Three weeks to Signing Day, recruiting notes ...
Making lots of phone calls this week, trying to check up on USF's current commitments and figure out who the last half-dozen or so will be. So there's lots of notes -- none probably worth a headline by itself, but collectively a lot going on as USF works to wrap up what should be its highest-ranked class ever.
-- First, some math: Defensive tackle Anthony Hill, the former FSU signee who joined the team last week, can count toward USF's 2008 class and will not count against the 2009 total. A school is limited to 25 initial scholarships each year, and players who join a team in January can be rolled back to the previous year's count if the school didn't use all 25 initials the previous fall. So while Hill will be a freshman this fall, he won't count against USF's limit, so the Bulls could sign an additional 25 players on signing day and still not be overbooked. Again, a few academic casualties are to be expected, so the Bulls could easily sign 28 or 29, understanding that two or three have already been placed at junior colleges, anticipating they're unlikely to qualify academically. This doesn't hurt the Bulls in terms of APR or anything, but allows USF to establish a relationship with a recruit for two years later -- think of Theo Wilson or Leslie Stirrups.
-- From the standpoint of having interesting backstories, it's hard to beat defensive end Demi Thompson among USF's current commitments. "Demi," he explained Tuesday, is short for "Oluwademilola," which in his parents' native Nigeria, means "The Lord has crowned me with wealth." His parents, Joseph and Sola, were born in Nigeria, but Demi was born in England, near London, moving to the United States when he was 2 years old. He's USF's second defensive commit from Lake Mary in as many seasons, following linebacker Mike Lanaris last season.
-- One name not to worry about: Former Lakeland standout John Brown, who hasn't played in two seasons as a defensive tackle at Florida, is not transferring to USF. He's come by USF twice in the past two weeks trying to speak with coaches, but my understanding is that USF is happy enough with its recruiting on the defensive line that Brown isn't part of their plans.
-- One name we mentioned last month is Faron Hornes, the tiny but quick junior college receiver and return specialist who was offered a scholarship by USF coach Jim Leavitt. Talked to him Tuesday, and he's still very interested in USF, though he wasn't sure when or if he would make an official visit to Tampa, which makes me wonder if he's still high in USF's plans. Hornes, who is good friends with USF commit Edgard Theliar, said the offers he's weighing are from USF and Colorado, with strong interest from Cincinnati and Florida State. He said he'd know more about his plans once he returns to Butler Community College for spring classes next week.
-- One Butler player USF remains very active in recruiting is defensive back Rudell Crim, who will make an official campus visit this weekend. He said Tuesday that his decision should come down to USF and Arkansas -- he visited Fayetteville and called the weekend "great," saying he felt at home and could see himself playing for the Razorbacks. He's played a little of everything in the defensive secondary -- Arkansas likes him as a safety or nickel defensive back, while USF apparently sees him as a cornerback. The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Crim, a Tallahassee Rickards grad, said he also had considered Oregon, Louisville and Illinois before narrowing to his final two.