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Big commit: Jersey tackle (6-9, 330) picks USF

17

January

Three days on the job, and Skip Holtz has his first oral commitment as head coach at USF. Jake Kaufman, a 6-foot-9, 330-pound offensive tackle from Brick Township, N.J., picked the Bulls on Sunday during an official campus visit.

"After the meeting with Coach Holtz, I knew this was the right place for me," said Kaufman, who said he had a slew of strong offers -- Florida, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Miami. "I went to Florida, Georgia, Rutgers, Miami, but when I came here, it was a different feeling, a family environment."

Kaufman, who makes a two-hour commute each day to St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, is athletic enough he talked about playing basketball at Jersey powerhouse St. Anthony's -- his grandfather is close friends with legendary coach Bob Hurley. "I can still do a 180 dunk," said Kaufman, who once thought his future was in basketball when he was a 6-8, 270-pound high school freshman.

Kaufman had thought he was headed to the Big Ten, but after he played in the state championship game at Giants Stadium, with a wind chill of minus-17 and steady snow, he decided he'd had enough of the cold.

"I said to myself, 'I don't want to go to a Big Ten school anymore," he said. "I want to go somewhere warm in Florida."

He took a visit to the Gators, but said USF's offense is likely a better fit -- he considers himself a strong run-blocker, and his basketball background gives him quick feet. His host on the official visit was Damien Edwards, another out-of-state Bull (from Arizona) whose brother Gavin is a basketball player at UConn.

Kaufman said he felt ready to commit to USF when Jim Leavitt was coach, but said his meeting with Holtz reinforced the idea that the Bulls were the right place for him.

"When Leavitt got fired, I was disappointed. He's a great guy," he said. "But Coach Holtz is a great guy, too, and I believe everything he says. He's the type of guy I want to play for. I just can't wait for football season to get here."

Scout.com and Rivals.com rate Kaufman as a three-star recruit, with Scout rating him the No. 52 tackle in the nation and Rivals ranking him No. 68.

-- Also, another huge offensive lineman, Quinterrius Eatmon, confirmed Sunday that he is still committed to USF after making an official visit to Mississippi State this weekend. Eatmon said he will make an official visit to USF next weekend as scheduled.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:57pm]

    

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