University of South Florida linebackers Tashon Whitehurst and Nigel Harris have been suspended for violations of team rules committed in the spring and will miss the first two games of the season. Bulls head coach Willie Taggart made the announcement, which was reported on Twitter by Jeff Odom of the Tampa Bay Times.
#USF coach Willie Taggart announces that LBs Nigel Harris and Tashon Whitehurst have been suspended for the first two games of the season.
— Jeff Odom (@jeffodom) August 25, 2015
As a result, both players will miss USF’s season opener at home against the MEAC’s Florida A&M Rattlers and a trip to face Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium the following weekend.
A former three-star recruit out of Tampa’s Hillsborough High School, Harris was listed as a second-string linebacker on the depth chart behind Whitehurst. He broke out last season when he posted 74 tackles (9.5 for a loss) with two sacks and four forced fumbles, of which he recovered two. In two seasons at USF, he has 109 tackles (12.5 for a loss) with two sacks, five forced fumbles and two recoveries.
Whitehurst, a senior from Gainesville, appeared in a career-best 12 games last season and had 49 tackles with three sacks.
Needless to say, with USF looking to continue improving under Taggart, the loss of Harris and Whitehurst on defense could mean the Bulls stumbling out of the gate, and fans can only hope that the team either avoids that or recovers quickly.
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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports