TAMPA — When Skip Holtz and his new USF staff sat down to look at video of Bulls recruiting targets, it didn't take long to be impressed with Hillsborough CB Terrence Mitchell.
"(Defensive backs coach) Rick Smith, second play, he goes, 'Turn it off. Take him. What are we doing? We're wasting our time.' " Holtz said in announcing a 19-member recruiting class signed Wednesday. "You look at the way he can run; he is the complete package. Obviously he was very highly recruited, and you can see why. He's athletic, he's fast, but he'll throw his body around. He's not afraid of contact. You'll see a lot of corners that run around and are allergic to leather."
Mitchell, a four-star recruit and part of ESPNU's Top 150, is the jewel of Holtz's first class, persuaded last week to back out of a commitment to Florida State. He wore an olive dress shirt and white Bulls cap as he signed in the auditorium at Hillsborough, with his cousin, Bulls freshman RB Lindsey Lamar, in attendance.
"USF was a better situation for me," Mitchell said. "Being comfortable at home, knowing I'm 10 minutes from my momma and my daddy. It's a very special day for me."
NICE FLIP, SKIP: Seven signees committed to USF after Holtz was named coach less than three weeks ago after the firing of Jim Leavitt, and four of those were lured out of previous commitments. In addition to Mitchell, the Bulls landed another four-star recruit in Miami Northwestern DT Todd Chandler, a former Miami commitment who also strongly considered Louisville.
Hollywood Chaminade LB Hans Louis had been committed to Marshall, and Williston WR Deonte Welch was committed to Arkansas until Monday.
955 POUNDS OF BULL: Among the signees are three offensive linemen, all at least 6 feet 5 and 315 pounds. The biggest is New Jersey's Jake Kaufman, listed at 6-8 and 320 pounds — Holtz mentioned he wears size-19 shoes.
"I don't care if he can't move his feet, they have to run around him," Holtz quipped.
And Belle Glade's Tony Kibler, 6-5 and 315 pounds? "He's shaped like a refrigerator. He's a box," Holtz said.
IMPRESSED?: QB Jamius Gunsby of LaGrange, Ga., is listed at 6-4 and 210 pounds, and offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said he's athletic enough to average 17 points and 11 rebounds for LaGrange's undefeated basketball team. … RB Marcus Shaw of Arcadia was explosive enough that in one game against Estero, he rushed for 344 yards on eight carries ... in one half. He had touchdown runs of 72, 44, 80, 40 and 68 yards. … Mitchell's nickname is "T-Rex," which goes back to Little League. "He tackled the person so hard that he roared, so they called him T-Rex," Lamar explained. Mitchell, like Lamar, plans to run track at USF.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"This one was, 'Fire. Ready. Aim.' We didn't have a lot of opportunities to sit down and decide where to target. We hit the ground with our feet running. I can't commend and compliment (enough) the previous staff here under Coach (Jim) Leavitt for the job that they did in organizing and building these relationships."
Skip Holtz, on the wild scramble of his last three weeks