Q&A with Armwood defensive end Ryne Giddins
If there was a turning point in USF's recruiting class, when the Bulls' efforts started turning from good to great, it was the night of Jan. 10, when Armwood defensive end Ryne Giddins stood up at dinner at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City amid a group of recruits on an official visit to USF and announced he was going to be a Bull.
Commitments starting piling in from that visit, and the momentum from that weekend's haul has carried through to signing day. We talked with Giddins on Wednesday morning at his signing day ceremony at Armwood, about USF, about schools that have tried to pry him away from the Bulls, and about pulling a prank on Jim Leavitt and staff just to keep things light ... (photo, left, from the Times' Stephen J. Coddington)
I'm sure this is an exciting day, even if you've been committed for the past three weeks. Have you had a lot of schools still calling and trying to sway you away from USF?
Yes. Just a few weeks ago, USC came down, wanted me to take my official visit out there. I told them I had peace in my decision, and God put in my heart that USF was the spot for me. I give him all the glory. It's been a wild experience -- a lot of schools pushing themselves into my house, stuff like that. I don't want to give too many names, but Florida State came, North Carolina came, Florida came.
Is it hard to keep saying "I've made up my mind"? That's a lot of big schools knocking on your door.
It's very hard to tell someone no. I want to make everyone happy. I sat down with my mentor, Pastor Ron Ellis, and we sat down and talked about it. He prayed about it for me, I prayed about it myself. I came to the conclusion that USF is the best place for me to go.
You're wearing a green-and-gold Bulls cap. How exciting is it to know it's official now?
I'm real excited. I'm ready to get going now. I know in a few months we have a game. They play Florida State and Miami this year. This is my home, so I'm going to protect this house now.
Tell me about your announcement -- rather than wait until the end of a weekend visit, you stood up in the middle, in front of everyone, and said you were on board with the Bulls.
It was a two-story restaurant, and I went up there above to do it. I tricked Jim Leavitt though. I said 'My name is Ryne Giddins and I will be attending the University of Florida ... South Florida. All of them were like 'Aw, man.' You should have seen his face. His jaw dropped really fast. But they're really happy, and I'm excited and ready to get things started. I want to get the defense down, plays down, workout down, get me in the program, get an education, get the grades knocked out and get started.
You mentioned grades. How close are you to having the scores and grade-point average you need to be at USF this fall?
I'm real close. I need a couple more points on my ACT and I should be done. I'm taking it this Saturday.
Which assistant coach had the biggest role in bringing you to USF?
Coach (Kevin) Patrick. He came by whenever he was allowed to, all the time. He called me, did a lot of things to show how committed they were. Once I committed, they still on me. They didn't back off at all.
What is your plan for this fall -- do you expect to come in and play right away as a freshman?
I want to play right away in the fall, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. It's up to my body how fast I can get bigger. I'm 6-4, 235 pounds. I'd like to be 240. They'd like me to play both sides. I can play both now, but I want to learn it in their defense, too.
How much does it mean to have a year to line up with George Selvie, to watch him and learn from him?
I'm really happy Selvie decided to stay, because now he can teach me all the stuff he knows and I can pass it down, from generation to generation. I'm excited about that, looking forward to playing with George Selvie and the rest of the d-linemen.
Who else do you know among the incoming freshmen?
(Hillsborough running back) Lindsey Lamar. I know him pretty well. I've played against him, and he was here before he transferred to Hillsborough. We text back and forth all the time. He's electrifying. I played with him my freshman year, and I've played against him since then.