Bulls still in play for top recruits
USF already has a recruiting class that ranks fifth in the Big East, but the next nine days are a huge opportunity for a class that could be ranked much higher.
How much is still in play for the Bulls? Consider that of USF's in-state commitments, only one -- Miami Northwestern linebacker/safety Quavon Taylor -- was ranked in the Orlando Sentinel's top 100 state prospects (he was No. 78). The Bulls, however, are among the final choices for six prospects ranked in the Sentinel's top 70.
Topping the potential Bulls at No. 17 is Hialeah defensive lineman Cory Liuget, who visited USF this weekend despite a commitment to Illinois; joining him this weekend is the No. 24 prospect, Miami Northwestern receiver Tommy Streeter, arguably the biggest talent you could call USF a favorite to get. B.J. Daniels, the quarterback from Tallahassee Lincoln who visited USF a week ago, is No. 29, Pahokee receiver Tay Odoms is No. 53, Largo cornerback Leonard Johnson is No. 54 and Plant receiver Derek Winter is No. 70. Again, I wouldn't rule USF out on any of those kids. USF will oversign, knowing some signees who fail to qualify will be placed at junior colleges, and others could be nudged into deferring enrollment until January, moving them to next year's class.
I can't remember a year in which USF was in the hunt for so many kids who say they're waiting until national signing day (Feb. 6) to announce their decision. That could make for a huge late windfall for the Bulls, or could leave them scrambling for backup choices at key positions. The visits are largely completed so much of the real work in recruiting these kids is now done. ...
-- Just in case you were doubting the leg of USF commitment Maikon Bonani from Lake Wales, here's a nugget from the Lakeland Ledger. During a soccer district tournament game last week, he sent an indirect kick 65 yards -- the story calls it "stunning," and the kick bounced over the goalie into the net. Only reason it wasn't a goal was that it wasn't touched by a player. To top that, a day later, Bonani went double duty in penalty kicks, nailing one for Lake Wales, then lining up in goal against Kathleen. Lake Wales opens the playoffs at home on Tuesday.
-- I don't know that running back was anything of a priority in USF's recruiting this season, with Georgia's Demetris Murray committed early and three of the top four backs being freshmen in 2007, but UCF picked up a nice commitment Sunday in Largo's Brynn Harvey, who rushed for a Pinellas County record 2,581 yards as a senior. USF has heavily recruited his teammate, cornerback Leonard Johnson, so the Bulls are well aware of Harvey's talents. With Kevin Smith leaving for the NFL Draft, UCF is an easy sell to talented running backs looking for playing time.
-- Remember, too, that three of USF's most highly touted recruits are junior college players who won't show up on best-of-Florida lists despite being from the state. Rivals.com's list of the top 100 junior college recruits includes three future Bulls: defensive end David Bedford ranks 10th, receiver Anthony Jones is 39th and linebacker Kion Wilson, already enrolled at USF this month, is 77th. It looks like USF did little to pursue former Middleton star O.J. Murdock (ranked 87th), who sought to transfer directly to the Bulls from South Carolina last summer and spent this fall at Pearl River in Mississippi. He's headed to Marshall.