T.J. Mutcherson, Freedom's two-way speedster was all set to be a member of the 2010 recruiting class and was set to go to UNC, but ran into an academic snag which derailed the process.
"Yes sir I was set to go there, but then I got sidetracked with my grades, and that changed the whole recruiting process, and I wasn't able to sign with anyone" said Mutcherson. "I had to raise my core GPA and had to take all these make-up classes and get a higher score on my ACT."
As a back-up plan Mutcherson was set up with Ellsworth Community College, but only as a back-up plan as he worked to get eligible to get into a 4-year program.
"I've worked my tail off to get to this point," said T.J. "I did all the online classes while keeping up with my regular classes, and my exams. So it's been a tough road for me, but you learn from your mistakes and get stronger from it."
Mutcherson said he raised his GPA to where it needs to be and got the needed 18 on the ACT, but has to wait for his official transcripts, but still has a little farther to go to be fully eligible.
"I need one more language credit so I'm taking an online Spanish course right now," said T.J. "I should be done by the end of this month."
Now that he's back on track Mutcherson several schools were interested, but he is focused on one program.
"I've been talking to USF lately and I'm trying to get into school now, but I won't know anything until about a week or so," said Mutcherson. "They were talking about gray shirting me, but I've been talking to Coach Skip Holtz and he's trying to get me in early, but it's going to be hard because I have to go through the academic committee and it's late in the process."
"It's probably a 50/50 chance right now, they were talking about a gray shirt but then they were saying how they need guys this year, and that I'd get some playing time if I could enroll this summer."
As of now it appears more likely that he'd be heading for a gray shirt, but either way his focus remains the same/
"USF is the main school that I'm trying to get into, whether I red shirt, gray shirt or whatever," said Mutcherson. "I want to be a Bull!"
Back during the recruiting process T.J. was offered by former USF DB Coach Troy Douglas at UNC, but always had a spot in his heart for the hometown Bulls.
"I'm a Tampa boy and I sort of wanted to stay here and go to USF," said Mutcherson. "They wanted to offer me back then, but wouldn't until I got my grades and score up."
"I go up to USF practices and workouts almost every day. Just so can get to know the new coaching staff, and like them all, they're great coaches and great guys," said T.J. "Coach Smith seems like a great guy and a great coach and is looking for guys that want to get to the next level. He knows a lot about football."
The 5-foot-11 and 185-pound athlete claims possesses 4.5 speed, a 36 inch vertical and has strength to go with it, saying he squats 535, and can put up 225 11 times with a 290 max bench. While at Freedom Mutcherson lined up at receiver, safety and also returned kicks this season for Freedom. On offense he had 28 receptions for 658 yards and 4 touchdowns, and 34 tackles, 1 interception and five pass deflections on defense. He was also an ace on special teams returning three kicks for touchdowns and a 36.4 average.
"I'll play anywhere they need me," said T.J. "I'd love to play receiver in college and have talked to the receiver coach, but I think they're looking at me at cornerback first. They said if I come in I'll be competing to be a starter or as a back-up on the two-deep."
Mutcherson talks about why he's solely focusing on the Bulls, and what he sees in the future.
"I've always liked USF, and I like Coach Skip Holtz, and seen what he did at East Carolina, and know what he can do here, and want to be part of it."
"The Bulls are right here in my backyard and if I can go there then maybe I can get a couple of kids from the Tampa area like Josh Grady, Andre Davis, and some of those type of kids. I'm friends with all those guys and Grady is my brother, not my real brother, but he's been there ever since I was a little kid."
"That way we can start something at USF. That's what other schools do like Miami getting all the local kids to go there, and build up their program. That's why I want to go to USF and start something and maybe play for a national championship some day."
Mutcherson should know more in the next few weeks once he gets through the clearinghouse of his exact future plans. So stay tuned with USFNation.com as we keep you informed.