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Grothe excited to play close to home

Former USF quarterback Matt Grothe has finally found a home – and it’s not too far from his home.

Grothe, a Lakeland native, signed with the United Football League’s Orlando-based Florida Tuskers on Friday.

“It’s like high school all over again,” Grothe said to the Lakeland Ledger on Thursday. “Everybody that I’ve known growing up can come and watch me play, and hopefully (I’ll) start a fan base in Orlando.”

Grothe, the Big East’s all-time yards leader, missed the majority of his senior season with a torn ACL in his left knee after he was injured in the third game last season against Charleston Southern. He then underwent extensive rehab following surgery in hopes of getting drafted and participated in USF’s Pro Day.

“At times, it’s been really difficult, but at times it’s been a lot of fun, especially going from step to step wondering if I’d ever be able to walk again to now being able to run,” Grothe said at Pro Day on March 30. “I’ve come a long way in a short time, and I’m proud of myself.”

After drawing interest from a few Canadian Football League teams, Grothe was invited to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie minicamp in hopes of earning a free agent contract, but he wasn’t signed. With the Tuskers, Grothe will be coached by Jay Gruden, who is the brother of former Bucs’ coach, Jon Gruden. Already on the Huskers’ roster is former Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger, the UFL Player of the Year last season.

“Matt Grothe is a tough kid, a great leader and a winner,” Jay Gruden said in a statement released by USF. “He led the Bulls to many huge wins over nationally ranked teams and certainly deserves a ton of credit for helping build that program into a nationally ranked power. I certainly look forward to working with him in 2010.”

Basketball assistant leaves staff

Terrell Woody, who spent two years as a video and conditioning assistant and was the center of an investigation dealing with the USF basketball program committing several NCAA violations, has left USF coach Stan Heath’s staff to pursue a career as a full-time trainer.

“I’m training other people, I want to pursue my training,” Woody, 40, said to on Friday. “I don’t want it to be put out here that I’m doing something illegal. I’m not doing anything illegal. I’ll continue to support USF’s program, but it’s time to move on.”

Fanhouse reported in November that Woody, who was in a non-coaching position, violated NCAA rules by providing transportation to student-athletes, watching “open gyms,” coaching players and illegally working out USF players.

Woody also was linked to the recruitment of Augustus Gilchrist in 2008. Fanhouse reported Woody was hired as part of a package deal to ensure the signing of Gilchrist, a Maryland transfer who rated the 52nd best prospect in the country coming out of high school.