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Oracle insight: Top athletes of 2008-09

A few weeks ago, the Oracle composed a list of the top 10 USF football players in a two-part series. However, football isn’t the only sport on campus.

This time, we have a top 10 that reaches out to every sport. Here is the first part of the countdown of USF’s 10 most prolific athletes of the 2008-2009 athletic season.

10. George Selvie, football defensive end

Some might have George Selvie in their top five. And let’s face it, next to Matt Grothe, he’s probably the most popular athlete at USF (deservedly so). But after a ridiculous 2007 season in which he totaled 31.5 tackles for loss (just one shy of the all-time NCAA record) and 14.5 sacks (second in nation), Selvie’s totals dropped to 13.5 and 5.5, respectively. Granted, he was being double teamed and battled injury.

If this list was made after the 2007 season, he’d be No. 1 and it wouldn’t be close. Still, Selvie is the heart and soul of the USF defense and turned down millions of NFL dollars to return for his last college year of eligibility.

9. Todd Brazeal, baseball first baseman

Redshirt freshman Todd Brazeal was arguably USF’s best hitter last year in an offense that ranked fourth in the Big East. After taking a medical redshirt in 2008, Brazeal burst on to the scene as the Bulls’ full-time first baseman in 2009, hitting .348 (third on team) while driving in 50 (second on team) and scoring 48 times (second on team). Brazeal also led the Bulls with a .467 on-base percentage and was named to the All-Big East third team. Brazeal got it done in the field, too, ranking third on the team in fielding percentage (.984).

8. Jordan Seabrook, soccer forward

Jordan Seabrook’s impressive USF career (he led the Big East in goals as a freshman) couldn’t have ended on a better note as the USF soccer team won its first Big East championship ever.

The speedy wingman ranked fifth in the Big East in points scored (18), eighth in goals (6), and fourth in assists while leading his team in each category. Seabrook was drafted in the fourth round by the Colorado Rapids in January’s Major League Soccer draft.

7. Lucas Jovita, men’s tennis No. 1

Like the men’s soccer team, the USF men’s tennis team won its first Big East title last year and Lucas Jovita was a main reason why. At the No. 1 position, Jovita went 22-9 last year, including an unbeaten run in the Big East tournament. Jovita entered the spring season ranked No. 27 in the nation, and he and teammate Thomas Estrada were ranked as high as 15 in doubles. Jovita was also an All-Big East selection for the second consecutive season.

6. Matt Grothe, football quarterback

This pick was a struggle. If it were a popularity contest, Grothe would be No. 1 by a landslide. It isn’t, however, and Grothe just misses the top 5.

That being said, Grothe is still one of the most dynamic playmakers in the Big East. Last season, Grothe led the Big East in total offense (269.4 yds per game) and ranked 21 nationally. The dual-threat quarterback also ran for a team-best 591 yards, becoming the second player in Big East history to reach the 10,000 mark, trailing Pat White. Grothe also passed for a career-high 18 TDs last year.

For Nos. 1-5, pick up an edition of Thursday’s Oracle.