ST. PETERSBURG — The recruiting buzz surrounding Alonso High School defensive end Anthony Chickillo continues to grow, but the coveted recruit said Wednesday night that he's keeping the USF Bulls as one of his official visits, even as other top programs try to join his list of final choices.
Chickillo considers himself a Miami commitment, though that pledge has softened considerably since Randy Shannon was fired. New Hurricanes coach Al Golden will visit his Tampa home Thursday night, and he has official visits lined up to Florida this weekend, then USF on Jan. 14 and Miami on Jan. 21. For his final visit, he's considering Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, Tennessee and USC.
Defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick has recruited Chickillo for USF, and the recruit said the relentless way the Bulls have stayed on him is something that's impressed him.
"Coach Patrick, we always talk on the phone. He's a great guy," Chickillo said. "He's been recruiting me the whole time, and I really like him a lot."
Chickillo earned team MVP honors Wednesday, getting the nod over South Carolina phenom Jadeveon Clowney, ranked as ESPNU's No. 1 recruit in the nation. The two bonded during a week of practice and the game and talked about the possibility of playing together in college.
"It would be something. I think we'd be bookends," Chickillo said.
Chickillo will be part of the biggest recruiting weekend the Bulls have ever hosted, with about 25 players expected to visit the Bulls on the same weekend as the team's postseason banquet. Skip Holtz will have a combination of many of his current commitments as well as some of USF's top final targets, players like Chickillo and a half-dozen receivers. USF is believed to have four remaining scholarships in play beyond their current commitments for 2011.
Two of Chickillo's top choices have had coaching changes in the past month, but Miami remains the team to beat -- his father Tony and grandfather Nick also played for the Hurricanes.
"I'm learning about Coach Golden every day," he said. "On Feb. 2, I'll definitely know where I want to go."