TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The nation's leader in sacks doesn't have a compelling story to tell about how he wound up playing for No. 18 South Florida.
It was simple, really. The Bulls called and George Selvie was more than happy to listen.
``I got recruited by D-II (Division II schools) and South Florida was my only D-I offer,'' Selvie said. ``I wanted to play D-I football, so I came to South Florida.''
The decision has worked out nicely for the 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end, as well as coach Jim Leavitt, who had a hunch the former high school offensive lineman had the ability to make an impact on the other side of the ball.
Selvie leads the nation in sacks (8.5) and tackles for losses (15) heading into Friday night's Big East showdown against fifth-ranked West Virginia. He had a breakout game last season when he made eight tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown to help the Bulls upset the Mountaineers 24-19 in Morgantown.
``It really did a lot for our confidence. They were No. 7 in the nation then, it was the last game of the season and they were possibly heading to a BCS game, so we knew then that we could play against any team in the nation,'' Selvie said.
USF (3-0) received votes in The Associated Press preseason poll for the first time this summer and made its initial appearance in the Top 25 last week. The largest crowd for a home game in the program's 11-season history is expected Friday night.
``They say that we are building tradition right now, even though we already have some guys who have built tradition in the past when they were 9-2 one season. ... Now we're building, winning, beating ranked teams, getting ranked and building onto tradition,'' Selvie said.
``I hope 10 years from now they will be No. 1 in the country, and I will be sitting in the stands watching.''
For now, he'll settle for spearheading a speedy and suffocating defense with a growing reputation for giving explosive offenses fits. The Bulls upset Louisville two years ago and were successful in slowing down West Virginia's dynamic duo of Steve Slaton and Patrick White last season.
``He's very quick off the ball. He's got a knack for making plays. He made a lot of plays against us last year,'' West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said of Selvie. ``He's one of those explosive guys you have to make sure you get a hat on and not let him disrupt you because he can be very disruptive.''
Selvie had four sacks, six tackles and caused a fumble in South Florida's season-opening win over Elon. A week ago, the Bulls limited North Carolina to 164 yards total offense, with Selvie notching three of the defense's four sacks.
Not bad for someone who showed up on campus three years ago with his heart set on earning playing time as an offensive lineman.
``We wanted to give him some work at center to see what he could do. What we found out, he was one of our best centers, but we had other guys that we could play at center and be successful,'' Leavitt said.
``We didn't think we could replace him at defensive end. Why he's so good is his heart, his character, his focus. He always tries to get better.''
Selvie's progress is easy to see. He started 13 games as a redshirt freshman a year ago, finishing with 15 tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks.
Teammates say he deserves all the attention he's receiving as the Bulls climb in the national spotlight.
``I'm excited and happy for him because Selvie works so hard. ... You see the way he plays in a game, that's the way he is all the time,'' nose tackle Richard Clebert said. ``He pushes me. I can't wait until teams start double-teaming him so I can get up on the sacks.''

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