TAMPA — Two days after Florida won a national championship, USF pulled a major recruiting coup Saturday, beating out the Gators to get an oral commitment from heralded Armwood defensive end Ryne Giddins.
"Why not?" Giddins said Saturday night after committing during an official visit to USF. "I felt more comfortable at USF. I felt the love."
Giddins, 6 feet 4 and 235 pounds, is a two-time Times defensive player of the year. He is rated a four-star recruit by both major recruiting services and is ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 2 pass-rushing defensive end and No. 61 overall recruit in the nation. ESPN.com ranks him as the No. 65 recruit.
Giddins, 18, the 2008 CSTV national defensive player of the year, also considered scholarship offers from programs such as Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina and Tennessee. Just a few days before Christmas, Giddins said he was down to the Bulls and Gators.
As a junior, Giddins had 21 sacks. That number dropped significantly in 2008 (he had five) as opposing teams avoided him as much as possible. Even so, he had 75 tackles, 21 QB hurries and 10 pass breakups for one of the state's most dominant defenses.
Giddins said he enjoyed his recent visit to Florida (he liked the players and coaches) but simply felt more at home at USF. That makes sense; he lives less than 10 minutes from campus.
His mother, Sabrina, will be particularly happy with his pick. Giddins recently told the Times that, while she said she'd support him no matter where he went, it wasn't a secret that she wanted him at USF.
It seems mom will get her wish.