On Monday, The Oracle began a countdown of the top 10 players to watch at fall practice. As the paper takes a summer recess, we’ll leave you with the top five players on our pre-camp list.
5) Todd Chandler, freshman defensive tackle
A blue chip recruit, Chandler expects to contribute in a big way for USF in the future. But how long will it take him to adjust to the college game? Defensive tackle is a position where few freshmen make an impact in college football. Chandler didn’t have the luxury of spring practice, either, so expecting too much from him this season may be unrealistic. Nonetheless, it should be interesting to see how one of the top recruits in program history progresses as fall practice and the regular season take shape.
4) Sterling Griffin, sophomore wide receiver
A penciled-in starter at receiver this season, Griffin suffered a huge setback with a dislocated ankle and a broken bone in the bottom of his fibula during a voluntary workout in late June. Griffin may not even practice during fall camp, but his progression through rehab is one of the main storylines surrounding the Bulls this fall. USF can’t afford to lose Griffin for an extended part of the season, as the team has little depth and experience at receiver. Senior A.J. Love, another projected starter before being injured, is currently rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee.
3) Lindsey Lamar, sophomore wide receiver
Used as a backup running back last year, Lamar, who is arguably the fastest player on the team, will be used as a slot receiver this year. With Griffin out, Lamar’s progression becomes more important. It was suggested Lamar responded well to the position change in the spring, and the coaching staff should get a better idea of how he has adapted during fall practice.
2) Ryne Giddins, sophomore defensive end
Giddins received a medical redshirt after an ankle injury ended his 2009 season as a true freshman. One of the top recruits in program history – ranked the fifth best defensive end prospect in the country by ESPN coming out of high school – Giddins has the potential to become one of the best players in USF history: “He has the chance to be as good as anyone we’ve had here,” defensive ends coach Vernon Hargreaves said to Gousfbulls.com. But will this season be the year? Giddins is still just a redshirt freshman, and expecting a breakout year may be a reach. He’s currently listed, along with fellow redshirt freshman Julius Forte, as a second-team defensive end behind senior Craig Marshall on the post-spring depth chart.
1) Terrence Mitchell, freshman cornerback
USF’s biggest recruiting pull of 2010 has a chance to start as a true freshman. The Bulls aren’t deep at cornerback, meaning Mitchell will likely see significant playing time regardless of experience. He has the ability to play safety and is a prime candidate to see the field in nickel coverage. Mitchell likely won’t start at the beginning of the season, as first-team cornerbacks Kayvon Webster and Quenton Washington are solid and each have at least a full year of experience as a starter. But it wouldn’t be too far-fetched if Mitchell eventually overtook one of them. Fall practice should give the coaching staff a good idea of how much of an impact Mitchell, a top 100 recruit, can make this year.