Make us your home page

Strong, staff embark on final recruiting stretch



A month into his new gig, Bulls coach Charlie Strong's heralded recruiting chops are being put to a stern test.

At a point when in-state recruiting never has been more fierce, Strong is trying to retain some of the recruiting momentum built by predecessor Willie Taggart. Retaining some of Taggart's most prominent verbal commitments would be ideal.

It's premature to say whether Strong, hindered by a late start, will succeed right out of the box.

With 2 1/2 weeks remaining until national signing day, USF's 2017 recruiting class is ranked fifth in the American Athletic Conference by 247Sports, and eighth by Bulls have 12 non-binding verbal commitments and two "soft" ones, according to 247Sports.

That total doesn't include Miami Central WR Jernard Phillips, a three-star prospect who has confirmed via Twitter that he already has enrolled at USF.

So far, at least two Taggart pledges, Jefferson DE J'Bril Glaze and Orlando Dr. Phillips WR Emare Hogan, have de-committed (Glaze has since committed to Virginia Tech).

A handful of others, such as three-star Cocoa ATH Bruce Judson, remain "committed" to the Bulls but are taking other visits. Judson said Friday he doesn't know yet when he's visiting USF.

But Strong and his staff have been noted for sparkling finishes.

The last three pivotal recruiting weekends for Strong begins today, with several prospects set to visit Tampa. Arguably the most prominent is Latavious Brini, a four-star cornerback from Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy. A onetime Georgia commitment, Brini is ranked the state's fourth-best player at his spot by

Others who have confirmed their trip to Tampa this weekend include Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas C Zachary Sweeney and Jacksonville Lee OG Demetris Harris. Both are deemed three-star prospects by 247Sports.

Two Clearwater standouts -- WR Jacquez Jones and DE Kane Taylor -- also are on campus.

The following weekend also shapes up as huge, with Hillsborough ATH Duran Bell, Jefferson OL Jean Marcellus and Orange Park Oakleaf CB Nick Roberts among those who have confirmed USF visits.

[Last modified: Saturday, January 14, 2017 11:52am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours