The final recruiting weekend before national signing day is an interesting one for USF's coaches, who can now step back and decide where best to utilize the final two or three scholarships available for the Class of 2012.
One emerging target who will be making an official visit to USF is running back Mike Pierre, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound prospect who went to high school at Orlando's Agape Christian and spent the last two seasons at Golden West College in Huntington Beach in southern California. Pierre doesn't have a scholarship offer from the Bulls yet and said USF has only been recruiting him in the last two or three weeks, but the coaches think enough of him that he said head coach Skip Holtz and offensive coordinator Todd Fitch paid him a visit on Tuesday in Orlando.
"They like my speed and my big-play ability," said Pierre, 21. "They said the running back job is wide-open, so I'd be competing for the starting job."
Pierre is a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com, and you can see a 10-minute highlight reel of Pierre here on Youtube -- check out the last clip and you see he could help out on kickoff coverage for the Bulls as well.
Pierre briefly committed to New Mexico State in December, then stepped back from that commitment -- he still considers NMSU an option, along with New Mexico, San Jose State and East Carolina. His brother, Ronald, a linebacker at Golden West, is being courted by the two New Mexico schools, allowing for the chance for them to play together for another two years.
"But playing in my own backyard is a blessing," said Pierre, who is with his family in Orlando before returning for spring classes at Golden West on Monday.
Pierre had solid numbers at Golden West, rushing for a team-high 730 yards and six touchdowns despite missing the first two games of the season. He said part of his interest in USF is because of Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul, who has family ties in Haiti, as Pierre does.
"If he liked (USF), I think I'll love it," Pierre said. "It's just a feeling I have, but when I visit there, I can tell you more."
USF just added another commitment from another Orlando standout with family ties to Haiti, defensive end Guito Ervilus, who played at Oak Ridge. Here's a feature we wrote for the Times two years ago, detailing the large number of USF football players with Haitian roots.
And yes, there's a wild childhood nickname to report as well: friends call him "Mongoose." As in ... "When I got the ball, I used to run wild, like a mongoose," he explained.