Senior end Davis excelling in situational role

Despite not being listed on the two-deep depth chart and only getting onto the field as a situational pass rusher, USF senior defensive end Claude Davis has made a name for himself in the first two games of this season.

Through two games, Davis has registered four tackles and three sacks. He registered his first career sack in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame, and the other two came in last week’s 37-7 win over Ball State. Davis also forced and recovered a fumble in that game.

“I don’t remember (the sacks) until I watch them on film,” Davis said. “I just tried to beat the guy, man. I watched the ball get off; it’s like a time bomb really.”

But when asked which sack stands out to him the most, Davis doesn’t hesitate to answer.

“Notre Dame, because that was my first career (sack) ever,” he said. “I still see that when I go to sleep. The Notre Dame sack was the best so far.”

According to Bulls’ defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, Davis is helping match the production that former Bulls’ defensive tackle Terrell McClain provided last year.

“Claude’s always had it; he’s a freak,” he said. “He’s got a tremendous first step. He’s long. He’s got all the attributes. It’s a matter of him buying into what we’re doing and running to the ball and all the things that are asked and he’s doing that right now. I couldn’t imagine there’s a player in the country right now that has more production per play than Claude right now.”

“Rivalry game”

Saturday’s game against Florida A&M marks the first in-state game of the season for the Bulls, and coach Skip Holtz said the team is looking at it as a rivalry game – mainly because some players on both teams know each other, or have played together at some point.

“For us, like I said, it’s an in-state game,” Holtz said. “It’s a rivalry game for us, from a selfish standpoint. I know there’s some other big games around the state, but for us, this is big because we have an opportunity to play an in-state team.”

Despite Florida A&M’s status as a Football Championship Subdivision team, Holtz said the game is still exciting because of the familiarity between players.

“From a geographical standpoint and a rivalry stand point, especially being in the conference that we’re in, the closest team is about a three-hour plane ride,” he said. “When we have an opportunity to play – whether its FIU, FAU, Miami, Florida, Central Florida, Florida A&M, Florida State, whoever it is – in-state always brings out a lot of emotions in the players because, as I said, they are all intertwined.”

“They went to high school together. They played against each other. They played on all-star teams together,” he said. “They all know each other, so it makes it an emotional week for everybody this week, both of our programs.”

Watson stepping up

True freshman defensive tackle Elkino Watson has climbed up the depth chart and earned playing time in both games so far this season.

Watson said it feels good to be seeing playing time as a true freshman, especially since he registered his first career tackle on his first play as a Bull in the season opener against the Fighting Irish.

“It felt pretty awesome as a true freshman, making my first tackle on my first play,” he said. “Everybody was shocked. Even coach Skip told me it was a great play. It felt so awesome, like fireworks went off in my head.”

Miller wins

True freshman golfer Christina Miller shot a 5-under 66 to capture the individual title at the Golfweek Program Challenge in Pawley’s Island, S.C., Tuesday. The women’s golf team as a whole placed fifth. The men’s team placed second at the same event.

Odds and ends

Freshman offensive lineman Darrell Williams will be shedding his redshirt and could get some playing time against FAMU … Sophomore DT Demi Thompson (back) and sophomore S JaQuez Jenkins (hamstring) are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game … Senior WR Joel Miller (concussion) did not practice Tuesday.