Bulls nearly finished with 2010 recruiting
USF coach Jim Leavitt has traditionally been a strong finisher in recruiting, lining up big weekends of official visits in January that net much of the Bulls' recruiting classes in early February.
This year, however, a large number of early commitments and a small senior class have USF down to a half-dozen or so players left on the Bulls' radar, a full six weeks before signing day.
"We're stretched right now, because we have so many people back," Leavitt said this week. "Our recruiting is we're down to four guys basically. Four, five, six guys. Maybe six. It's not like there's 20 guys we're recruiting."
How many scholarships are available? USF should have some attrition due to normal offseason turnover, but as it stands, the Bulls have 70 returning scholarship players, which would mean only 15 are available for the incoming class. If senior running back Mo Plancher gets a sixth year of eligibility, that's another scholarship that's spoken for. Asked if he's expecting Plancher back, Leavitt said he's "leaning more towards it than not."
USF can sign more than that number of 14 or 15, knowing that some could wind up not qualifying academically -- last year, the Bulls signed 29 players, knowing full well they couldn't actually bring in more than 25 in any year.
How many commitments do the Bulls have? Depending on who you count, anywhere from 13 to 18, and that doesn't count the four to six players Leavitt said he's still chasing.
I'm going through the process of confirming each again, but for now, I'm counting 13 firm commitments, including the four players expected to join the Bulls in January: linebacker Curtis Weatherspoon, defensive ends Claude Davis and Brandon Wilkinson and lineman Austin Reiter. To those, you can add nine more: quarterback Brion Carnes, offensive linemen Quinterrius Eatmon, Tony Kibler and Daron Rose, receiver Jamaal Montague, safety Mark Joyce, punter Chris Veron and running backs Tiger Powell and Marcus Shaw.
There are five others who could be counted as commitments -- running back Adaris Bellamy, waiting to be cleared out of prep school; Josh Bellamy, who says he'll join the Bulls after finishing junior college this spring; defensive tackle Todd Chandler, who said Wednesday that USF is his top school, but he's still considering other schools, including Central Florida; offensive lineman Justin Green, who plans on joining the Bulls from a Brooklyn junior college; and offensive lineman Jose Jose, who has been reported elsewhere as a commitment but I have not been able to confirm.
It sure sounds like USF is anticipating a handful of returning players to transfer out, or perhaps finish their eligibility early in some cases. Running back Aston Samuels, for instance, graduated this month but has a year of eligibility remaining, though he's been limited by injuries throughout his career. "I don't know what he'll do for sure," Leavitt said this week. "We just have to wait and see."
Who's still in play for USF? Hillsborough cornerback Terrence Mitchell and Manatee receiver Ace Sanders are at the top of the list, and another name just re-entering the picture is Miami Northwestern's Torrian Wilson, who has backed out of a commitment to Stanford. Rivals.com ranks him as the nation's No. 2 guard prospect, and Todd Chandler said Wednesday that Wilson is his closest friend on their high school team. Wilson is considering USF, Michigan and Tennessee, but hasn't lined up a visit with the Bulls yet.