Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

USF Bulls hoping to cap recruiting season with two more solid commitments

TAMPA — It has been a quiet final month of recruiting for USF, but if today pans out as expected — beating out Big East rivals for a pair of in-state recruits — the Bulls will have closed out their 2012 class as a relative success.

Skip Holtz hopes to hear good news today from Gainesville LB Tashon Whitehurst, who had been a Syracuse commitment, and Oakland Park OL Kam Davis, who is deciding between USF and West Virginia. Both are rated as three-star recruits by Rivals.com, which has USF with the fifth-best class in the Big East. Holtz will have made it through January without losing a commitment, despite defensive coordinator Mark Snyder leaving for Texas A&M.

USF has a pair of four-star recruits in Orlando WR D'Vario Montgomery and Citra North Marion TE Sean Price; Montgomery was targeted by LSU in the past week, with Price drawing strong interest from Oklahoma and Georgia. And Holtz brought in eight newcomers in January, giving them an early start to help fill the holes on a team that returns a strong nucleus.

There are positions that have not been addressed. The lack of a QB means USF will be gambling heavily on being able to land an elite passer in the next year. Running back, too, will be a position where USF can sell a top recruit on early playing time, with only one scholarship back younger than a junior on the fall roster.

Holtz went into this recruiting season with only 14 scholarships available due to a small senior class, and going into today's signings, the Bulls have a class that Scout.com rates as the worst in the Big East and 70th nationally. But with a strong close and the benefits of spring practice for nearly half the newcomers, it should be a class that can help with depth at key positions in 2012.

BIG OPPORTUNITY: Halfway through the Big East season, the women's basketball team is 12-10 and 4-4 in conference, but if the Bulls get a home win tonight against West Virginia (15-6, 5-3), there's much in play in the next month.

USF has played well in its seven games since junior Inga Orekhova joined the team, and Jose Fernandez has tweaked his lineup, making freshman G Shalethia Stringfield and junior F Tiffany Conner starters. Despite having top scorer Andrea Smith miss the season with a knee injury, USF has a chance to finish in the top half of the Big East.

Of the remaining eight games, only Notre Dame can be written off as a sure loss, and a 6-2 finish would put the Bulls at 18-12 entering the Big East tournament, where an upset could put them on the NCAA bubble.

THIS AND THAT: USF is finalizing an agreement to turn over management of the renovated Sun Dome to Global Spectrum, a Philadelphia-based firm that manages the arenas at UCF and Miami. … Former USF walk-on LB LaDre Watkins, who last played for the Bulls in 2009, has transferred to Florida International and will play for the Panthers this fall. … Having gone from a 3-15 Big East record last season to its current 6-3 mark, the men's basketball team has the best improvement in conference record of any team in the "Power 6" major conferences. Only Iowa State and Indiana have even two more league wins than last season.

Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] and at (813) 226-3346.

Comments
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Avalanche

Could tell just how much Ryan Callahan meant in the Lightning dressing room by hearing teammates talk about his latest injury. Steven Stamkos said he was "sick to my stomach." Brayden Point called him a "heart and soul player." Teammates all saw how ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

The good news for the Lightning is that GM Steve Yzerman is hopeful RW Ryan Callahan will be ready to go in 3-4 weeks when his upper body injury is re-evaluated. The hard part, however, is finding someone to replace the veteran wing. "I don’t know if...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony got the cheers but the Knicks got the win, shutting out their former All-Star in the second half and beating the Thunder 111-96 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory. Michael Beasley tied his season high with 30 ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

BOSTON — Mats Zuccarello scored a power-play goal 1:56 into overtime to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Saturday. Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller also scored for the Rangers, who won for the ninth time in 13 games (9-3-1) overall...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Sports in brief

MLBTRADE SENDS KEMP BACK TO L.A.OF Matt Kemp was reacquired by the Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Braves. The Dodgers sent 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Brandon McCarthy, INF Charlie Culberson and cash to Atla...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

LAS VEGAS — Cedrick Wilson caught 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, safety Kekaula Kaniho returned an interception 53 yards for a score and No. 25 Boise State beat Oregon 38-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. Brett Rypien threw for 362 yard...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: Florida State at Texas12:30 p.m.FS1Women: Georgia Tech at Georgia1 p.m.SECStony Brook at Providence2:30 p.m.FS1North Carolina at Tennessee3 p.m.ESPNSavannah State at Baylor3 p.m.Fox SunWomen: USF at Florida International...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Cabreras team up for first-round lead at Father/Son Challenge

ORLANDO — Two-time major winner Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the Father/Son Challenge. Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in the pop...
Updated: 9 hours ago