USF Bulls

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 14: Running back Marlon Mack #5 of the South Florida Bulls celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Temple Owls at Raymond James Stadium in the first half on November 14, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)
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South Florida exploring possibility of on-campus stadium

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South Florida athletics director Mark Harlan unveiled his five-year strategic plan before the USF Board of Trustees, and part of that plan was the possibility of building an on-campus football stadium.

The Bulls have played in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium since their 1997 inception, but moving to a home of their own is a proper consideration for a program of USF’s stature. Rival Central Florida built its own stadium in 2007, and AAC foe Houston followed suit in 2014. Temple is moving forward with plans of its own, too.

And the time is ripe for iron striking, with Willie Taggart leading the Bulls to a second-place finish in the AAC East Division last fall and the program’s first bowl trip since 2010.

“The great thing about this campus is there are multiple (location) opportunities,” Harlan said, via the Tampa Bay Times.

“It’s time to zero in on which opportunity is best for this program. And then lastly, how are we gonna pay for it? Apparently these things aren’t free, so we need to really look into all those things and really decide if there’s an appetite for it.”

That question is a sticky one, as USF’s donor support was $2.5 million in 2014-15 — a third of the typical AAC public school. And the American’s per-school distribution is barely half of what the Big East doled out.

“Simply put, in 2012 and 2013 we had $11.4 million from the conference (Big East) that we were in,” Harlan said. “Today it’s closer to $6.4 (million).”

To make an on-campus stadium feasible (UCF’s Bright House Networks Stadium cost $55 million in 2007 dollars; Houston’s TDECU Stadium cost $128 million), Harlan noted South Florida will need the help of the South Florida business community. ”

We have to challenge our community to support us more profoundly. They’ve been waiting to invest in a winner over the last few years. I think we’ve got one now. We have to get our corporations behind our program, and that’s what we’re setting about doing,” he said.

LB Nick Holman makes ‘hard decision’ to transfer from USF

Nick Holman
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A little over a week after the end of spring practice, USF has seen its depth at linebacker take a bit of a hit.

Calling it “a hard decision,” Nick Holman took to Twitter Wednesday night to announce that he has decided to transfer out of the Bulls football program and “pursue other opportunities” elsewhere. The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to transfer.

Barring something unforeseen, Holman would be forced t sit out the 2016 season if he moves on to another FBS program. He’d then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Holman came to USF as a three-star member of the Bulls’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 31 player at any position in the state of Alabama. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Holman played in 11 games in 2015.

The Tampa Bay Times wrote that “Holman led the White team with five tackles in the April 16 Green and White intrasquad game, and was listed as the backup to senior Nigel Harris at weakside linebacker on the post-spring depth chart.”

New USF defensive coordinator won’t make as much as old USF DC

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 14:Defensive end Demetrius Hill #9 of the South Florida Bulls celebrates a defensive play against the Temple Owls in the second half at Raymond James Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. South Florida beat the Temple Owls 44-23. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Demetrius Hill
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Raymond Woodie was promoted to from South Florida’s linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, and on Thursday we learned just how much that promotion is worth to his bank account.

According to Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times, Woodie signed a two-year contract that will pay him $260,000 in 2016 and $275,000 in 2017. It’s a decent dump from his 2015 salary, a flat-screen shy of $239,000 according to the USA Today salary database, but well below the $350,000 then-defensive coordinator Tom Allen brought home.

Allen left this winter for the same job at Indiana.

South Florida’s new co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Darren Hiller will earn $250,000 in each of the two years on his contract, the same amount the Bulls’ previous offensive line coach Danny Hope made in ’15.

Additionally, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach T.J. Weist will earn $220,000 annually over a two-year deal, quarterbacks coach Shaun King will make $180,000 on a one-year contract, and safeties coach John Jancek will average $190,000 over a two-year deal.

Head coach Willie Taggart signed a five-year, $9 million contract in December that included a half-million dollar boost to his assistant salary pool.

Lamar Robbins, arrested on weapons charge in Oct., welcomed back at USF

Jeremy Johnson, Lamar Robbins
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After a legal misstep last year, Lamar Robbins is being afforded a second chance by Willie Taggart.

This past October, Robbins, along with USF offensive lineman Benjamin Knox, was arrested following an on-campus incident in which it was alleged they fired celebratory gunshots from the same weapon after a win over Syracuse.  Robbins was charged with discharging a weapon on school property, a second-degree felony, and a misdemeanor for providing false information to a law-enforcement officer, and was indefinitely suspended from the football program.

Robbins remained suspended through the final two months of the season and on into the offseason, although that changed recently as Taggart confirmed over the weekend that the defensive back is out of the doghouse and back with the team for spring practice.

He’s back on the team,” Taggart said. “He’s like all the other guys. He handled his business. He took care of his consequences. He learned from his mistakes and now he’s out there with the rest of the guys, trying to win a job.”

And, on his first day back, Robbins stated his case for said job.

Robbins had played in four games in 2015 prior to his legal entanglement. In 2014, he started five of the last six games at cornerback for the Bulls.

The other half of the Bonnie & Clod duo, Knox, has since left the program and transferred to a Kansas junior college.

USF’s Daniel Awoleke gets sixth season from NCAA

Daniel Awoleke
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One of the feel-good stories of the USF football program will continue on to another, final collegiate chapter.

The Bulls announced Saturday that Daniel Awoleke has been awarded a sixth season of eligibility and will play for Willie Taggart‘s squad in 2016. While the reasons behind the waiver are complicated, the fact that Awoleke will return is a boost for USF’s defensive line.

“He filled out a waiver with the NCAA and he found out (Friday) that he can come back, and it’s great news for all of us. We’re really excited,” Taggart said according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“I know he was excited, but it was great to see how excited his teammates were, knowing that they’re gonna have another year with him around here, running around on special teams and hitting people really hard, and then helping out on the defensive line.”

Shortly before the start of the 2015 season, the one-time walk-on Awoleke was rewarded with a scholarship. The end proceeded to go on to play in all 13 games that season and record four tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.  At 6-5, 283 pounds, he was also named the team’s Special Teams Most Valuable Player.