All recruiting eyes turn to Forte's decision
USF has landed three key commitments from a big weekend of official recruiting visits, and another could be coming soon from Boca Ciega defensive end Julius Forte, who is said to be choosing between the Bulls and Big East rival Louisville.
Forte, a three-star recruit according to both major recruiting sites, did not commit during his campus visit but sounds close to making a decision. USF got a boost over the weekend with news that Louisville defensive coordinator Bill Miller, on the job less than a month, left to take a job as co-defensive coordinator at Kansas, which is closer to his family and his 85-year-old father. Miller had replaced Ron English, who became head coach at Eastern Michigan last month.
Forte told a Louisville recruiting site that the latest coaching shift wouldn't hurt Louisville, but it's hard to imagine it's helping the Cardinals' chance of luring him away from a close-to-home option. The Bulls already picked up a key defensive end commitment over the weekend in Armwood's Ryne Giddins, and the addition of a player like Forte would help USF earn the highest national recruiting rankings in its young history.
-- USF is still battling for former Boca Ciega star Josh Bellamy, who signed with the Bulls in 2007 but did not qualify academically. Bellamy, who has played two seasons at Butte Community College in California, committed to Iowa State on Sunday after making an official visit, but on Monday called it a "soft verbal" and admitted he could still change his mind. "I just got off the phone with Coach Leavitt," he said Monday afternoon, saying the Bulls were trying to convince him to stay close to home. The big issue? Bellamy wants to play receiver, where he caught nine touchdown passes this season, and Leavitt has been pushing Bellamy to play safety for the Bulls. "He said I can play anything I want, but I don't know how they would use me, and I only have two years, so I could get lost in the system," Bellamy said. Bellamy's friend and teammate at Boca Ciega and Butte, Preston Pace, has committed to Louisville. Then again, he wasn't aware Monday that Miller had left the Cardinals, but said that wasn't likely to change his mind in the next few weeks.
-- A little early to be thinking about 2009, but given the big names from key teams leaving early for the NFL Draft, it's doubtful there will be a runaway preseason team to beat in the Big East next season. A writer on West Virginia's official site, noting that Mountaineers guard Greg Isdaner is leaving for the NFL ranks, suggests that USF will "nab preseason honors in 2009" with quarterback Matt Grothe and defensive end George Selvie returning as seniors.
-- With Monday's news that Colts coach Tony Dungy is retiring, it's a reminder that USF remains the first and only scholarship offer for Dungy's son, Eric, who just finished his junior season as a receiver and safety at Plant High in Tampa. Check back for more on Dungy, Forte and on USF's recent commitments ...