One player dismissed, three more transfer from football team

Sophomore wide receiver Johnny Peyton, who had a record-setting freshman season in 2004, has been dismissed from the USF football team due to violating team policy.

The Pasco High School standout had 39 catches for 657 yards and five touchdowns in two seasons with the Bulls, but his stats fell off in his second season after the roster went up to 11 receivers and the passing offense ranked 107 in the nation.

Coach Jim Leavitt would not comment further on the policy Peyton broke, saying, “I’ve said all I have to say about Johnny.”

In addition, fellow sophomores Josh Balloon, Ronnie McCullough and Chad Simpson have elected to transfer to other schools. None of the three have indicated their new school of choice.

“These are great guys,” said Leavitt, who is 61-39 in nine seasons at USF. “I really think the world of Ronnie, Josh and Chad. But these guys, like most players, just want to play.”

Balloon, who had 12 tackles in two years, and McCullough, who had 54 tackles in two years, have been backups as linebacker and special teams players, respectively, but their departures do hurt the depth, with two seniors (Stephen Nicholas and Patrick St. Louis) and a junior (Ben Moffitt) as the starters. The Bulls, who have six scholarship linebackers, will now look to players such as sophomore Chris Robinson, junior Sam Miller and sophomore Brouce Mompremier for backup.

“McCullough’s not bad. He’s going to play,” Leavitt said. “Now, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Ronnie and Balloon are great guys, but now we’ve got to find some depth; find some players to step up.”

Simpson was USF’s top kick returner in 2005, averaging 25.2 yards per return, including his 94-yard touchdown return in the 41-14 upset over Louisville on Sept. 24. As a running back, he had 16 carries for 89 yards as a backup for Andre Hall and Ricky Ponton.

Simpson had indicated the desire to transfer after a redshirt season in 2004, but decided to stay one more year in hopes he would see more playing time.

“I never convinced him to stay,” Leavitt said. “He just decided to stay (last year). Let me tell you something: I don’t know if that’s our guy. Sometimes you don’t know with these guys. I mean, right now they are planning to transfer, but sometimes that also changes.”

Forward out for season: Men’s basketball forward Zaronn Cann will miss the remainder of the 2005-06 season following knee surgery last Wednesday.

The successful operation repaired the anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee, which he injured in the Dec. 15 game against FAU.

Cann will now begin a six-month rehabilitation process and is expected to return to the court prior to the start of the 2006-07 season.

Cann, a graduate of nearby Brandon High School, will redshirt his first season at USF and have four seasons of eligibility remaining.

The freshman appeared in four games this season and also started one game. He averaged 2.5 points and 0.8 rebounds.