One of the more bizarre local recruiting odysseys has ended with Robinson LT Connor Rafferty telling Times staff writer Greg Auman he will sign with Division I-AA Samford.
A first-team pick on the Times' 2012 all-Hillsborough County team, Rafferty committed to USF last summer when Skip Holtz was still Bulls coach. While the offer wasn't formally rescinded when Willie Taggart replaced Holtz, was encouraged to explore other options.
He ultimately got offers from Samford, Eastern Kentucky, Buffalo and Louisiana Tech. He told Auman he chose the Birmingham, Ala., program because of its modest-sized campus and classes.
"I felt really comfortable there," Rafferty said.
An honors student who takes dual-enrollment courses at Hillsborough Community College, Rafferty (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) has qualified academically, according to retired Knights coach Mike DePue.
He becomes the second USF commitment to opt for a I-AA program following Holtz's dismissal. Jesuit DE Brad Smith recently de-committed and announced he'll sign with Lehigh.