USF at 'top of list' for ex-Gators receiver Dunkley
USF made a big splash last summer by landing three scholarship transfers from major college football programs, and the Bulls could have another this spring in Chris Dunkley, a former five-star recruit from Pahokee who is transferring after one year at Florida and has visited with Bulls coaches about joining their program.
"I think USF is the top one on his list," said Blaze Thompson, Dunkley's coach at Pahokee High in 2009. "A lot of schools have expressed interest in him, but USF is the only one he has actually visited. They're interested in him, and he had asked me to look into them as well."
Dunkley redshirted in his only season at Florida and said in a statement last week that he wanted to get "a fresh start somewhere else." The 5-foot-11, 174-pound receiver was rated by Scout.com as the No. 8 receiver nationally in the Class of 2010 (No. 9 by Rivals) and chose the Gators out of high school over schools like Alabama, Georgia, Miami, West Virginia and Michigan.
Dunkley's grades had been in question at Florida, but Thompson said he will be able to finish spring classes with a grade-point average of 2.0 or higher, which would allow him to accept a scholarship at another school. By NCAA rules, he will have to sit out the 2011 season, giving him three years of eligibility at his new school starting in 2012. Dunkley will still have to be accepted into school at USF, but Thompson said his understanding was that "things are moving forward" with the Bulls, after talking with USF assistant coach Kevin Patrick, who recruits Pahokee.
Thompson said he vouched for Dunkley in talking with Patrick, saying that the receiver "is not perfect and made some mistakes at Florida" but that "he understands he doesn't have many opportunities" beyond what he'll have at his next school. As a player, Thompson said his talent is unquestionable as one of best receivers ever to play at Pahokee.
"Obviously he was fast, and he has great hands, and a great knowledge of the game," Thompson said. "He's the type of player you just get the ball in his hands and he will make something happen. He was a special player for us."
USF recruited Dunkley out of Pahokee, and the Bulls had a commitment for much of last year from one of his teammates, Rontavious Atkins, though he wound up at Western Michigan after USF offered only a grayshirt in January due to academic concerns. Thompson made it clear at that time that USF's decision would not hurt the Bulls' relationships at Pahokee.