Now that National Signing Day is history, let's take an extremely early look at how USF's roster is setting up for 2012 and identify some possible areas of need with the class of 2013. And right off the top, we'll find two critical positions that will need to be addressed next February.
QUARTERBACK: This is a must-recruit position in the class of 2013. B.J. Daniels is a senior this coming season, and the only other quarterback who received a scholarship out of high school is Matt Floyd. I suspect Floyd might have really been the backup quarterback at the end of last season, but at that point it didn't make sense to burn his redshirt. So when Daniels got hurt against Miami, the coaches turned to Bobby Eveld. As long as Floyd becomes the backup this fall, the position isn't a major problem in 2012. But it will be unless another quarterback (or two) joins the team in next year's recruitiing class.
RUNNING BACK: Another position that is going to be a serious need in the 2013 class. Darrell Scott's ill-advised departure leaves the position as Demetris Murray and a lot of question marks. Will Marcus Shaw or Bradley Battles finally step up? Can Michael Pierre come in from junior college and make a difference? What about Willie Davis, who redshirted last year? Could Victor Marc or even Lindsey Lamar get more carries somehow? Fortunately there's a bumper crop of running backs in Florida in the class of 2013. USF needs to get one and maybe two of them if they can.
There are fullbacks on the roster, but they didn't get much use last season so screw it.
WIDE RECEIVER: Holy crap! Sterling Griffin, Deonte Welch, and Andre Davis were all big contributors last year. Ruben Gonzalez got on the field as a true freshman. Terrence Mitchell should be back and ready to chip in. Then you add in Chris Dunkley (transfer), D'Vario Montgomery, Alex Mut (who grayshirted with an injury last year), and LaMarlin Wiggins... this is the deepest position on the team. And they're all going to be back in 2013! I'd be surprised if USF brought in more than one receiver in next year's class. I would not be surprised if they didn't bring in any.
Let's go ahead and add Sean Price in here as well, even though he's a tight end. Probably the best player in the 2012 class. He's going to be a weapon any time the Bulls are under center or in the pistol, and I could see him being split out as a wide receiver from time to time.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Getting Kameron Davis on signing day was helpful for the long-term, while Lawrence Martin and Chandlor Mathews should be able to play in the short term and build some more depth. This is going to be a very green position next year - Mark Popek, Damien Edwards, and Danous Estenor are the only seniors - but with the influx of linemen that have been recruited in the last two seasons, it hopefully won't be a position of need in the 2013 class.
DEFENSIVE LINE: This was the deepest position on the defense last year and not much was lost from it. Tevin Mims should be ready to play at defensive end, and James Hamilton may be able to contribute at nose tackle. But for the most part, USF picked up long-term projects along the defensive line. Depending on how guys like Clavion Nelson progress, maybe the coaches look for another JUCO defensive end next year. Hopefully between Cory Grissom, Elkino Watson, Hamilton, and Todd Chandler, the Bulls have enough size and depth at defensive tackle to not get pushed around.
LINEBACKER: Only a last-minute flip of Tashon Whitehurst from Syracuse to USF kept the Bulls from signing a linebacker-free class. While Sam Barrington and DeDe Lattimore will continue to anchor the outside spots, middle linebacker remains a problem. Could one of those two move to the mike if another candidate like Mike Jeune or Reshard Cliett is good enough to play outside? The staff has to find a true middle linebacker in next year's class, and maybe an outside backer as well, to replace senior Barrington.
DEFENSIVE BACK: The weak link of last year's defense was going to get even weaker without Quenton Washington, but it got a lot of attention with this year's class. Chris Bivins may be good enough to play as a true freshman at cornerback, and Joshua Brown and Fidel Montgomery also come in from junior college to help add depth. Jarvis McCall could also get a shot early, while Jalen Spencer may be more of a project. The redshirts will be off a few of last year's recruits as well, like Kenneth Durden and C.J. Garye. USF needs to find a safety in next year's class with all of the prospective starters either juniors (Mark Joyce, JaQuez Jenkins) or seniors (Jon LeJiste)
SPECIAL TEAMS: I wonder if Holtz will invite some punters to walk on to spring practice after last year's punt-game catastrophe. If Justin Brockhaus-Kann was seriously the best option, then they need to do whatever they can to try and improve that. Whether it's Chris Veron or someone else, what happened last year cannot happen again.
Maikon Bonani is a senior in 2012, and maybe Holtz will invite a kicker or two to spring practice as well. I'd like to see Marvin Kloss get some game work if possible, to see if he'll be up to the challenge of placekicking. Kloss kicks off well, so he'll still have a spot on the team regardless of whether he can handle PATs and field goals.
Terrence Mitchell should be good to go as a punt returner again. And I don't know what happened to Lindsey Lamar last season as a kick returner, but if he's still not the same as he was in 2010, there should be no shortage of guys who could get a chance to take his place.