Darnell Salomon

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Report: Charlie Strong expected to dismiss 11 suspended players, part ways with four assistant coaches

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Not that it ever really was in doubt, but the strict rules that Charlie Strong carried with him at Louisville and then Texas has followed him to USF.

Following Thursday’s Gasparilla Bowl loss to Marshall, Strong was quoted as stating that “we’re going to clean up this whole program. A lot of guys will be leaving. We need a good washing.” That cleansing has apparently commenced in earnest as the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that a whopping 11 Bulls football players are expected to be dismissed from the football program.

Three wide receivers — Darnell Salomon, DeVontres Dukes, Deangelo Antoine — three defensive linemen — Brandon Boyce, Armon Williams, Marquies Price — two running backs — Elijah Mack, Duran Bell Jr. — two defensive backs — Donelle ThomasNaytron Culpepper — as well as offensive lineman Jeremiah Stafford are expected to be on the receiving end of Strong’s boot at some point. At the moment, all 11 have been indefinitely suspended by the football program.

Other than unspecified violations of team rules, no reasons for the punitive measures have been divulged.

For those unfamiliar, Strong’s has a list if “Five Core Values” he utilizes in his approach to building a football program and, most importantly, turning players into men.

  1. Honesty
  2. Treat Women With Respect
  3. No Drugs
  4. No Stealing
  5. No Guns

Strong came under fire from some around the Texas program in 2014 for dismissing nine players over an eight-month period as he attempted to change the culture in Austin. His emphasis on drug testing played a role in at least one, if not more, of those dismissals.

Bell, a redshirt freshman, finished fourth on the Bulls with 148 yards on the ground this season, while the sophomore Mack totaled 49.  The junior Salomon led the team in receiving touchdowns with four, while his 25 receptions and 440 yards were good for fourth.  A sophomore, Dukes had one catch for 12 yards this season.

Boyce, a redshirt junior, played in five games this season and a total of 26 in his career thus far — he had three tackles for loss in those limited appearances — while Price, a senior, played in two games in 2018 and 23 total.  Williams was a true freshman in 2018 who didn’t record any stats.

The sophomore Thomas appeared in eight games in 2017 but none this season.  Culpepper started two of the 10 games in which he played as a freshman in 2017, but made just three appearances in 2018.

The redshirt freshman Stafford did not appear in any games this season.

In addition to the players, the Times writes, “Additionally, as many as four Bulls assistant coaches are expected to be dismissed, a source indicated Saturday.” The names of those coaches were not revealed in the report.

After starting the 2018 season 7-0, USF lost its last six games of the year.  The Bulls became the first-ever program to pull off that ignominious feat.