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NCAA Football Team History
- South Florida Bulls - History

Alma Mater
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater
May thy name be told
Where above thy gleaming splendor,
Waves the green and gold.
Thou our guide in quest for knowledge
Where we all are free,
University of South Florida,
Alma Mater, Hail to thee!
Be our guide to truth and wisdom,
As we onward go.
May thy glory, fame, and honor
Never cease to grow.
May our thoughts and prayers be with thee
Through eternity
University of South Florida,
Alma Mater Hail to thee!

USF Fight Song
USF Bulls are we,
We hold our standard upright and free.
For Green and Gold we stand united.
Our beacon lighted and noble to see.
USF Bulls are we,
For USF will always be.
With all our might we fight the battle
here and now, and we will win the
(shout!) S-O-U-T-H F-L-O-R-I-D-A
South Florida, South Florida
Go Bulls!
USF Bulls are we,
We hold our standard upright and free.
For Green and Gold we stand united.
Our beacon lighted and noble to see.
USF Bulls are we,
For USF will always be.
With all our might we fight the battle
here and now, and we will win the victory…

USF Bulls & The NFL

Sunday April 22 to open Day 2 of the 2001 Draft and gave the entire “NFL Nation” a quick study in just how far the University of South Florida football program had progressed since its start-up in 1996.

Just after 11 a.m., Gene Washington announced that the New England Patriots had
traded to acquire the first pick of the fourth round, and with that pick, the Patriots
made USF offensive tackle Kenyatta Jones the answer to what will remain among
the top trivia questions in USF history. The Patriots made Jones the first NFL draft
choice ever from USF.

But Washington wasn’t done with the study in USF success. He quickly stepped
back to the podium and announced, “with the second pick of the fourth round, the
Cleveland Browns select defensive back Anthony Henry, also from the University of
South Florida.”

Soon after Henry’s selection, even Washington was wondering about this South
Florida program. When he took to the podium to announce the third pick of the
fourth round, he seemed almost mystified when he announced, “this must be some kind of record...

“With the third pick of the fourth round, the Arizona Cardinals select placekicker
Bill Gramatica, from the University of South Florida.”

One, two, official run on USF Bulls in the NFL Draft. Watching the television in his Tampa home, USF head coach Jim Leavitt literally ran circles through the house in sheer excitement. “I’m going crazy,” Leavitt admitted seconds after Gramatica was selected. “I just can’t stand it. I’m so excited. I’m so excited.” Within the three days following the 2001 draft, four more USF players - long snapper Ryan Benjamin, defensive back Glenn Davis, defensive end Shawn Hay and receiver Scott McCready - signed NFL free agent contracts. And 1999 USF alum Tony Umholtz, a punter, also signed a 2001 free agent contract.

For Jones, Henry and Gramatica, the three draftees in 2001, success did not end
on Draft Day. Jones - and McCready, a developmental roster player with the Patriots - each won Super Bowl XXXVI ring with New England’s upset victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Ryan Benjamin, a long snapper who signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers in 2002, would give the Bulls yet another Super Bowl champ.

Henry was Cleveland’s nickel back and tied with Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ronde
Barber to lead the entire NFL with 10 interceptions. And prior to a midseason knee injury, Gramatica had won the placekicking job at Arizona.

For Leavitt, his staff and the players who have come through his program since
1996, the excitement of the NFL Draft and the ensuing free agent signings was yet
another sign of what’s on the horizon for the burgeoning USF program.
Perhaps Hay, who along with Benjamin and Joey Sipp, was one of just three
Bulls to play in each of the 44 games through the program’s first four years sums
up the progress best.

“This just shows how far USF has come,” he said upon signing with the San
Francisco 49ers in 2001 before playing in NFL Europe in 2002. “This has opened
some eyes and put us on the map.

“Just think, (in 1997) we were nervous to be playing against Kentucky Wesleyan
(in the program’s first-ever game). Now we’re at this point. It’s mind boggling.”
In 2003, minds had more to digest as three more USF players - Kawika Mitchell
(Kansas City Chiefs), Shurron Pierson (Oakland Raiders) and DeAndrew Rubin
(Green Bay Packers) - were drafted. Mitchell, a linebakcer, was taken in the second
round, making him the highest-ever draft choice from USF.

The trio was joined by free agent signees Marquel Blackwell (New York Jets),
Hugh Smith (Baltimore Ravens) and Maurice Tucker (Cincinnati Bengals).



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