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As second signing day nears, which positions will USF target?

A look at some of the Bulls’ greatest areas of need entering the recruiting cycle’s final stretch.
Expect USF third-year sophomore Jordan McCloud, who started 10 games last season, to get serious competition for the job this spring. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
Expect USF third-year sophomore Jordan McCloud, who started 10 games last season, to get serious competition for the job this spring. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Jan. 14

After holding down two jobs for a grueling five-week stretch, new USF coach Jeff Scott’s moonlighting days are over.

Meaning all of his waking hours ― including most of those moonlit ones ― now can be committed to the Bulls.

Scott, whose coordinator duties with Clemson formally ended with Monday night’s College Football Playoff title game, has three critical weeks before the next national signing day on Feb. 5. USF signed only nine players during the early period in December, when Scott hadn’t yet hired any assistants.

And if the Bulls’ abysmal autumn was any sign, USF’s needs are numerous. Here are four areas we expect Scott and his staff to target, via the signing period and transfer portal, in early 2020.


USF linebacker Tony Grier Jr., here wrapping up Marshall wide receiver Simino Walden in the 2018 Gasparilla Bowl, played out of position a bit last season. [JONES, OCTAVIO | Tampa Bay Times]

The next linebacker USF signs from the Class of 2020 will be the first. Now that grad-transfer Patrick Macon has moved on, the Bulls again possess a gaping hole in the middle. Beefed-up sophomores Dwayne Boyles and Tony Grier valiantly attempted to fill that void when Macon was hurt down the stretch last season, but both are better suited for the outside. USF desperately needs a sturdy run stuffer it can plant in the center of its scheme, and might pluck one from the portal again.


Charlie Strong’s steady refrain last fall about his play-making deficiency at receiver had some merit. Randall St. Felix’s 22 receptions led all Bulls wide receivers in 2019. By contrast, five non-tight-end pass catchers had 22 or more in 2018. Scott pulled off a coup of sorts in December when he got a signature from three-star prospect Omarion Dollison, who had 86 catches at Columbia (S.C.) Gray Academy last fall. Still, the Bulls need more, a lot more.

Related: USF turns attention toward Armwood defensive back, Chamberlain lineman

Defensive end

USF's Rashawn Yates (91), here with defensive back Nick Roberts, will return at defensive end but the Bulls still need to bolster the position. [ANDREW J. KRAMER |]

Another area in which Scott may reload via the portal. Veterans Kirk Livingtone and Greg Reaves, two of USF’s sturdiest players and best citizens, have departed after combining for 74 career starts. Darius Slade (32 tackles, two sacks) also is gone after a grad-transfer season. While the depth chart still is dotted with promise (i.e. Rashawn Yates, Jason Vaughn), this position must be replenished, and fast.


North Carolina Cade Fortin (6), here handing off to running back Michael Carter (8), transferred to USF and is one of many players under center vying to start for the Bulls. [DANNIE WALLS |]

Brace yourselves for a bustling derby. USF has three scholarship quarterbacks ― incumbent Jordan McCloud, sophomore Jah’Quez Evans and North Carolina transfer Cade Fortin ― on board, and we expect Scott to add at least two more. Lake City Columbia dual threat Jordan Smith is expected to sign in February, and three-star pro-style QB Hunter Helms ― who threw passes to Dollison at Gray Academy ― reportedly visits later this month.


  1. USF coach Brian Gregory's team (8-11, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) is on a four-game skid entering Sunday afternoon's contest at No. 25 Houston. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    In a conference teeming with parity, the notion of USF reaching the NCAA Tournament isn’t far-fetched.
  2. New USF offensive coordinator Glenn Spencer addresses players during the Bulls' first team meeting of 2020. [Joey Knight]
    The coaches each get a $10,000 bonus for a regular-season win against UCF.
  3. Jeff Scott takes over at USF in his first head coaching stint and if he instills a bit of Clemson swagger and culture, who's to argue with what works. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TImes]
    The Bulls’ new football coach is installing the cornerstones of the ultra-successful national championship program in Tampa.
  4. New USF football coach Jeff Scott, right, talks to members of the football team during a meeting at USF last week. Since then, Scott and his staff  have remained on the recruiting trail, landing six new non-binding commitments. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    New coach Jeff Scott has received six new commitments since Sunday.
  5. USF Bulls guard Laquincy Rideau (3) shoots a 3-pointer over Wichita State Shockers guard Dexter Dennis (0) during the first half at the Yuengling Center. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The Bulls shoot 30 percent from the floor in a 56-43 defeat at the Yuengling Center.
  6. Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall's club was ranked as high as 16th in the Associated Press poll earlier this month before losing two in a row last week. [MICHAEL PEREZ  |  AP]
    Both teams will try to break out of skids in tonight’s ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ game at the Yuengling Center.
  7. Chamberlain offensive tackle Cesar Reyes said via Twitter on Sunday he plans to sign with USF. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Bulls fortify depth at quarterback and on the offensive line.
  8. USF sophomore Elisa Pinzan had seven 3-pointers Sunday in the Bulls' 64-57 loss to UCF at the Yuengling Center. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times] [Joey Knight]
    The Knights sweep a weekend of basketball against the Bulls.
  9. USF senior point guard Laquincy Rideau (3) drives in the first half of his team's 55-54 loss Saturday at UCF. [Photo provided by UCF Athletics] [UCF Athletics]
    The Bulls coach doesn’t hold back following his team’s controversial 55-54 loss in Orlando
  10. USF sophomore center Michael Durr faces a daunting challenge on Saturday night in Orlando against UCF 6-foot-11 veteran Collin Smith. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
    The Bulls, who appear on the cusp of a breakthrough win, haven’t defeated the Knights since 2015.