Early Signing Period Review and What Comes Next

The early signing period has come to an end and by most metrics the class so far is neither great nor bad, but will be adding much needed depth at Corner, Defensive End, and Linebacker. The class currently ranks as follows:

247 Sports
- 63rd National (up from 65th in 2018)
- 4th AAC (down from 3rd in 2018)

- 56th National (up from 58th in 2018)
- 3rd AAC (down from 2nd in 2018)

While I am hardly a fan of judging recruiting classes at the Group of Five level off class rankings, some see this as an important metric in determining the future success of the team. One important fact that I would like to emphasize is that UCF built a Colley Matrix National Championship team off 3rd, 4th, and 8th rated AAC recruiting classes. Good coaching and recruiting the players whose recruiting rankings do not reflect their true potential will generally be what matters most.

The Class Standouts

Out of our Early Signing Day signees, a few I feel have the potential to make key contributions immediately or later on.

McArthur Burnett JUCO CB

0.8622 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: Boise State, Rutgers

Burnett, previously a Florida Gator, should see immediate action with the loss of senior corners Wilkins and Hoggins.

Jahquez Evans QB

0.8540 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina

A dual threat QB who should make the 2020 QB battle even more competitive with current freshmen Octavius Battle and Jordan McCloud. Evans gave us a scare decommitting and seemingly being won over by conference foe Cincinnati a week prior to signing day, but now he is locked in with us.

Darius Williams LB

0.8484 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: Miami, Syracuse, UCF

In USF’s current 4-2-5 defensive scheme Williams might not see much playing time immediately, but at a position we are especially lacking depth at he figures to be in the rotation and should be a key starter in the coming years

Jayden Curry CB

0.8334 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: North Carolina, Maryland, NC State, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech

USF’s first IMG Academy recruit looks to be a versatile corner who figures to be a key future member of the secondary. While returning Junior Hampton and JUCO recruit Burnett figure to be our starters, Curry could see playing time and be a key depth player in 2019.

Kelley Joiner Jr APB

0.8236 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: Appalachian State

In the 3 games Joiner played in 2018 prior to breaking his fibula he recorded 1,006 rushing yards, 11.1 YPC, and 17 TDs. Do I need say more? Curiously enough, USF has him listed as a WR in his signing announcement. Joiner only recorded 30 receptions in his high school career and no more than 15 in a single season. Perhaps with Duran Bell’s future status with the team seemingly in question we could see Joiner relisted as an RB. Regardless of where he ends up playing, he figures to bring a lot of big play potential to the offense.

Top Targets for February

Recruiting is not officially over until schools get one last chance to ink recruits on February 6th, and there are still recruits out there that can boost the class rankings and become difference makers. Here are the big name recruits who realistically have a chance of signing with USF on February 6th:

Kenny Logan ATH

0.8737 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: Auburn, Louisville, Nebraska, Ole Miss, UCF, Alabama, Boston College, Florida State, Miami, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Georgia Tech, Indiana

Steven Linton DE

0.8778 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: Arizona State, Louisville, Syracuse, UCF

WR Coach Charlie Williams appears to be working Linton hard. This should come down to USF and ASU as it currently stands.

Andrew Plummer S

0.8343 247Sports Composite
Notable Offers: Iowa State, Rutgers

Our only commit not to sign during the Early Signing Period. Plummer will have the potential to become a key player on the defense in the future should he choose USF. He decommitted back in February but recommitted in June. He has supposedly been told no more funny business and that the next time he decommits should mean that he has no intention of becoming a Bull.

12/23/18 Plummer decommitted from USF and committed to FAU

What Happened at Defensive Tackle?

Where did we go wrong this recruiting period? Not recruiting the Tampa area Defensive Tackles who could be considered our most likely candidates to commit to us. While Hillsborough County’s top rated DT recruit Tyus Gibson (Tampa Catholic) is only rated as a low 3 star and #133 DT in the country, Pinellas County has two DTs rated in the Top 76 in the nation that are showing no offers from USF. Who are these two Bay Area DTs neglected by USF?

Keenan Hester (St. Petersburg High)

3 Stars – 0.8710 247Sports Composite – #44 DT
Signed with UCF
Notable Offers: Boston College, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas A&M

While it’s unclear how much playing for the 2017 Colley Matrix National Champions played into his choice, the failure to offer a kid clearly willing to stay local and out of the Power 5 ranks is astonishing.

Sio Nofoagatoto'a (Clearwater Academy International)

3 Stars – 0.8452 247Sports Composite – #76 DT
Signed with Indiana
Notable Offers: Boston College, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Maryland, NC State, Nebraska, Rutgers, UCF, Virginia, West Virginia

Another Bay area DT who received an offer from UCF and nothing from USF. While signing with a higher status school will always hinder USF until it gets on Alabama’s level, not offering these kids is inexcusable.

When we clearly have an issue at DT, expanding the pool and chances of us finding a gem should have been a priority for the team after how we struggled to stop the run and win at the line of scrimmage on defense all season long. Since we did not offer any of the Bay Area DT talent that realistically would have a chance at improving our situation, where do we look now that the early signing period has ended with a lot of in-state talent already locked up and our only DT commit poached by FSU?

Terray Jones (Madison County High)

3 Stars – 0.8431 247Sports Composite – #79 DT

Uncommitted (no schools warm on recruiting)
Notable Offers: Purdue, UCF
Hudl video

Terray Jones currently does not posses an offer from USF, but what he does posses is a skill set USF is in dire need of at DT. Jones looks to be a stout run defender who is quick to break off from the O-line and get after an RB on the edge or a scrambling QB. A player with this skillset is exactly what USF needs. Jones at 6’1 280lbs already has an ideal fitness level for the Defensive Tackle position. Even if he cannot contribute immediately, recruiting a player like this could pay dividends later on. USF recruiting staff make this happen!

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