Immokalee's Bayes is Bulls' first 2014 commitment
Any commitment more than a year before a recruit's potential signing should be taken with a grain of salt, but Willie Taggart has picked up USF's first commitment for 2014, as Jimmy Bayes, a versatile prospect from Immokalee, accepted a scholarship offer on Wednesday.
A year ago, USF's first commitments for 2013 came from Immokalee's Tshumbi Johnson and Xavier Richardson, and neither will end up signing with the Bulls. But Bayes said Thursday that he's firm in his commitment and excited about playing for the Bulls.
"They're right around the corner, two hours from where I live at. What more could I ask?" said Bayes, who has developed a quick bond with Bulls linebackers coach Ray Woodie and Taggart. "It's a firm commitment. I'm excited."
Where will Bayes line up for the Bulls? That remains to be seen. At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, he's played primarily as a defensive end and receiver/tight end at Immokalee, but said his scholarship offer was officially as an outside linebacker, with the possibility of a look as a safety.
Bayes said he chose the Bulls over offers from Vanderbilt, Rutgers and Missouri, and he's excited about the chance to play with Immokalee defensive tackle Deadrin Senat, a senior who is committed to sign with the Bulls next week.
Immokalee defensive coordinator Israel Gallegos said Bayes will be a two-way starter this fall, working at WR/TE and at DE/OLB and making plays on both sides of the ball. Bayes can now focus on the classroom as a senior and improving his game for the college level.
"I don't know how they're going to use him. He's an athlete," Gallegos said. "He's got good hands, good work ethic. Whether they see him on defense or offense, I think he'll excel either way."