Tight end cleared, three await NCAA decision

Freshman tight end Isaac Virgin was cleared to play this season by the NCAA clearinghouse, USF football coach Jim Leavitt announced Tuesday.

Virgin, who moved from quarterback to tight end during fall camp, is one of four freshmen who were awaiting an NCAA decision.

Freshman wide receiver Daniel Bryant wasn’t cleared by the NCAA, and won’t be eligible to suit up this year, Leavitt said on Monday.

Freshmen defensive ends Ryne Giddins and Julius Forte and running back Bradley Battles still haven’t received word on whether they’ll be eligible to play this season, Leavitt said.

“We check three or four or five times a day,” Leavitt said. “We’re still pretty optimistic but until it happens, it happens.”

Battles is expected to redshirt this year, while Forte and Giddins will push for significant playing time on the defensive line.

Hester’s status unclear Leavitt said senior wide receiver Jessie Hester has a ways to go before he’s 100 percent, and that his status for the Bulls’ opener against Wofford on Sept. 5 is unknown.

“I have no idea (about Hester),” Leavitt said. “I thought he’d be further along at this point. We’re not going to play him until he’s ready.”

Hester, who led USF with 54 receptions and 579 yards last year, is still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in a scrimmage that sidelined him for spring practices.

Starting lineups becoming clearer

As expected, there are only a few more starting spots left as the season inches closer, Leavitt said.

“It’s getting pretty well-set – it’s close,” Leavitt said.

Freshman receiver Sterling

Griffin has been impressive and is a strong candidate to play a lot this season, Leavitt said.

Freshman Kayvon Webster would start in the nickel package and senior cornerbacks Jerome Murphy and Nate Allen are penciled in at this point, Leavitt said. Sophomore safety Jerrell Young would start too.

.Leavitt said four offensive linemen have impressed: tackle Jeremiah Warren, center Sampson Genus and guards Chaz Hine and Zach Hermann.