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USF Football Freshman Stampede: The Defense

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Now let's meet all of USF's incoming freshmen on the defensive side of the ball.

(If you're looking for Marquez Valdes-Scantling today for #11, we profiled him back when he was wearing #83.)

#2 CB Armunz Mathews - 6'0", 197 lbs.
#12 LB Andre Polk Jr. - 6'4", 227 lbs.
#14 DB Mike Hampton - 6'1", 170 lbs.
#17 S Josh Dunn - 6'0", 195 lbs.
#26 S Craig Watts - 6'0", 185 lbs.
#51 LB Mi'Cario Stanley - 6'2", 248 lbs.

2015 Stats: We'll get to those. They were all in high school last year.

Position on Depth Chart: None of them are on the most recent depth chart because they weren't here yet.

How They Came To USF:

  • Armunz Mathews: Played both wide receiver and defensive back at Tallahassee's North Florida Christian High School. Led the team in receiving his senior year with 38 catches for 545 yards and seven touchdowns as the Eagles reached the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. Made 14 tackles on defense, broke up three passes, and housed an interception from 79 yards out. Before that, he played at the Florida A&M Developmental Research School, a K-12 school operated by FAMU for educational training and research. Had a slew of offers and actually decommitted from USF at one point after pledging way back in June 2014, but came back to the Bulls and signed this past February.

  • Andre Polk, Jr.: Lined up at South Fort Myers High School as a safety. Only played in six games as a senior due to injury, but still led the Wolfpack with 54 tackles. Recorded two TFL, intercepted two passes, and recovered a fumble. Occasionally lined up at running back and receiver and also starred on the track team. Minnesota was after Polk hard and he originally committed to them, but switched to USF in November and signed with them on signing day.

  • Mike Hampton: A defensive back and wide receiver at Tampa's Hillsborough High School. Intercepted ten passes for the Terriers in his junior and senior years, recorded a sack, broke up five passes, and made 88 tackles. In those two years, also caught 41 passes for 705 yards and five touchdowns on offense. Named to Class 6A all-state third team. Chose USF over offers from Iowa, Pittsburgh, Temple, and Virginia, to name a few.

  • Josh Dunn: Starred at Lake Wales High School. Led the Highlanders with 66 tackles as a senior, and also recorded 12.5 TFL, four sacks, an interception, a pass breakup, six(!) forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He scored a touchdown on one of his defensive plays, but we don't know which one. Had an even better junior year with 67 tackles, eight sacks, three picks, and five touchdowns. Played shooting guard on the basketball team as well. Committed to USF over offers from Florida, Georgia, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and others.

  • Craig Watts: USF's biggest commit in the 2016 recruiting class. Finished his high school career at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, where he played for former USF wide receiver Ryan Hearn. Spent his first three seasons at Gibbs High School, where he played for former USF defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz. Racked up 87 tackles for the Blue Jackets and was named to the Class 2A all-state first team his senior year. Held offers from seemingly everyone east of the Mississippi and was committed to Colorado for awhile, but switched to USF in January. That means the Bulls beat Jim Leavitt for a recruit, which is incredibly weird to say.

  • Mi'Cario Stanley: Played at North Fort Myers High School in his senior year, coached by former Gators and Bucs running back Earnest Graham. Made 110 tackles for the Red Knights as a senior, and returned an interception 60 yards. Before that, played at Cape Coral High School and had 67 tackles, three sacks, and an interception to help the Seahawks reach the Class 5A playoffs. Committed to USF in June 2014 and beating the odds, it stuck all the way through to February 2016.

Recruiting Rankings:

Name 247 Rivals Scout ESPN
Armunz Mathews 3* 3* 3* 3*
Andre Polk, Jr. 4* 3* 3* 3*
Mike Hampton 3* 3* 3* 3*
Josh Dunn 3* 3* 3* 4*
Craig Watts 4* 4* 4* 4*
Mi'Cario Stanley 3* 3* 3* 3*

Projected Playing Time: Based on the quality of these recruits and the competitions many of them are jumping into, it's conceivable that all of them will play this year. Craig Watts and Josh Dunn are near shoo-ins to get time at safety. Polk and Stanley could get reps behind Nigel Harris to get them ready for the future. Matthews got a single-digit number when he came in the door, so that tells you what the coaches think of him. Hampton may have the hardest time finding playing time because the cornerback spots are pretty well locked down. Still, you know USF is in good shape if consensus three-stars are redshirting.

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