We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of college football’s three-day early signing period and for USF, well, this year’s early signing period is an exercise to see what they can salvage after weeks of internal upheaval.
The firing of Charlie Strong (and eventually his entire staff) unsurprisingly led to a bevy of decommits from what was setting up to be a promising 2020 recruiting class. With new head coach Jeff Scott taking the job only a week ago and having other urgent needs to immediately address upon arrival, it became clear that his approach would be to take what he could get this week and try to fill spots through the transfer portal and the traditional February signing day with a new staff in tow.
But all is not lost Bulls fans as in spite of all the upheaval, there’s still a handful of talented 2020 prospects who remain locked in and ready to don the Green and Gold. And Scott didn’t completely punt on the ESP as a powerful duo from the Palmetto State may have Tampa on their minds.
Who’s In (for now)
- Tampa Gaither LB Chance Coleman: First verbal commit of 2020 class. Hasn’t indicated whether he’ll sign tomorrow or in February.
- Sarasota RB Brian Battie: Took official visit this past weekend and will sign on Wednesday even after news broke that all of Strong’s assistants had been let go.
Official visit went great! Signing Wednesday @230 at Sarasota high school #Gobulls @USFFootball @coach_jeffscott pic.twitter.com/XU3ywsZWku— Brian Battie (@battie941) December 16, 2019
- Lake City Columbia QB Jordan Smith: Lone quarterback commit of the class (for now) who got to meet Jeff Scott during his official visit over the weekend. Will most likely sign during ESP.
OV was a vibe @coach_jeffscott @USFFootball @USFBulls_Rivals pic.twitter.com/UNqN9M3sd7— jordan smith (@kingjrow21) December 15, 2019
- Lake City Columbia LB Le’Vontae Camiel: Took official visit along with his high school teammate Smith this past weekend. Announced earlier in the month that he’ll sign in February.
- DeLand CB Ben Knox: Made official visit last weekend and will sign with USF on Wednesday.
I Will Be Signing Wednesday @11:10am At Deland High School . Anyone And Everyone Is Welcome to Come Support. Chapter Closed On To The Next One. #GoBulls #20Strong pic.twitter.com/hM26SU4vN8— Ben Knox (@PresiKnox) December 16, 2019
- The Villages Charter School DB Mac Harris: Another one of the handful of commits who enjoyed their campus visit last weekend. No official word on if he’ll sign during the ESP.
- Dunnelon DB AJ Hamilton: The Marion County product also visited campus last Saturday and will sign with USF first thing on Wednesday morning.
I will be signing Wednesday December 18 at 8:30 am in dunnellon highschool library #GoBulls @OcalaPreps @Bulls247 @coach_jeffscott— BIG 7️⃣ (@yb_hamm) December 16, 2019
- Port Orange Atlantic LB Ty Berrong: Currently the highest rated verbal commit in the 2020 class according to Bulls247. Still committed but has mostly been silent about his recruitment after tweeting this following the Strong firing.
- Wauchula Hardee OT Evan Webster: Took official visit over the weekend but no indication of whether he’ll sign during ESP.
- Deerfield Beach CB Christopher Townsel: The Bucks DB was in Tampa last weekend and will sign on Wednesday.
Thank you lord I'm here never imagine this pic.twitter.com/rp2zHZfgah— ROCKSTAR #B4B (@christownsel_) December 17, 2019
- East Los Angeles DT Sione “John” Tuitupou: Made his official visit to USF a few weeks ago before defensive line coach Paul Spicer and the rest of the staff got the axe. The JuCo transfer will most likely stay in California and flip to San Jose State after visiting their campus on Sunday.
SpartansUp⚔️ @BG_ELAC @CoachDixon55 @CoachBrennan @Coach_Seumalo pic.twitter.com/8n01d4w2FP— Sione “JT” Tuitupou (@johntuitupou) December 15, 2019
Possible Late Additions
As I alluded to earlier, Jeff Scott didn’t completely punt on bringing aboard new talent just in time for the ESP. Reaching into his bag of connections throughout the state of South Carolina, he offered wide receiver Omarion Dollison and quarterback Hunter Helms out of Gray Collegiate Academy in West Columbia.
After a great talk with @coach_jeffscott I am Extremely Blessed and Honored to receive my 20th Offer from The University of South Florida! @LouatTheState @HighSchoolBlitz @coachholmes54 pic.twitter.com/fkuhqL4KcA— Omarion Dollison 4 (@Omar_ionD) December 14, 2019
Extremely blessed to receive an offer from the University of South Florida! Go Bulls! #HornsUp #QB5 pic.twitter.com/szSesbo3ES— Hunter Helms (@HH_7251) December 16, 2019
According to his Hudl, the 5’10”, 175 pound Dollison had a ridiculous senior season for the War Eagles, hauling in 88 receptions for nearly 2,000 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns. He also has an offer from Cincinnati.
Throwing to him was Helms, his quarterback and a former Holy Cross commit. The 6’2”, 205 pound gunslinger completed 77% of his passes and threw for over 4,000 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior.
Both represented the North squad at the Touchstone Energy Bowl in Myrtle Beach on Saturday.
Glad to get to watch @HH_7251 and @Omar_ionD play one last time together! Both played extremely well and represented Gray Collegiate very well. Thank you to all the coaches that worked with them this week! They really enjoyed themselves! @CoachYoungblood @coachfarmer71 pic.twitter.com/hcEJIfu0zb— Adam Holmes (@coachholmes54) December 15, 2019
Finally, let’s get you caught up with who has departed from the 2020 class.
- Valdosta QB Tate Rodemaker: Flipped to Florida State.
- Ocala Trinity OT Miller Merriweather-Lewis: Re-opened recruitment on Sunday. Hasn’t indicated where he’ll head but had prior offers from LSU and Auburn.
- Plantation American Heritage OG Khristopher Love: Flipped to Maryland.
- Pahokee LB Frankie Burgess: Departed right after Charlie Strong’s firing. Took visit to Washington State but also received a visit from Maryland head coach Mike Locksley.
- Lake City Columbia WR Marquez Bell: Decommitted hours after Charlie Strong’s firing. All signs point to him signing with Indiana.
- Daytona Beach Mainland RB Taron Keith: Decommitted right after high school season ended.
- Gainesville DT Gentle Hunt: Decommitted in November. Handful of FBS offers.
- Dodge City CC WR Daquan Bailey-Brown: Left class in late October. Offers from Central Michigan, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and Akron.
- Jacksonville First Coast WR Tyree Saunders: Left class in August for Virginia Tech.
- Palm Beach Lakes LB Vincent Starling: First decommit of 2020 class. Currently locked in with FCS South Dakota.