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USF Bulls

USF Bulls' Webster not looking back

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 09:56 AM
ST. PETERSBURG -

The numbers were horrible.

Last season, the University of South Florida's pass defense ranked 88th nationally. It had just two interceptions, tying for worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision. It allowed a completion percentage of 68.4, also worst in the FBS.

The film doesn't lie.

But when scouts watch USF games, they are inevitably drawn to cornerback Kayvon Webster, who managed to shine in a dismal season for the Bulls.

"Those overall numbers don't come into play, unless the guy is being targeted and exposed,'' said Houston Texans scout Mike Martin, a former Vanderbilt defensive back who played at Jesuit High School. "Kayvon held up pretty well. He's an excellent tackler. His abilities and talents come through. He's a good prospect.''

Webster, joined in the lineup by Bulls linebacker Sam Barrington, hopes to again showcase his skills during Saturday's East-West Shrine game at Tropicana Field. Both players want to attract attention from scouts, then continue that recognition at next month's NFL combine in Indianapolis.

"This is football, what we've always done, so you try not to complicate it,'' Webster said. "I'm not really nervous, but I am excited. The future is in my hands. I'm the one who can control that.''

Webster, probably best known for his 96-yard fumble-return touchdown at Notre Dame to open the 2011 season, has learned he can only control so much. He had high hopes for the Bulls, believing there was a legitimate shot at the Big East Conference championship. But the season disintegrated into a 3-9 finish and Webster's secondary was the biggest culprit.

"I don't worry about them not noticing me or forgetting about me,'' Webster said. "They're going to watch the film. I made some plays. They can see me here and see how I work. So, I think it's all in front of me.''

Charles Davis, who will broadcast the game for the NFL Network, agreed that it's early in the opinion-forming process.

"Nothing is ever truly a fresh slate, but it's compare and contrast,'' Davis said. "It's what you saw on tape, what you watch and observe in a career, then how you see them work and interact here on the practice field.

"Maybe it's different coaching, different techniques, but you have to look at it all and then project it into the future. That's why it's such an inexact science. I've seen it work every which way. Guys who were brilliant in college don't seem to make it. Guys who were way below the radar become stars. You never know.''

Webster, a Miami native, only knows he has an opportunity to achieve a lifelong dream. And it would follow another successful goal, receiving his USF degree last month.

"That was a big day because where I come from, not a lot of people get to college,'' said Webster, 5-foot-11, 196 pounds. "There was a lot of pride.

"I'm very happy with that. But ever since I was little, I wanted to play in the NFL. I've got a chance at it now and I want to do everything in my power to make it happen.''


jjohnston@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7353 Twitter: @JJohnstonTBO

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