10 Essential Bulls: Bill Gramatica
As we look forward to the 2014 USF Football season, we’ll spend part of the summer looking back with the Voice of the Bulls Jim Louk. Louk has compiled his list of the 10 most influential Bulls in program history. As the radio voice for Bulls football since its inception in 1997, Louk has personally witnessed every game in the program's history and worked closely with coaches and players. Yet, his list may not line up perfectly with yours. Discussion and debate is welcome. Join the discussion by sending your list or feedback to @USFJimLouk and use the hashtag #USF10.
We’ll list these 10 players in no particular order in the coming weeks leading up to 2014 USF training camp. Selected players may or may not have huge statistics or have been a part of the big plays we all remember. But, because of their talent, their effort or even their timing, they influenced the USF program greatly during our first 17 years of football.
Second Installment: Chad Barnhardt
By JIM LOUK
Voice of the Bulls
TAMPA, JULY 16, 2014 - In the inaugural football season, placekicking was handled adequately, if not exceptionally, by Steve Riggs. But Riggs was a one-and-done; a senior who played only the 1997 year. Starting in 1998, the Bulls would enjoy a unique kicking legacy that would last through the 2004 season.
Bill Gramatica came to the Bulls in that second season of USF Football as a transfer from Florida State. He won the kicking job as a sophomore, and made 16 field goals in his first season. By the time his USF run ended after the 2000 season, he had made 36 field goals and converted 68 percent of his chances.
He finished his career with one of the great individual feats in USF Football history. In his last college game on Nov. 18, 2000, the Bulls easily defeated Austin Peay. Late in the game, Gramatica kicked a 63-yard field goal, which remains the longest field goal in Bulls history by a comfortable margin. The video of the kick, captured in the USF Football 10th Anniversary DVD, shows it clearing the uprights with significant room to spare.
Gramatica went on to a pro career, and he also holds a footnote in USF history as being one of three consecutive Bulls selected in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft. And, he did one more thing to cement his Bulls legacy.
He led his younger brother to the program.
Santiago Gramatica took over for his older brother as the Bulls placekicker in 2001, and made 38 field goals in his four years with USF.
All told, the Gramatica brothers were responsible for 74 field goals during a remarkable run of seven consecutive years of USF Football.
More great kickers came later, including Maikon Bonani, who now holds most of the team’s kicking records, and Marvin Kloss, last year’s Groza Award finalist. But it was a transfer from Florida State via LaBelle High School that brought Bulls special teams to a new level, and helped lead USF Football into the national spotlight.
USF returns 16 starters (10 offense, 4 defense, 2 specialists) for Willie Taggart's second season at the helm, which kicks off on Aug. 30 vs. Western Carolina at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls 2014 non-conference schedule features home clashes vs. Big Ten foe Maryland (Sept. 6) and ACC opponent N.C. State (Sept. 13) as well as a road game at perennial Big Ten power Wisconsin (Sept. 27). USF will welcome UConn (Fri., Sept. 19), East Carolina (Sat., Oct. 11), Houston (Sat., Nov. 1) and UCF (Fri., Nov. 28) to Raymond James in American Athletic Conference action.
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