Happy National Signing Day Eve! The Bulls' class, as we reviewed about a week ago, is shaping up to be pretty solid-- if a little bit worse than Willie Taggart's impressive 2014 haul. Let's take a state of the recruiting class, if you will, and try to answer any last-minute lingering questions.
I heard this class is worse than the norm for USF. Is this true?
Eh, not really. It's actually pretty decent given that USF hasn't made a bowl since 2010 and is stuck in a terrible purgatory conference. Last year Taggart was able to pitch potential and immediate playing time to recruits, and pulled in one of the Bulls' best classes in years. This year he can't really pitch either of those things, so when you put it in perspective, he and his staff have honestly done a pretty impressive job on the recruiting trail thus far.
The Bulls' class is currently ranked first in the AAC and 62nd in the nation by 247sports.com. If you evaluate the classes by average prospect rating, USF is a hair behind UCF-- the Knights are at 83.09, the Bulls at 83.07. That's very encouraging. Here's the 2015 average commit rating compared to previous classes:
2015 (unfinished): 83.07
So really, this class is pretty much on par with how USF has been recruiting over the past five years. Given that Taggart doesn't have the same advantages to sell that Skip Holtz did, we can certainly applaud him for the keeping the level of talent coming in relatively consistent. Because really, it can't be overstated how hard it is to recruit on the wrong side of the Power Five/Group of Five split. There are only three four-star prospects committed to G5 schools right now, and USF's class currently ranks second behind Boise State among non-Power Five schools. All things considered, that's really good.
Who are some of the commits I should know?
There aren't any four-star recruits like there were last year (yet), but the Bulls still have a handful of guys who have a chance to make an immediate impact. JUCO Glen Bethel was ranked the 30th-best junior college prospect by 247, and is a prime candidate to take over the starting job at left tackle immediately. Khalid McGee is a high three-star prospect at safety who spurned late interest from Rutgers and should sign with the Bulls tomorrow, and Trevon Sands is an impressive prospect at running back who'll have a chance to play right away. The Bulls have just one quarterback commit-- low three-star Brett Kean, who's been compared to....
I saw Brett Kean throw over the weekend. He competes, has a little "Grothe" in him. http://t.co/96EQ6u0vkl— Josh Newberg (@joshnewberg247) June 17, 2014
That said, Kean is almost definitely bound for a redshirt year and probably won't be a factor in the QB race.
Has USF pulled in any commits recently?
You bet they have! The last week has actually been a very good one for the Bulls. Taggart and company flipped three-star receiver Chris Barr from Utah-- with the Bulls lacking bodies at receiver, he's another candidate to play right away-- and had McGee reaffirm his commitment. In the last couple days, USF pulled in three-star cornerback Nate Ferguson and flipped three-star defensive end Kirk Livingstone from UConn. They've also got two walk-ons committed in defensive tackle Chance Belloise and punter Jack Spicer. The only player they've missed on in the past week was three-star defensive back Derrick Baity, a Plant product who chose Kentucky over the Bulls a couple hours ago.
Is there a chance any of them flip to another school on Signing Day?
Well, there's always a chance. Weird things happen on Signing Day. But McGee seemed to be the only commit who was wavering, so knock on wood.
Are there any prospects still on the board for the Bulls?
Oh boy, yes. And this is where the class has a chance to go from good to great.
Let's start with the most realistic option: Wisconsin commit Jordan Griffin, ranked by 247 as the number 21 inside linebacker in the nation. He's going to decide tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. between the Badgers, Bulls and Vanderbilt. Most are expecting him to stick with Wisconsin, but the Bulls are very much in the mix.
Then there's the elephant in the room-- stud running back Ray Ray McCloud, who for all intents and purposes seems to be a solid commit to Clemson... but rumors have been floating around that he's considering the Bulls.
The conversations about Ray Ray McCloud today: I’ve never heard so much about one recruit before that’s never publicly wavered before.— Collin Sherwin (@USFCollin) February 3, 2015
Glad I’m not the only one saying it, but the biggest guys I’m hearing USF still thinks they can land are Ray Ray McCloud & Dwayne Lawson.— Collin Sherwin (@USFCollin) February 2, 2015
McCloud is a total gamechanger, and would probably be the biggest coup of USF recruiting history. I wouldn't get your hopes up, but the Bulls really do seem to think there's still a chance.
Where's the list so I can check off all these names tomorrow:
Here's the list of current hard commits from Bulls247.com
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It's gonna be a fun and very, very important day for USF tomorrow. We'll have coverage on the site all day, starting at sunrise.