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Oracle Insight: top USF athletes of the decade

No. 10 Kentrell Gransberry — men’s basketball center

Former USF center Kentrell Gransberry only played two years in the program. However, he’s arguably the most accomplished player in the last 15 years.

Gransberry ranked third in the nation in rebounding during the 2006-07 season with 11.4 rebounds per game. The second-team All-Big East selection also led the team with 15.6 points per game in the same season.  

In 2007-08, Gransberry averaged 16 points and 10.8 rebounds per game (led Big East for second consecutive season), earning himself first-team All-Big East honors.  Gransberry’s 325 rebounds in 2007-08 are the second most on USF’s all-time single season list.  The 6-foot-9, 270 pound center recently signed with the NBA Development League’s Springfield Armor.

No. 9 Cristi Ecks
— softball pitcher

Cristi Ecks led USF’s softball team in ERA for four consecutive years and finished as the program’s best closer with 18 career saves.

Ecks was named Big East Co-Rookie of the Year and was first-team All-Big East in 2006 when the Bulls made it to an NCAA super regional.

Ecks led the team in ERA all four years of her career, finishing with a 1.14 career ERA.

No. 8 George Selvie — football defensive end

Though Selvie’s stats dropped considerably after his sophomore season, which was by far the best individual season in program history, he’s still one of the best players ever at USF.

Selvie finished his career ranked near the top of almost every defensive category for defensive lineman, including first place in career tackles for loss and sacks. 

As a sophomore in 2007, Selvie was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 14.5 sacks (second in nation) and 31.5 tackles for loss, which led the country and set a new USF and Big East single-season record.

No. 7 Andre Hall
— football running back

After transferring from community college, Andre Hall played only two years at USF from 2004 to 2005. He is the most accomplished running back in program history. 

As a senior, Hall ranked first in the Big East in rushing with 114.5 yards per game and first in all-purpose yards with 141 yards per game, breaking his own rushing record after gaining 1,374 yards in 2005. Hall’s 2,731 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns are both school records.  

A first-team All-Big East selection as a senior, Hall signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2006 but was cut. He played with the Denver Broncos in 2007 and had 216 yards on 44 carries, spending time with the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans.  Hall is a free agent now.

No. 6 Matt Grothe
— football quarterback

An ACL injury suddenly ended Matt Grothe’s senior season at USF, finishing the best career by any offensive player in school history. 

Grothe broke former West Virginia quarterback Pat White’s Big East record for total offense in a career despite suffering the injury. He broke just about every freshman quarterback record at USF, setting marks for passing yards, rushing yards, total offense and rushing touchdowns. 

In 2007, Grothe was one of only three players to rush for 850 yards and pass for 2,500 yards.  In 2008, Grothe led the Big East in total offense.  He led the Bulls to three straight bowl appearances.

No. 5 Marcela Gurgel — volleyball

Marcela Gurgel, who ended her career this fall, left USF ranked second on the school’s all-time blocks list, fourth in aces and ninth in digs. Gurgel played in every regular season match from her freshman to junior season and was named first-team All-Big East all four years. Entering last season, she was dubbed Big East Preseason Player of the Year.

No. 4 Shantia Grace — women’s basketball player

Former USF guard Shantia Grace led the Bulls to their first WNIT championship in school history with a 75-71 victory over Kansas in April.  

Grace, a 5-foot-8 guard, ranked first on the team in scoring (14.9) and assists per game (4.7) as a senior, earning herself a first-team All-Big East selection after garnering consecutive second team selections as a sophomore and junior.  

Grace’s 1,814 career points rank third in school history. Her 557 career assists are a school best.

No. 3 Damu Cherry — women’s track and field

Damu Cherry set the USF indoor record for the 55-meter hurdles when she ran a 7.76 in 2000, and she also ranks second in school history with a 7.52 time in the 60-meter sprint the same season. 

After college, Cherry took her track and field skills to a whole new level, placing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.  Cherry’s USF record of 13.24 in the 100-meter hurdles still stands.

No. 2 Jessica Dickson
— women’s basketball forward

USF’s all-time leading scorer was one of the nation’s top college players throughout her tenure at USF from 2003-07.

Forward Jessica Dickson’s 22 points per game in 2005-06 marked the highest single season average in Big East history and was the highest in USF history.

Dickson was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year after the 2003-04 season and followed that with three consecutive first-team all-conference selections.

No. 1 Mike Jenkins
— football cornerback 

Jenkins is probably the best pro prospect to come from USF.  

During his senior season in 2007, Jenkins was arguably the best cover corner in the nation, garnering first-team All-American honors from the American Football Coaches Association and earning first-team All-Big East honors.

Jenkins had three interceptions and 12 pass breakups, and also had a 100-yard touchdown on a kick return.

Jenkins was taken in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, USF’s only first-round draft choice.

After two seasons in the NFL, Jenkins is already one of the better cornerbacks in the league, leading the Cowboys to the playoffs this season with a team-high five interceptions.