One of the biggest challenges for the USF football teams offense next season will be replacing two starters along the line, center Chaz Hine and guard Jeremiah Warren.
That process is well underway, with rising redshirt sophomore Austin Reiter making a strong claim on the center vacancy.
Reiter drew praise from the coaching staff last year for his advanced grasp on the offense and being a dedicated practice participant, despite not getting on the field very often.
With Hine gone, Reiter is stepping up admirably, but freshman Thor Jozwiak has also earned accolades from coach Skip Holtz.
I think Austin Reiter has taken that (spot), Holtz said. Right now, hes far and away ahead of everyone else, but then again, hes been in the program longerthan anyone else and playing that position. I think Thor Jozwiak, as a freshman is doing good things. I really like what Thor is doing. For a true freshman to be playing out there with his confidence, I really like his attitude.
Jozwiak redshirted last year, but was limited in practice time by a shoulder injury.
Newcomer Lawrence Martin has the inside track on Warrens old position of left guard, though hes been forced to play on the right side this spring by Danous Estenors ankle injury.
Its probably unfair to Lawrence Martin because hes been playing the left guard position and, all of a sudden, with Danous being out, we bumped him over to right guard, Holtz said. Hes left-handed, so all of a sudden hes got to get in a right-handed stance. Its totally new for him since hes always played on the left side.
For Martin, who joined the program this winter from Merced College, the switch hasnt been easy.
I like it, he said. Its fun, but a lot of work, though. You go from setting from the left to setting with your right (hand). Youre so used to stepping with your left (foot) on a pass set when youre supposed to step with your right. Its a big difference. I cant do anything but work at it because if something happens during the season, I can be able to play it.
Deadline day for Rudd
On March 19, just a day after the USF mens basketball teams season ended with a third-round loss in the NCAA Tournament, redshirt sophomore wing player Victor Rudd Jr. announced his intention to forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter his name in the NBA Draft.
Rudd didnt hire an agent, though, meaning that he could choose to return to school by a specified date with no penalties. That date is today.
If Rudd does not withdraw his name from draft consideration today, he will no longer be eligible to play college basketball at USF or elsewhere.