Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

As signing day nears, USF works to hold its commitments

Miami Central's Darnell Salomon reaches out to block Armwood defenders while he runs downfield during Armwood High School's game against Miami Central Senior High School in the Class 6A 2015 FHSAA Football Finals on Saturday afternoon, December 12, 2015 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Zack Wittman   |   Times

Miami Central's Darnell Salomon reaches out to block Armwood defenders while he runs downfield during Armwood High School's game against Miami Central Senior High School in the Class 6A 2015 FHSAA Football Finals on Saturday afternoon, December 12, 2015 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Zack Wittman | Times

TAMPA

The fourth gear beckons. Fans formally have been advised to buckle up. The craziest juncture of the sports season is nearing full throttle, replete with tension down the stretch, and, yes, some crashing and burning.

In other news, the NASCAR season is about to begin.

When it comes to swerving, swaying and even heart-palpitating flips, the Sprint Cup series has nothing on the final straightaway of recruiting season. Count Bulls football fans among those who can attest.

In the past day or two alone, they've experienced the nonbinding chaos of late January in all its fickle glory. On Monday, Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes two-star TE Gabe Nabers announced he planned to sign with FSU, ending his "commitment" to the Bulls after nine days.

"I've been dreaming about a day like this since I first put on a helmet," Nabers posted on his Twitter account Monday evening. "Today I committed to Florida State University."

Meantime, Bulls fans are charting the moves of Tyler (Texas) Junior College OL Craig Smith with mild trepidation. Smith (6 feet 7, 303 pounds) told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday morning he remained committed to USF, which he visited two weekends ago, but he has since visited UCF and was set to travel to West Virginia this weekend.

Additionally, Miami Central four-star WR Darnell Salomon, who pledged to USF in early December, visited Temple last week and reportedly is set to visit Pitt this weekend.

As it stands, USF has 15 nonbinding oral commitments, not counting three early enrollees. If signing day were today (instead of a week later), the Bulls' class would rank second or third in the American Athletic Conference, depending on which national scouting service you consult.

But seven days separate the Bulls from recruiting's figurative checkered flag.

Though fans await a more concrete commitment from Smith, USF still appears in the mix for East Bay three-star S K.J. Sails. A handful of other noncommitted three-star prospects also remain on the Bulls' board.

Such is this particular race to the finish. All the flipping, veering and general volatility arrive before that quintessential command.

Gentlemen, start your fax machines.

BEST OF THE BOTTOM-FEEDERS? During his brief session with reporters Monday afternoon, men's basketball coach Orlando Antigua said his beleaguered club — 4-17 entering tonight's game at Tulane — has been close in every conference contest.

Further research validated the claim. USF, 1-7 in the AAC, hasn't trailed by 20 in any of its eight conference games. Though it has led at halftime only once in AAC play — in Saturday's 71-62 win at Houston — it either has been tied or trailing by three or fewer points at the half in five others.

Saturday, the Bulls sealed things by going 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in the last 1:14. Their 32 total free-throw tries were a season high.

"We were one, two possessions away (in other league games)," Antigua said. "And one of the differences in looking back and reflecting on the Houston game and those previous games was, we got to the free-throw line and we made free throws."

ODDS AND ENDS: The 13th-ranked men's tennis team topped FSU and LSU — ranked Nos. 31 and 30, respectively — at home over the weekend, earning a berth in next month's ITA National Indoor Championship for the first time. … Four-time All-America triple jumper Matthew O'Neal eclipsed his school indoor record with a 54-foot, 8-inch performance in Boston on Friday. The distance is the NCAA's best this season.

AUDIBLE: "You continue to work. The results will happen if we continue to play strong, play together, work hard every day in practice just to get better. You can't worry about that stuff." — Antigua, 13-40 as Bulls coach, when asked how he handles criticism

As signing day nears, USF works to hold its commitments 01/26/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 9:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan feels good after first game action since January

    Sports

    TAMPA — As veteran RW Ryan Callahan was riding a stationary bike before Friday's exhibition game, he felt nervous. There was anxiety.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) pursues Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) during the first period of Friday (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. FSU players rally around freshman QB James Blackman

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — For the first few minutes Saturday, Florida State's James Blackman looked like a true freshman making his first start at quarterback for a big-time program.

    Florida State Seminoles quarterback James Blackman (1) gets sacked during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  Final score, North Carolina State Wolfpack 27, Florida State Seminoles 21.
  3. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  4. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  5. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH: