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Stampeding Through The USF Football Roster: #82 WR Chris Dunkley

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 1:  Coach Skip Holtz of the South Florida Bulls directs play against the West Virginia Mountaineers December 1, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 1: Coach Skip Holtz of the South Florida Bulls directs play against the West Virginia Mountaineers December 1, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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Today we meet an impact transfer at wide receiver, and we see how impact transfers at wide receiver have fared at USF over the years.

#82 WR Chris Dunkley
Redshirt Sophomore, 6'0" 177 lbs.

Stats in 2011: Dunkley spent a year sitting out after transferring from the University of Florida. In 2010, he redshirted as a member of the Gators.

Current Spot on Depth Chart: Third-string wide receiver, behind Andre Davis and Sterling Griffin.

How did he come to USF: Transferred from the University of Florida after his redshirt freshman season. Went to Pahokee High School, a prodigious producer of football talent. Out of high school he took visits to Alabama, Georgia, and West Virginia, and was recruited by many schools. As a transfer, he was sought by Cincinnati, Marshall, and West Virginia again.

Recruiting Rankings: Dunkley is one of the most touted players ever to join the Bulls. Scout rated him 5 stars, and #8 among all wide receivers nationally. Rivals rated him the #9 receiving prospect in the nation, the #12 prospect in all of Florida, and #77 nationally. USF doesn't get that level of talent right out of high school; it's still big news when an occasional four-star signs with USF, like Ryne Giddins or Elkino Watson or Andre Davis.

Projected Playing Time for 2012: Rather than once again say "USF has a lot of good receivers and it remains to be seen who will get the most playing time", I thought it would be more interesting to examine USF's history of receivers who transferred from other four-year schools.

Over the years, USF has picked up quite a few receivers from big schools, or at least schools that were bigger than USF at the time. How did they fare? After the jump, a compilation of them all, ranked in descending order of receiving yards and overall awesomeness.

Hugh Smith Miami (Ohio) 1999-2002 131 rec
1521 yds
10 tds
Remember, this was 1998, so mid-tier Florida recruits had to go out of state to play I-A football. An all-time USF great, this blog named Smith the 12th best USF football player of all time. Was a Prop 48 signing out of high school, but earned an extra year of eligibility by graduating in 4 years, and made it count: his 2002 was one of the best individual seasons ever at USF.
Clif Dell Florida State 1997-98 54 rec
1003 yds
6 TDs
Predate Internet recruiting resources. But if Florida State signed him in 1994-95, he must have been at least a 3-4 star talent. One of USF's first stars. Also had a strong career in the Arena Football League.
Scott McCready Louisiana Tech 1997, 1999-2000 65 rec
984 yds
8 td
He only moved to the United States from England at age 15, so recruiting analysts probably called him "raw." See also Hugh Smith comment. Played only 3 games in 1997 due to injury, and was out of school in 1998, so this stat line was mostly done in two seasons. Being British, he got to play in NFL Europe, and bounced around NFL practice rosters for a few years. Got a Super Bowl ring while on the 2001 Patriots, despite never playing an NFL game.
Elgin Hicks
Florida 2001-2003 53 rec
760 yds
7 TDs
Again, pretty far back, but the school and era suggest a 3-4 star talent out of high school. Superprep ranked him as a Top 10 wideout nationally.
Was in the WR rotation for the successful 2001-02 seasons as a I-A independent, and had a great 2003 in C-USA. Signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts, who already had Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, and Brandon Stokley on the roster.
Amp Hill
LSU 2006 19 rec
233 yds
2 TDs
4 stars and a Top 100 recruit nationally, per Rivals. Had a knee injury at LSU; LSU fans say it derailed his career. Had a decent 2006 for USF, except for his role in a failed two-point conversion that would've taken 11-win Rutgers to overtime. Next spring, he got in Jim Leavitt's doghouse by doing a Terrell Owens impression in practice. Leavitt later kicked him off the team.
Courtney Denson Auburn 2005-07 12 rec
150 yds
0 TDs;
also played QB
A 4-star recruit as "athlete" and the #25 prospect in Florida. Also visited Nebraska, Virginia Tech, USF and Rutgers. Denson won the starting QB job in 2005, then lost it before halftime of the opener at Penn State. Moved to WR, where he saw little action, and is mostly known for his part in the infamous Voodoo 5 play at UConn in 2005.
Darren Haliburton Rutgers 2005 none Scout rated him 2 stars. Signed with Rutgers out of high school, but transferred to USF after only two weeks there. Had a lot of off-field problems, and that's putting it mildly. Was on and off the team from 2003-05. Never had a catch at USF, and I'm not sure he ever got into a game. Became a star in a third-rate indoor league. According to online resources, Haliburton continues to get in trouble with the law.

So you have to go back to at least 2003 to find any success stories among wide receiver transfers. And some of them, like Smith and McCready, are guys USF would now sign directly out of high school. Which doesn't spell doom for Chris Dunkley, but should serve as a reminder that having once been a five-star recruit does not guarantee success at USF.