The seniors are suiting up for the last time as they take the field in front of the home crowd at Raymond James Stadium. This group of seniors has gone through a lot for this program. They have seen the worst days and now have seen things turn around as the team has become bowl eligible. Let’s salute this senior group as they leaving a lasting legacy for the program.
#93 Daniel Awoleke – 6’5″ 283 lbs. – Defensive end – Lakeland, FL (George Jenkins HS)
Awoleke has played in 10 games in 2015, recording 14 tackles with 4 tackles for loss including 2 sacks. In his career, he was named 13 All Academic AAC team and has been a veteran leader for the front defensive line.
#2 Steven Bench – 6’2″ 215 lbs. – Quarterback – Bainbridge, GA (Cairo HS) (Penn State)
Bench joined the bulls back in 2013 after originally playing at Penn State to start his collegiate career. in 2013, he started 2 games (7 overall) and has 26 for 64 for 392 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. In 2014, he started 1 game and 6 overall. he was 49 for 100 for 611 yards including 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and had 1 rushing touchdowns. This year he has appeared in 4 games, going 9 for 15 for 144 yards with a touchdown and one interception. He also has 5 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown. He has started, come in during tough games, and has been a solid veteran for this offense.
#52 Zack Bullock – 6’3″ 245 lbs. – Linebacker, – Sebring, FL (Sebring HS)
This year, Bullock has played in 10 games, recording 23 tackles with 6 TFL (1 sack) and 2 PBUs. In 2014 he started 1 game in 8 games, recording 4 tackles, playing at linebacker and special teams. In 2013 he played in 11 games, recording 6 tackles, mostly on special teams. In 2012 he played in 9 games and had 7 tackles with a half tackle for a loss.
#2 Jamie Byrd – 5’11” 185 lbs. – Defensive back – Dade City, FL (Pasco HS) (Iowa Western CC)
After spending a year at TCU, Byrd went to Iowa Western CC where he was named 1st team All NJCAA before coming to USF in 2014. He started all 12 games that year, recording 95 tackles with 2.5 TFL, 2 interceptions, 3 PBUs, and forced one fumble, and was named team defensive MVP (Angry Byrd was born). This year, he has started 10 games, recording 74 tackles with 11 TFL (5 sacks), 2 interceptions, 3 PBUs, and forced 3 fumbles, becoming a big time hitter and finisher for the USF secondary. In just a short time he has left a lasting legacy for this program.
#49 Mattias Ciabatti – 6′ 200 lbs. – Punter – Tampa, FL (Hillsborough HS)
In 2013 (named All Academic team AAC in 2013 and All Academic team Big East in 2012), he took over as the starting punter, punting 73 times, averaging 40.2 yards per kick, and hitting a long of 68 yards. He had 14 punts over 50 yards and 20 landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. In 2014, he was named 1st team All AAC after recording 65 punts, averaging 44.4 yards per punt and hit a long of 62 yards. He hit 18 punts over 50 yards and landed 22 inside the 20-yard line. This year, he has 53 punts, averaging 43.3 yards per punt and has a long punt of 68 yards. He has hit 15 punts over 50 yards and has 18 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
#71 Mak Djulbegovic – 6’5″ 296 lbs. – Offensive lineman – Tampa, Carrollwood Day School)
Djulbegovic started playing back in 2012 after redshirting in 2011. He in 2013, he started 2 games at right tackles and played in 10 games overall. He as also named AAC All Academic team that year as well (was all academic Big East back in 2012 as well). In 2014, he played in 10 games, both at right tackle and on special teams. This year he has started all 10 games at right tackle and has helped anchor the trenches for the Bulls.
#29 CJ Garye – 6’3″ 231 lbs. – Linebacker – Tallahassee, FL (Lincoln HS)
Garye joined the Bulls in 2011 as a safety and redshirted in his first year. In 2012, he played in 9 games, mostly on special teams. In 2013, he played in 2 games. In 2014, he played in 10 games, both on special teams and at linebacker after moving to the new position. He recorded 6 tackles with 1 TFL that year. This season, he has played in 7 games, again at linebacker and special teams, and has recorded 8 tackles on the year.
#66 Brynjar Gudmundsson – 6’4″ 300 lbs. – Wellington, FL (Wellington HS)
Gudmundsson joined the Bulls back in 2011 and played in 9 games including 1 start in 2012. He started 12 games in 2013 and became a versatile starter in 2014. He started 9 games at right tackle, 2 games at right guard, and 1 game at left guard. This year he has started all 10 games at center and has become a solid anchor in the middle of the rebuilt offensive line for the Bulls.
#42 Corian Hamilton – 6′ 238 lbs. – Fullback – Orlando, FL (Olympia HS)
Hamilton joined the Bulls in 2011 (redshirt year) and played in 1 game in 2012. In 2013, he played in 11 games, mostly on special teams. In 2014, he played in 7 games, again on special teams and moved over to offense as a fullback. This year he has played in 8 games (mostly special teams as the spread offense has done away with the traditional fullback) and has recorded 1 tackle.
#90 James Hamilton – 6’2″ 308 lbs. – Defensive tackle – Orlando, FL (Olympia HS)
Hamilton joined the bulls in 2011 and played in 11 games in 2012, recording 12 tackles, 1 TFL, and recovered 1 fumble. In 2014, he played in 10 games, recording 5 tackles with 1 TFL. He has seen increased playing time this year over the 10 games, recording 26 tackles with 7 TFL (3 sacks) and has 1 fumble recovery. He has stepped up in his final year and has helped provide depth and skill on the defensive line.
#9 Demetrius Hill – 6’3″ 270 lbs. – Defensive end – Kankakee, IL (Kankakee HS) (Fort Scott CC)
Hill joined the Bulls in 2014 out of the junior college ranks and played in 11 games, recording 25 tackles, 5 TFL (2 sacks), 1 PBU, and recovered 2 fumbles. This year he has played in all 10 games, recording 19 tackles, 8 TFL (3 sacks) and 1 fumble recovery, becoming a key player on the defensive line rotation.
#40 Michael Hill – 5’9″ 170 lbs. – Kicker – Tarpon Springs, FL (Tarpon Springs HS)
Hill joined the Bulls after spending one year at Oklahoma as a walk-on. This has been his first collegiate action in 2015 after competing the past few years for the kicking job. This season he has kicked off 37 times, averaging 55.7 yards per kick and landing 2 for touchbacks.
#64 Thor Jozwiak – 6’4″ 318 lbs. – Offensive lineman – Eagle Lake, FL (Lake Region HS)
What a name, right? Thor joined the Bulls in 2011 and started 5 games (played in 9 overall) in 2012. In 2013 he was forced to miss the season due to a heart condition, but returned in 2014 to start 8 games (missed time due to a shoulder injury). He has started all 10 games this year at left guard and has been the veteran leader up from, both vocally but even more so with his play in the trenches.
#91 Eric Lee – 6’3″ 260 lbs. – Defensive end – Daphne, AL (Daphne HS)
Lee started 5 games in 2012 (11 overall) and recorded 17 tackles with 1.5 TFL. After playing in 11 games in 2013, he started 12 games in 2014 and recorded 28 tackles with 6 TFL. This year, he has started 10 games, recording a career high 36 tackles, 8 TFL (2 sacks), 2 PBU, and has forced one fumble. Lee has matured and is now one of the top pass rushers on this roster.
#65 Clavion Nelson – 6’3″ 308 lbs. – Defensive lineman – Hollywood, FL (South Broward HS)
In 2011, Nelson redshirted and played in 5 games the following year, recording 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 PBU. He played in 1 game in 2013 and moved to the offensive line in 2014 but went back to defense this year. He has played in 7 games this year as a reserve.
#11 Marlon Pope – 6’4″ 260 lbs. – Tight end – Hattiesburg, MS (Hattiesburg HS) (Miss. Gulf Coast CC)
Pope joined the Bulls in 2014, played in 9 games and catching 1 pass for 10 yards, but was used mostly as an extra blocker on the front line. This year (10 games) he has 2 catches for 42 yards as he continues to be used as a primary blocker up front on the offensive line.
#12 Sean Price – 6’3″ 252 lbs. – Tight end – Citra, FL (North Marion HS)
Price has put up some historic numbers during his career with the Bulls, playing in 44 career games entering this game. Overall throughout his career he has 71 career receptions, totaling 818 yards an 2 touchdowns. He holds the program record for most receptions by a tight end in USF history and has the most receiving yards ever for a tight end in program history. He has been a great talent throughout his career.
#33 Tye Turner – 6’3″ 255 lbs. – Fullback – Hampton, GA (Griffin HS)
Turner joined the Bulls in 2011 and appeared in 2 games. In 2013 he played in 3 games and started one but missed the rest of the year due to a neck injury. In 2014, he played in 4 games at tight end and caught 1 pass for 10 yards, but used more as a blocker. In 2015 he has played in 10 games (1 start) and has given returned kick off for 17 yards. Throughout his career he has been a valuable blocker for the Bulls out of the backfield.
#51 Tashon Whitehurst – 6’3″ 220 lbs. – Linebacker – Gainesville, FL (Gainesville HS)
Whitehurst joined USF in 2012, starting 1 game (10 overall) and had 15 tackles with 1 sack and a fumble recovery. After 10 games in 2013 with just 6 tackles, he emerged in 2014 and started 4 games (12 overall) and had 49 tackles with 5 TFL (2 sacks), 1 PBU and recovered another fumble. This year, he has played in 8 games (1 start, suspended for the first two games of the year) and has 32 tackles with 2 TFL (1.5 sacks).
Let’s take a second to really thank these seniors. Football has been rough for years and there hasn’t been a lot to celebrate. But here we are, bowl eligible and will at least finish over .500 for the first time in about a million years. These seniors have worked day and night to turn this thing around and in 2015, they have done it. There hard work, all their sacrifices, have paid off. Their work has helped finally turn this thing around. We as fans need to thank them more than most senior groups.