Trip down memory lane: Looking back at the 2005 USF recruiting class

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Football

The 2005 recruiting class included this guy, not sure who he is though…

I enrolled at USF in 2005, the first year the Bulls made it to a bowl game and their first season in the Big East where they finished 6-6 (4-3), losing 0 to 14 to NC State in the Meinke Car Care Bowl.  The bowl game was a first for the program, it was also the 100th game in program history.  This group laid the foundation for the next four years for the Bulls.

1. R.J. Anderson – 5-11 165-pounds – Defensive Back – Seffner, FL (Armwood HS)

Anderson, a 3-star recruit at the time (rated by Rivals.com), had the potential to be a solid player for the Bulls, but he never came to campus.  He decided to go with baseball instead heading to the the Texas Rangers in the 9th round of the MLB draft that year.  Anderson took a signing bonus and began his MLB career, but after just a handful of seasons, he was released by the Rangers.  It is not often that a football recruit is signed by the MLB in the draft, but it happened to the Bulls as they lost out on a very fast and athletic defensive back.

2. Mike Benzer – 5-8 185-pounds – Kicker – Longwood, FL (Lyman HS)

Benzer, rated a 2-star recruiting in 2005, was to be the next kicker for the Bulls, replacing Santiago Gramatica after he graduated, but it was not to be for him.  Coming out of the spring in 2005, Benzer beat out Kyle Bronson for the job, but after going 0 for 3 in field goal attempts and 2 for 3 in the extra point attempts, Bronson took over the job.  Benzer returned in 2006 looking to reclaim the job, but once again he struggled, going 2 for 6 in field goal attempts and 21 out of 22 in extra point attempts.  A new kicker by the name of Delbert Alvarado took over the kicking duties and it spelled the end of Benzer.

3.  Ben Busbee – 6-3 244-pounds – Tight End – Mobile, AL (McGill Toolen HS)

Busbee, rated 2-stars coming out of high school, had a long and productive career at USF.  After redshirting in 2005, Busbee appeared in 10 games in 2006, playing as a reserve behind Will Bleakley.  He dealt with a shoulder issue most of the season but made one huge reception (his only one of the year) against WVU for 14 yards that set up the winning drive for the Bulls in that historic win.  In 2007, once again a reserve behind this time starter Cedric Hill, Busbee appeared in 13 games, starting 4 of them.   He recorded just 3 receptions for 18 yards, being primarily a run blocker for the Bulls.  We have to remember during the Leavitt days, the tight end position was nothing more than another offensive lineman in the running games, so the reception numbers and times the team actually threw to the tight ends was microscopic.  In 2008, Busbee appeared in all 13 games, starting 4 of them as he totaled 7 receptions for 99 yards, including 2 touchdowns, 1 coming against ECU in the Magic Jack Bowl over in St. Pete.  In his final season in 2009, he made 5 starts (appeared in all 13 games) recording 5 passes for 81 yards (Leavitt’s final year as well).  Over his career, Busbee played in 49 games, ranking him among the most in USF history.  He was always a hard worker and made a few highlight plays during his career.

4. Gene Coleman – 6-0 245-pounds – Linebacker – Pearl River, Mississippi (Pearl River C.C.)

Rated 2-stars coming out community college, Coleman never enrolled at USF.  Coleman had a few legal issues and then ran into academic issues at Pearl River C.C. that stopped him from ever making it to Tampa.

5. Antwane Cox – 5-11 180-pounds – Cornerback – Miami, FL (Killian HS)

Cox, rated 2-stars, redshirted in 2005 after enrolling on campus. After not appearing in any games in 2006, Cox decided he would transfer to Bethune Cookman College over in Daytona, never recording a stat for the Bulls in his brief career.

6. Chris DeArmas – 6-4 275-pounds – Offensive lineman – Miami, FL (Southwest HS)

Another 2-star recruit from South Beach area, DeArmas never qualified for USF and went to junior college instead.

7. Ishmeal Grant – 6-1 171-pounds – Wide Receiver – Blountstown, FL (Blountstown HS)

A 2-star recruited coming out of high school, Grant went the JUCO route in his first season.  After that, Grant was involved in a car accident in 2007 that set him back, but he was determined to get to USF but after interest in him in 2009 went cold, Grant went upon his own way.

8. Matt Grothe – 6-1 190-pounds – Quarterback – Lakeland, FL (Lake Gibson HS)

Does he really need an introduction?  The former 3-star recruit shattered records, rewrote history, and elevated the football program to new heights when he took over and has become a legendary player for the Bulls.  In 2005, Grothe redshirted, but turned heads as the scout team quarterback and even was considered to move to the defensive side of the ball, good thing that didn’t happen.  In 2006, then starting quarterback Pat Julmiste went down early in the season with a knee injury, allowing Grothe to take over and he would not give the job back. Grothe started the next 12 games, completing 202 passes out of 317 attempts (63%) for 2576 yards (passing Marquel Blackwell’s freshman record for passing yards), 15 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and he carried the ball 178 times for 622 yards and 9 touchdowns.  During 2006, Grothe was named Big East freshman of year as he led the team to a historic win over North Carolina and WVU and to the first bowl victory in program history, beating ECU (funny huh).  After a huge freshman campaign, Grothe would lead the team again to new heights in 2007, arguably one of the best years in program history.  Grothe completed 232 passes out of 392 attempts for 2670 yards including 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.  He also ran the ball 198 times for 872 yards and 10 touchdowns, leading the team to the victory over Auburn on the road and helped the Bulls reach a ranking of number two at one point in the season (the bowl game wasn’t so pretty though.  Oregon took it to us that year).  In 2008, Grothe once again put up big numbers as he completed 240 passes out of 350 attempts for 2911 yards, including 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.  He also carried the ball for 146 times for 591 yards and 4 touchdowns as he helped the Bulls win their second bowl game, this time beating Memphis.  The 2009, his senior campaign, was to be a big year for Grothe, but in the 4th game, his career was over as he tore his ACL and was out for the season.  Before the injury, Grothe had completed 43 passes out of 59 attempts for 512 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and had carried the ball 23 times for 121 yards, showing he was ready for another record setting season. Despite missing the rest of 2009, Grothe became the all time career total yardage leader in Big East history and had taken the Bulls to national attention during his career.  With the bowl wins, rankings, and upsets over major ranked opponents, Grothe raised the program to a new level and a level we are still enjoying today.  If numbers are ever retired, number 8 will be one of them.

9. Jessie Hester Jr. – 6-1 163-pounds – Wide Receiver – Wellington, FL (Glades Central HS)

The 3-star prospect is probably one of my favorite players of all time for the Bulls.  In 2005, Hester appeared in 4 games, making 1 start, where he caught 3 passes for 37 yards.  After taking a redshirt in 2006, Hester returned in 2007 making 3 starts and appearing in all 13 games where he caught 35 passes for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Hester built upon that season, making 4 starts in 2008 and totaled 54 receptions for 579 yards and 3 touchdowns.  In 2009, Hester was slowed due to injuries, but caught 15 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown, moving into 4th place all time in career receptions in program history.  Hester was never the fastest and never became a dominating force on the field, but it seemed every time the team need a catch on a big play, Hester came up with it.  He was never afraid to come across the middle of the field and came through in the biggest moments for the team.

10. Carlton Hill – 6-3 202-pounds – Athlete – Monticello, FL (Jefferson County HS)

What could have been.  Hill, a 4-star recruit, and the highest rated player in the 2005 class, never turned into what everyone thought he could be for the Bulls.  In 2005, he caught 3 passes for 19 yards as a receiver before moving to quarterback where he completed 11 passes out of 24 attempts for 135 yards and 2 interceptions.  He also carried the ball 28 times for 139 yards and a touchdown, showing his raw athletic tools, but this was the last year he would suit up for USF.  In 2006, Hill transferred to Pearl River C.C. and sat out 2007 when he attempted to return to USF due to academics.  In 2008, he transferred to Miles College and would never return to USF.  Hill was a gifted athlete and could have been a star with the Bulls, but issues came and we never got to see what he was all about.

11. Amarri Jackson – 6-4 190-pounds – Wide Receiver – Sarasota, FL (Hillsborough Community College)

The tall, slender 2-star prospect out of HCC put up some big numbers for the Bulls.  In 2005, he caught 22 passes for 242 yards and also threw a touchdown pass.  His biggest moments from that season where his 7 carries for 90 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2 of which came against Louisville in the big upset win over the Cardinals.  In 2006, Jackson was one of the primary targets for Grothe, catching 26 passes for 393 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He was also 2 for 3 passing for 56 yards and ran the ball 18 times for 54 yards, being a key player on trick plays for the offense.  In 2007, his final year, he caught 22 passes for 256 yars and 2 touchdowns.  Jackson continues to play.  After two attempts with the Tampa Bay Bucs, he headed to the arena league where he plays with the Tampa Bay Storm.

12. Taurus Johnson – 6-0 185-pounds – Wide Receiver – Cape Coral, FL (Cape Coral HS)

By name alone, he was destined to be a Bull.  Johnson, a 3-star prospect, joined the Bulls in 2005 and became a consistent threat in both receiving and kick returns.  In his freshman season, he caught 3 passes for 35 yards and rushed for 7 yards, seeing the field early.  In 2006, Johnson caught 37 passes for 494 yards and 2 touchdowns, becoming a bigger part of the offense.  He also ran 5 times for 55 yards and scored 3 touchdowns and turned heads with 14 kick returns for 316 yards, showcasing his speed.  In 2007, he caught 34 passes for 407 yards and 4 touchdowns and also returned 13 kicks for 236 yards.  In 2008, his final season, he caught 38 passes for 498 yards and 6 touchdowns and returned 12 kicks for 232 yards, capping a long and productive collegiate career. Since then, Johnson has bounced around several pro teams.  In 2009, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs, but was cut in the final round of roster trimming.  He has spent time with the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, the Hartford Colonials of the UFL, the Washington Redskins and most recently the San Jose Sabercats, but he doesn’t appear on the roster on their website, so it will be interesting to see if he continues his football career somewhere.

13. Shane McElwain – 6-4 253-pounds – Tight End – Palm Beach, FL (Central HS)

Rated a 2-star prospect, McElwain moved over to the defensive line after redshirting in 2005 to help add depth to the front of the Bulls defense.  After not recording a stat in 2006, he appeared in 2007 in 5 games and recorded 2 tackles and then was once again low on the depth chart in 2008, not recording a stat to end his career as a Bull.

14. Jerome Murphy – 6-0 175-pounds – Cornerback – Elizabeth, NJ (Elizabeth HS)

Rated 2-stars, Murphy became a very productive corner over his career with the Bulls.  After redshirting in 2005, Murphy emerged as a solid reserve player in 2006, totaling 20 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.  In 2007, he gained more playing time and continued to produce, totaling 37 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 tackles for loss, 5 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles and also returned 23 kicks for 560 yards on special teams.  In 2008, Murphy took over as a starter and the numbers got even better as he recorded 67 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss (.5 sack), 2 interceptions and 5 passes defended, helping anchor the secondary.  in 2009, his senior season, Murphy continued to pile up the stats, recording 77 tackles (.5 tackle for loss), 4 interceptions, 8 pass break ups, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.  After that, Murphy was drafted in the third round by the St. Louis Rams where in his rookie season, he recorded 30 tackles, 1 interception, 3 pass break ups, and forced one fumble, coming on late in his first year as a pro.  Last season, Murphy injured his ankle in the spring and was forced to miss the entire 2011 season.

15. Moise Plancher – 5-9 175-pounds – Running back – Naples, FL (Barron Collier HS)

The 2-star running back battled injuries throughout his career, but remained a consistent force in the backfield for the Bulls.  In his first season, he redshirted, but took the field in 2006 where he appeared in just 1 game, rushing 4 times for 26 yards before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the season.  Plancher recovered and returned in 2007 and appeared in 6 games rushing 10 times for 17 yards as he continued to recover and deal with nagging injuries.  In 2008, healthy, Plancher carried the rock 69 times for 322 yards and 6 touchdowns as he made 3 starts in 11 games.  In 2009, he became a major factor in the rushing game, carrying the ball 129 times for 581 yards and 5 touchdowns, he also caught 6 passes for 37 yards.  In 2010, he carried the ball for 176 times for 793 yards and scored 5 touchdowns (caught 15 passes for 99 yards as well).  Plancher carried the ball 388 times during his career, which ranks 5th all time for the Bulls.  He dealt with injuries, but always returned and became a stable force in the backfield for the Bulls.

16. Tyller Roberts – 6-1 190-pounds – Cornerback – Orlando, FL (Edgewater HS)

Roberts, a 3-star prospect, had a solid career for the Bulls.  In 2005, he appeared as a reserve, totaling 9 tackles and 4 passes defended.  In 2006, he made 25 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, and defended 5 passes as he saw his playing time increase.  In 2007, he made 14 tackle and defended 4 passes, once again, being a reserve and seeing his playing time limited.  In 2008, he made 30 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble and defended 6 passes.  He was a consistent force off the bench for the Bulls and helped add depth to the secondary and made plays when given the chance.

17. Chris Robinson – 6-4 230-pounds – Defensive back – Bunnell, FL (Flager HS)

The 2-star recruit moved to linebacker when he came to USF.  After redshirting his first season, he appeared in 13 games in 2006, totaling 28 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 2 pass break-ups, and 4 fumble recoveries.  The next season, he appeared in 11 games, but battled a lot of juries, totaling just 9 tackles in reduced playing time.  In 2008, splitting time at defensive end as well, he totaled 16 tackles and 1 tackle for loss as his health returned.  In his final season, he made 10 starts, totaling 55 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks to end his playing career in Tampa.

18. George Selvie – 6-4 230-pounds – Offensive lineman – Pensacola, FL (Pine Forest HS)

Rated a 2-star recruit coming out of high school, Selvie moved to defensive end and became arguably the greatest Bull in program history.  After redshirting and hitting the weights hard in 2005, Selvie burst onto the scene as a freshman, totaling 83 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 9 QBH, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries and was named freshman All American after a huge season.  In 2007, Selvie continued to rewrite the record books at USF.  He totaled 59 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss (video game numbers there), 14.5 sacks, 13 QBH, and forced 3 fumbles, being named 1st team All American and the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East.  Selvie simply out ran, out worked, and beat every tackle off the line and with his speed and range, was able to take down anyone in the backfield.  In 2008, his numbers began to drop off a bit as teams began double teaming Selvie on every snap.  He had 43 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 3 QBH, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.  He was named All American again, the first and only back to back All American selection in USF history.  In his final season, Selvie totaled 42 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 7 QBHs, ending his career as one of the most distinguished pass rushers in program history.  Selvie was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

19. Donte Spires – 6-3 240-pounds – Linebacker – Tampa, FL (Plant HS)

Spires, the 2-star linebacker out of Plant, had a long journey to reach USF.  Out of high school, he went to Pearl River C.C. for 2 seasons before transferring to USF in 2007.  During that season, he recorded 16 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 1 sacks while appearing in 12 games for the Bulls.  After a promising 2007, things turned bad for Spires as he dealt with a death in the family and was forced to leave USF and begin working a job to help support his family.  After helping his family, Spires was able to return to the team in 2010, appeared in 13 games and totaling 9 tackles.  He was rewarded a scholarship that season and became a great senior leader and role model for the younger players on the team.

20.  Danny Tolley – 6-5 301-pounds – Offensive lineman – Wesley Chapel, FL (Wesley Chapel HS)

A 2-star recruit, Tolley played mostly as a reserve during his career with the Bulls.  After redshirting in 2005, he appeared in 11 games in 2006, making 1 start.  He was pushed back on the depth chart in 2007 and left the program after the season.

21. Rick Watson – 6-5 280-pounds – Tight End – Senatsbia, Miss

Watson, a 3-star recruit, never made it to USF and enrolled at Northwest Mississippi C.C.

A name that was not a recruit, but a transfer is Ean Randolph.

He was part of the 2006 team, but did enroll in 2005.

22. Ean Randolph – 5’9″ 175 lbs. – Wide receiver – Plant City, FL (Durant HS)

Randolph, a transfer from Weber International, was part of the team in 2005, but did not appear in any games.  He made all of his action in 2006, when he led the team with 49 catches for 506 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He also returned 25 punts for 370 yards and a touchdown (4 kick returns for 75 yards as well).

So how about that for the 2005 recruiting class?  Anyone remember these names, have fond memories of that first year in the Big East, or have more to add to a player that left the team, share and discuss!

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