Jason Pierre-Paul: Former Bull Steps Into The Spotlight

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01: Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants reacts after a sack in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Giants defensive end and former USF Bull Jason Pierre-Paul has become a story all his own heading into the Super Bowl.

Predictably, the New York Giants defensive line – the unit credited with muddying up the Patriots’ perfect season a few years back – is getting gobs of press heading into the Super Bowl.

The USA Today ran an article about the Giants’ front four, as did the Associated Press, as did Philly.com. Tom Brady was asked about that D-line (multiple times), while the New York Post is blogging about it.

It’s a bona fide Super Bowl narrative: Can the Giants D-line once again topple the mighty Patriots?

And a big part of this subplot is the emergence of former South Florida star Jason Pierre-Paul, who has found himself at the center of the center of attention. There have been feature articles like this and this, and Brady has referred to him simply as "JPP." The AP described him thus:

Not only is he the best player on the Giants' defense, he is now among the best in the NFL.

Not bad for someone who a few years ago was playing community college ball in Kansas.

Pierre-Paul, a second-year defensive end, has earned the pub. He was fourth in the league in sacks during the regular season with 16.5 and has been accordingly lavished with praise. He was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler, and was twice tabbed as the NFC defensive player of the week. Oh, and he was the NFC player of the month in December.

The sacks have slowed a bit in the playoffs – he’s tallied just .5 through three games – but Pierre-Paul has still be a major cog for the Giants. He has 16 tackles in the Giants’ three games, including eight against the Falcons and six in the conference championship against the 49ers.

Besides, the Giants might not have even made the playoffs if not for Pierre-Paul: He blocked the Cowboys’ 47-yard field goal attempt in the most important game of the season.

Bulls fans may not be too surprised by Pierre-Paul’s emergence as an elite pass rusher. During his one year with USF, he had 16.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in just seven starts. And that was coming off a stint at Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College in which he had 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. At No. 15, he was the highest pick in USF history.

At this point, it shouldn't surprise anyone if he's the Bulls' first Super Bowl MVP.

For more USF, head to Voodoo Five and SB Nation Tampa Bay!

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