On December 19th, fax machines every got dusted off for the early signing period and USF was looking to make a splash by getting “bigger and faster” for this recruiting cycle.
A few flips came and went but at the end of the two days, the Bulls added 19 of their 25 allotted spots for the 2019 class.
The players will be shown in order by their 247 rankings, and assessed on their strength, weaknesses, and just how much we might see of these guys next season.
We started with the top six highest rated prospects per 247.
DB McArthur Burnett
5’10, 185 pounds
JUCO from Coffeyville C.C. (Coffeyville, Kansas) originally recruited by the University of Florida from Apopka Florida.
- Great speed, rarely got beat over the top
- Ball hawk that always seems to be causing turnovers and going after the ball
- Good zone awareness
- Needs work on route recognition
- Run support was iffy at times
The highest rated recruit in this class so far is well deserved. McArthur can come in right away and start for USF next season.
With him on the other side of Mike Hampton, USF will have two strong, shutdown corners on the same field. He reminded me a lot of Deatrick Nichols where if the game is on the line and we need one on one coverage on the outside, I’d trust Burnett would make a play.
QB Jahquez Evans
6’2, 180 pounds
Recruited out of Mays High School in Atlanta, Georgia
- Incredible speed
- Elusive in the pocket and has the ability to sense when to tuck and run
- Reads a defense well
- Strong arm, able to drop a ball in on a dime
- Can be a little too eager to run at times
- Footwork in the pocket is sloppy
- Throwing motion needs improvement
Evans gave us a little scare for a few days when he decommitted after visiting Cincinnati, but strangely it seems like his offer fell through after he deleted his tweet regarding his offer.
With USF’s depth chart getting thin after both Brett Kean and Chris Oladokun announced their intentions to transfer, there is a huge lack of experience and bodies behind Blake Barnett. Evans athletic ability will allow USF to possibly flex him around, but unless he makes huge strides in the offseason, it’s doubtful he will come in as a quarterback next year.
This also hugely depends on who the offensive coordinator will be next year for USF.
OLB Darius Williams
6’0, 210 pounds
Recruited out of Norland High School in Miami, Florida.
- Good speed, quick acceleration
- If he comes unblocked, he pinpoints the ball carrier and drives them down
- Big hitter
- Played a little bit of everything on the front 7 in high school
- Great size, perfect for an edge rusher/OLB
- Doesn’t have a good first step as a linebacker, nor when in the 3 technique
- Struggles to use his hands to get off blocks
- Not many moves besides a pure speed rush
Not many people were talking about Darius Williams during the recruiting period, but after a late push by FIU, USF was able to hold onto their prized linebacker.
Williams had offers from Arkansas and Miami, but chose to stick with Brian Jean-Mary. As a rusher, he’s lethal from anywhere along the front. He can stick his hand in the ground and shoot a gap, or stand up and go after a quarterback.
Although he was recruited as a linebacker, I think he’ll find his way along the defensive line, similarly to Josh Black and Juwuan Brown were used this year. Williams can come in as a rotational guy for our defense next year.
CB Daquan Evans
5’11, 175 pounds
Recruited out of Jones High School in Orlando, Florida.
- Great size at corner
- Good route recognition
- Playmaker, wants the ball thrown his way
- Baits the QB into throws, which works in high school but not so much in college
- Doesn’t wrap up, goes for big hits with the shoulder
- At Safety, sluggish at play recognition
Daquan held offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, UCF, and Virginia Tech, but stuck with USF the whole way.
Evans will need to hit the weight room and film room when he steps on campus. I think he will end up transitioning to nickel corner for USF, as he’s not afraid of making contact with anyone and rarely makes bad angles on his tackles. He will get some playing time in 2019, but not anything significant.
OT Raymond Collins
6’3, 289 pounds
Recruited out of Largo High School in Largo, Florida.
- An absolute freak of an athlete
- Engages blocks at the chest
- Great strength to oppose bull rushes
- Shoulders are slow when pass blocking, could lead to being beat off the edge or overcompensate to be beat inside
- Slow to disengage when needed to
- Slightly underweight
Our large adult son stays home. Collins is arguably the most athletic offensive tackle I have ever seen. Whether it’s catching TD passes, hitting game winning three pointers, or blocking downfield for his running back, he did it all.
The #BayMade tackle held offers from Florida, Indiana, and UCF, and played both ways for his high school. Although, he is a little underweight at 289, he can definitely bulk up when he gets too campus.
I believe he could play both offense and defense for USF during his time here, but after Donovan Jennings was thrust into the starting lineup as a freshmen, and Marcus Norman returning for his senior year, it’s unlikely the athletic big man will see any playing time this year for USF.
TE Thomas Nance III
6’3, 240 pounds
Recruited out of Lake Region High School in Eagle Lake, Florida.
- As a TE, elite speed and acceleration
- Playmaker, put the ball in his hands and let him work
- Got playing time at DE and showed he could play both sides of the ball effectively
- An absolute unit (6’3 240 and runs a 4.5)
- Recruited as TE, will need to work on blocking
- Struggles to high point the ball
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Steeg’s Stud of the Class. Nance wasn’t too highly recruited out of high school (Lake Region has gone winless the last two seasons), but this is a guy who will walk into the building at the Lee Roy Selmon Center and make an impact right away.
Whether it was on offense, defense, or special teams, Nance found a way to make a play. He lined up at nearly every position on offense and on defense during his time at Lake Region and has been the vocal leader of this recruiting class (on twitter at least). I think Nance sees the field significantly this year, regardless if Wilcox stays or declares for the draft this year.