Notes: Huge recruiting weekend ahead for USF
TAMPA -- Nothing shows the family atmosphere of USF football quite like a postseason banquet, and Skip Holtz likes to schedule his biggest recruiting weekend of the year around the event, with a combination of Bulls commitments and top targets in attendance.
This is a huge weekend, then, with about a dozen recruits expected in town, including several top prospects the Bulls are trying to poach from other programs. The biggest name might be running back Randy "Duke" Johnson, a supposedly solid Miami commitment ranked among the top five running backs in the country, who could be attracted to the sudden opening left by junior Darrell Scott leaving for the NFL Draft.
USF doesn't have a linebacker committed yet, but they'll host two coveted ones from Jacksonville's First Coast High -- Reggie Northrup is committed to Miami and Joseph Jackson to North Carolina; the Bulls recently added a former First Coast teammate, cornerback Carl Williams, as a preferred walk-on for this fall. Another top linebacker, Gainesville's Tashon Whitehurst, is visiting despite being committed to Big East rival Syracuse; his teammate and friend, cornerback Chris Bivins, is an early enrollee who started classes at USF on Monday.
Oakland Park's Kameron Davis is a 6-foot-6 offensive tackle still uncommitted, looking at USF and West Virginia, among others. Several Bulls commitments, including Armwood safety Jarvis McCall, will be there as well, serving as recruiters as much as recruits.
The sudden departure of defensive coordinator Mark Snyder to Texas A&M throws a wrinkle into the weekend -- could Holtz possibly have a replacement in place in time? If not, he'll work to impress them enough to keep USF in consideration, with a boost down the road once a hire is made.
COULD GO HIGH: Look for a big USF presence in Thursday's MLS Superdraft, with junior forward Dom Dwyer, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, rated as the draft's No. 2 forward by SI.com and a potential first-round pick. Goalkeeper Chris Blais, who helped the Bulls reached the NCAA Elite Eight, is rated by SI.com as the draft's top keeper, and defender Aubrey Perry also participated in the MLS combine this week.
THIS AND THAT: Bivins had successful surgery last month to repair a torn ACL from a knee injury suffered in his final high school game. He'll miss spring practice but is expected to recover fully by fall practice and will have a solid chance of playing as a true freshman. ... USF's Bill McGillis was at Houston in the late 1990s when new Central Florida athletic director Todd Stansberry worked there, and he calls the Knights' move a "spectacular" hire. ... Jose Fernandez has a top-tier outside shooter in guard Inga Orekhova, who hit six 3-pointers in her Bulls debut Saturday. Much like soccer's Dwyer, she's a potential one-and-done, with a chance of her leaving after this season to play professionally back in Europe. ... Here's an interesting addition to the athletic department. USF has advertised a $50,000 position for a sports psychologist, someone to help the Bulls' mental approach to the challenges of college athletics.