The season started as a farewell campaign for Pat Julmiste, but before the first game was over the coming-out party had started for Matt Grothe. Grothe took over midway through the McNeese game after Julmiste suffered a thigh injury and never looked back. He threw for over 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns. Grothe surprised the Big East not only with his arm, also his legs. Deceptively fast Matt rushed for 622 yards. To put it in perspective it was 200 yards more than any back rushed for and it was just under the combined total of Ben Williams and Ricky Ponton. His 24 total touchdowns also led USF to the Papajohns.com bowl where they recorded their first bowl victory in team history. Grothe broke USF's single-game record for passing with 364 yards in a 27-10 victory over Syracuse, and also set a new USF's single-season record for passing by a Freshman, breaking Marquel Blackwell's record of 1620 set in 1999. For his efforts in 2006 Grothe was named the Big East Conference Rookie of the Year, and Grothe was also named Scout.com Freshman All-American (2nd Team).
Grothe cleaned up the hardware at USF's senior banquet.
Matt Grothe, Grant Gregory and Anthony Severino are the returning players from last year. Only Pat Julmiste will be moving on. Although Pat didn't see much action his senior year he was still a key piece in South Florida's success last year. Julmiste did a good job of passing on his leadership skills to both Grothe and Gregory. Spring Practice could be interesting because neither Gregory nor Grothe will be 100% healthy at the open of camp. Neither has a serious injury, but both have been rehabbing since the end of the season. Another note is that neither Gregory nor Severino has completed a pass for USF in a game situation. After Gregory sat out his transfer year in ‘05, and a brief switch to safety, he switched back to QB but battled turf toe last year and only played in two games. Severino is listed as playing in 17 games since 2003 but with no stats to speak of. However, in 2004 he was awarded the Golden bull Award for his efforts on the scout team, and earned USF's Scholar Athlete Award in 2006.
The lone quarterback signing in this year's class was Alton Voss from Gulf High School. At 6-foot-2.5 and 218 pounds Voss has the potential to be a great quarterback at USF. He has a rocket arm and is able to get out of the pocket, making plays on the run. Voss is also a ferocious hitter on defense. The only thing stopping him from being a great QB may be his skills at safety. There is a chance he could be moved to the defensive backfield if the situation is right. This probably wouldn't happen until his sophomore year, look for Voss to stay behind center for at least one complete season.
Voss throwing at USF's senior showcase camp.
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