Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Colleges

Despite poor start, USF recruits remain committed

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TAMPA

While the stench of the Bulls' first three football games has sent many scurrying for the exits or message boards or Twitter-verse, others insist they remain firmly beside USF.

They happen to be the ones whose commitment counts most in the long term.

Of the 16 high school seniors widely reported to be firmly committed to USF, the seven from Hillsborough or Pinellas County all have reaffirmed their allegiance to the Bulls since the season began. Some have done so as recently as the past few days.

"Well, I felt disappointed (in the 0-3 start), but at the same time, I believe in Coach (Willie) Taggart," Tampa Bay Tech athlete Tajee Fullwood, who committed over the summer, said Sunday evening.

"A person who comes in isn't going to (turn things around) right away, it's going to take time. I still believe in what he's doing."

That sentiment appears to be shared. Jefferson QB Deiondre Porter, projected as a defensive back for the Bulls, said days after the McNeese State debacle that the 53-21 defeat "made me want to stay committed." Dragons DE/LB Juwuan Brown concurred.

Sunday, Largo LB/S Frankie Hernandez said he remains committed, as does teammate Jarvis Stewart, recruited as an athlete. Go to East Lake CB Devin Abraham's Twitter feed, and his allegiance to USF is glaring.

Late last week, Plant coach Robert Weiner said Panthers CB Mazzi Wilkins remains "fully committed to USF." In 10 seasons at the South Tampa school, Weiner says he has had only one player renege on a prior commitment.

Logic suggests most other commitments remain solid. Fort Myers Dunbar WR Ryeshene Bronson reportedly committed after the McNeese State game.

CB Deatrick Nichols and G Michael Smith both hail from Miami Central, where they were coached until this season by Bulls running backs coach Telly Lockette. Bradenton Manatee OG Michael Galati shares the same alma mater as Taggart.

HALL PASS: USF's 2013 Hall of Fame class — Marquel Blackwell (football), Bobby Paschal (men's basketball, administration), Chris Heintz (baseball) and Dayana Octavien (track and field) — will be inducted Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the T. Pepin's Hospitality Center in Tampa.

Paschal led USF to the NCAA Tournament in 1990 and '92 during his decade as coach (1986-96). Blackwell (1999-2002) was 30-12 as a starting quarterback and still holds a handful of Bulls offensive records. Heintz, a .400 hitter and All-American as a senior in 1996, spent parts of three seasons in the majors. Octavien (2000-04) owns the school hammer throw mark at 209 feet, 10 inches.

HALL PASS, PART II: Lockette, a two-time Division I-AA All-America linebacker at Idaho State in the mid 1990s, will be inducted into his alma mater's sports hall of fame this fall.

A Miami native who starred at Northwestern High, Lockette, 39, will be able to attend. The ceremony is slated for the weekend of Nov. 8-9, when USF is idle.

BULL BITS: Look for a hearty Corbett Stadium crowd when the men's soccer team (2-1-3) hosts Connecticut, ranked 11th by Soccer America, in the Bulls' American Athletic Conference opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday. USF is winless against the Huskies in seven meetings. … The Bulls women (5-1-3), who travel Friday to UCF, have five shutouts. Friday, they held South Alabama, which entered the weekend as the NCAA's scoring leader, to two shots on goal in a 1-0 victory.

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