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Leavitt to go shopping for recruits

As coach of the New York Jets, Bill Parcells said that to cook the dinner, he had to buy the groceries, too.

Jim Leavitt must be taking culinary advice from the Tuna.

While Leavitt has been able to stew up some success at USF, he believes that the cook can only be as good as his ingredients. With that in mind, the Bulls should soon break ground on a breathtaking new facility to rival the upper echelon of Division I.

“To a lot of different people, it matters a lot,” freshman quarterback David Mullins said. “Facilities are a big deal to most players. (Ours are) decent right now, but they’re going to be real good in the future to come.”

The focus behind the facility is recruiting. As the Bulls approach their second year in Division I-A, with Conference USA in 2003, infusing the program with players capable of winning ballgames at that level is crucial to USF’s future.

“I think they need (quality facilities) in this program,” freshman linebacker Terrence Royal said. “Help us out. Look at what we’re in now. We’re a top-notch team now, we don’t deserve this here. We deserve better.”

But even without the necessary accoutrements, Leavitt has assembled a program others would envy, equipped with numerous selling points. The Bulls have never won less than five games and are coming off an 8-3 campaign in 2001. USF will be riding high starting the 2002 season, winning its final six to close last year. The schedule features 2001 National Champion Oklahoma as well as the Sooners’ opponent from the 2002 Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, Arkansas.

To the players, those factors are more important than the most expensive weight room.

“Win ballgames, beat Oklahoma, Arkansas. Go undefeated. Go to a bowl game. That’s the kind of things I need,” Royal said.

If all that wasn’t enough, the spread offense that the Bulls implemented before last season has grabbed the attention of prep athletes on that side of the ball.

“The system fits me perfect,” Mullins said. “I love it. That’s one of the other big things why I came here and not somewhere else.”

Royal and Mullins will be key components in the Bulls’ future successes. They both enrolled in January, along with tight end Patrick Quinn, wide receiver Willie Williams and junior college offensive lineman Jason Lehman.

Royal had to wait for a qualifying test score, while Mullins didn’t want to waste a year sitting behind Marquel Blackwell.

“Separate from Blackwell, because Blackwell’s been the starter for three years,” Mullins said. “That was the biggest thing. Hopefully I’ll get to see the field a lot earlier as opposed to going somewhere else.”

Combine a multi-million dollar athletics facility with C-USA affiliation, a winning record and a ton of opportunity, and Leavitt will be shopping for filet mignon as opposed to rump roast.

Contact Anthony Gagliano at