Bulls pick up first RB commitment
USF's recruiting push for help at running back has its first commitment, from right in the Bulls' backyard. Josh Bellamy, a 6-foot, 183-pound senior from Boca Ciega, committed to USF coach Jim Leavitt during a home visit Thursday night. Bellamy had been recruited by Florida, Iowa State, Indiana and others, but said he wanted to stay close to his family and help the Bulls.
"It's my home. I feel I should keep my talent right here," said Bellamy, who rushed for 966 yards and 11 touchdowns in eight games this season. "I had a feeling I was going there, but with Coach Leavitt coming by today, it sealed the deal."
Bellamy (the photo shown is from the Times' Lara Cerri) said he was impressed with Leavitt's persistence Thursday -- he met Bellamy at school, then watched him as he practiced for the Pinellas All-Star Game (on Dec. 6), then closed out the day with an in-home visit. Offensive line coach Greg Frey and running backs coach Carl Franks had done most of USF's recruiting, Bellamy said.
Bellamy, who said he will take a scheduled visit to Western Michigan this weekend rather than cancel at the last minute, said he's looking forward to playing at USF with another Bulls commitment, former Gibbs star Kevin Williams, who will enroll in January. And Leavitt might not be done at Boca Ciega: Bellamy said the school's talented junior prospects, quarterback Orhian Johnson and 6-foot-1 receiver Aaron Kincy, would "most likely" follow him to USF in 2008.
A few more notes: I'd teased a few days back to Leavitt making a home visit in Fort Myers. No, best I can tell that wasn't all-world running back Noel Devine (or "Ned Devine," as he was referenced on a message board). Talked to North Fort Myers coach James Iandoli on Thursday, and he said Leavitt simply visited one of his commitments, NFM cornerback Quenton Washington. Washington's having a monster year -- 11 interceptions, plus more than 500 receiving yards. Anyhow, Iandoli said he wouldn't rule out Devine and USF, said it's an avenue that's been discussed, and Washington's commitment helps the Bulls a lot, but he also said nobody from USF had called him about Devine in weeks. Devine, by the way, is in a new batch of trouble.
One more basketball recruiting update: I've had a few people ask me about Brandon Stores, the 6-foot-9 forward who signed with USF two years ago but failed to qualify academically. He's putting up decent numbers at College of Southern Idaho (loyal blog readers will remember CSI from the David Sills days) ... but after talking to the coach there today, he said he hasn't gotten the first call from USF about Stores. It's probably a smart move by Robert McCullum -- he got stung by the kid on academics once, so it would look pretty bad if the same thing happened again.