mo Plancher said he was close to Dorsey.
“Representing him, it means a lot,” he said. “He was a teammate and family member. That’s how we look at him.”
Dorsey, a graduate of Tallahassee Lincoln High School, rushed for 68 yards on 10 carries in 2006. He scored on a 52-yard run against McNeese State in USF’s opener that year. It was USF’s longest run of the season and Dorsey’s lone career touchdown.
The idea originated with team equipment manager Jeremy Lees, who saw a similar tribute by Missouri players after a teammate died.
Senior defensive lineman Aaron Harris will wear the No. 10 jersey in USF’s season opener against Wofford on Saturday. Matt Grothe and George Selvie have also requested games.
There will also be a moment of silence before Saturday’s kickoff for former USF tight end Will Bleakley, and former NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, who died in a March boating accident in the Gulf of Mexico.
Leavitt: Daniels will play
At Tuesday’s press conference, Leavitt said he expects redshirt freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels to be on the field this year.
“He’s going to play,” Leavitt said. “I don’t know where, how or what…he’s going to play. He’s too good.”
Daniels, who impressed in spring football this year, is listed as the Bulls’ No. 2 quarterback ahead of redshirt freshman Evan Landi. Leavitt said all three quarterbacks should be ready to go at any time during the season.
“We need him to be ready. He’s our No.2 two guy,” Leavitt said. “As much as we run our quarterback, all three have to be ready.”
Landi, who works a lot with USF’s wide receivers, has also impressed in camp, Leavitt said.
“I love the guys who are competing at quarterback,” he said. “Those three guys are good. I wouldn’t trade them for anyone.”
Daniels is a prime candidate to take over quarterback duties when Grothe leaves. However, Daniels said he doesn’t mind waiting his turn.
“Obviously, I want to do well. I’m a competitor,” Daniels said. “Right now, the team comes first. I just hope we come focused and ready.”
Plancher to carry load
With junior running backs Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor out for Saturday’s game, senior running back Mo Plancher will get the bulk of the carries early this season.
Ford was suspended for the Bulls’ first two games for violating team rules, while Taylor is out with a knee injury.
Plancher, who had a team best 4.7 yards per carry last year, said he won’t change his approach at all.
“It’s a boost of confidence,” he said. “I have to stay positive and keep training hard because it can be taken from me any moment.”
Leavitt said he feels good with the ball in Plancher’s hands.
“He’s trustworthy,” he said. “Good hands, good vision, great balance, understands protections … a good football player.”
Plancher played in 11 games last year, rushing for 322 yards on 69 carries. Plancher led the Bulls with six touchdown runs.
“Everyday at practice you know what you’re going to get from him. He’s a very focused guy.”