USF football setting up pipeline at Orlando Olympia
Tuesday's news that USF had lured Orlando Olympia defensive tackle James "J.T." Hamilton out of a previous commitment to FSU means the Bulls will have three players from the school in two years, and a long relationship with Skip Holtz could result in more Titans deciding to be Bulls.
Hamilton, rated among the top 100 players in the state according to ESPN and the Orlando Sentinel, is a 6-foot-3, 340-pound prospect who had scholarship offers from Florida State and Clemson among others, with some schools recruiting him as an offensive lineman.
"He's a big body. He's not easy to move, and a lot of those schools fell in love with him because of his size, and his mobility for his size," said Olympia coach Bob Head.
Hamilton is an early enrollee who will graduate in December and can join the Bulls in January. The primary reason for him changing his commitment to USF was a desire to play with his first cousin, current Bulls freshman linebacker Corian Hamilton, an Olympia grad.
"They're really tight. That's the reason he's going to South Florida," Head said. "It all came down to that, and he felt like he'd have a quicker opportunity to get on the field."
USF also signed an Olympia alum in defensive tackle Marquis White, who played basketball at Olympia but not football -- J.T. also played basketball in his first two years of high school.
USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch has handled the Bulls' recruiting efforts at Olympia -- he and Holtz had one of their greatest successes in landing Olympia's Chris Johnson, who starred as a running back for them at East Carolina and went on to rush for 2,000 yards in 2009 with the Tennessee Titans. Fitch also recruited Olympia when he coached with Holtz at South Carolina.
What's interesting for USF is that with three Olympia players on roster next season, the Bulls will be in good position to land some of four talented juniors on the current roster: RB/WR John Armstrong (J.T.'s best friend), left tackle Shawn Curtis, linebacker Ramar Dennis and defensive end Nathan Obinwa.
"We've got a good relationship with Skip and Todd, and I'm real impressed with Mark Snyder," Head said. "I'm real impressed with their whole program. They do a good job."