TAMPA — In unveiling a 20-member recruiting class Wednesday, USF coach Skip Holtz praised his entire staff, but the Bulls' greatest successes came in two areas about two hours from campus, to the north and the east.
Receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, who helped the Bulls land three key recruits in the Gainesville area, was tabbed by 247sports.com as one of the nation's top 50 recruiters after serving as primary recruiter for four-star tight end Sean Price, cornerback Chris Bivins and linebacker Tashon Whitehurst.
And offensive coordinator Todd Fitch, who recruits the Orlando area for USF, helped the Bulls land five players from there, including four-star receiver D'vario Montgomery and defensive end Guito Ervilus.
The strong Orlando presence was in contrast to the lack of local recruits — if Plant City receiver LaMarlin Wiggins has to go to junior college as expected, the only newcomer from Hillsborough or Pinellas counties will be Armwood safety Jarvis McCall.
"We probably didn't sign the number (of locals) that I would like to, because there's a lot of talented players," Holtz said. "When you're only signing one linebacker, when the one linebacker commits, you're done, and it's hard because you know you're going to drive past some guys that are going to play college football that are very talented players."
LOYALTY: Price committed to USF in June and saw national powers such as Oklahoma and Georgia recruiting him to the very end but said nothing was changing his mind.
"I've known it was USF from Day 1," said Price, who said he will wear No. 21. "The coaches have been recruiting me for a while, and they kept it real throughout the whole process. I respect them a lot for that. … It's not only a big opportunity for me, but a big opportunity for the team as well to take it to the next level and blow everyone's minds. This is the beginning of a great four or five years for me and for USF."
BIG AND TALL: Defensive end Daniel Perry of Fort Lauderdale brings considerable reach to USF's pass rush — the Bulls list him at 6 feet 8, 225 pounds, and while he put himself at 6-7, his size is impressive. He's athletic enough that he just rejoined University School's basketball team, which is ranked No. 10 in ESPN's state rankings with a 20-2 record and needed size in the post. Perry's brother David is a defensive end at Miami, and he said his family is trying to split its college clothing evenly between the two loyalties.
STRONG FINISH: Wednesday's big additions were Oakland Park Northeast tackle Kam Davis and Whitehurst, who Holtz noticed while scouting Bivins in the fall: "I went to watch (Bivins) play during the open date and walked off the field and said, 'Who in the world is 21?' He makes every tackle on the field, he's all over the place, and I'm really excited to get him to commit to South Florida. Very versatile, athletic linebacker that's going to help us down the road."
PASSING ON QBS: Holtz didn't sign a quarterback, leaving limited depth for 2013, but he said after losing commitment Tyler Cameron to Wake Forest in December, he didn't want to add a quarterback just out of necessity.
"We would have liked to have a quarterback," Holtz said. "When you looked at some of the quarterbacks that were available, we were behind, and I did not want to take one just to take one. At that point, I said I'd rather hold onto it. I feel very comfortable with our quarterback situation right now. … We'll address it in next year's recruiting class.
"We were on the phone with juniors (Wednesday). … It will definitely be a priority as we move forward. … Without a doubt, you have a chance to get one of those difference-makers."