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USF’s Alex Golesh begins roster replenishment with ‘blue-collar, hard-working cats’

Thirteen of the 30 signees in the Class of 2023 are transfers from four-year colleges.
 
New USF football coach Alex Golesh's inaugural signing class features 30 players, including 13 transfers from four-year colleges.
New USF football coach Alex Golesh's inaugural signing class features 30 players, including 13 transfers from four-year colleges. [ JOEY KNIGHT | Times ]
Published Feb. 1, 2023|Updated Feb. 1, 2023

TAMPA — To this point in his brief USF tenure, Alex Golesh has served as more of a field surgeon than football coach, establishing a depth-chart triage of sorts, then working marathon shifts to patch his hemorrhaging roster.

On Wednesday, the sixth coach in program history reported a lineup on the mend, courtesy of a 2023 signing class featuring 17 high school and junior college additions, and 13 transfers from four-year universities.

And while tons of work remains to get the foundering program he inherited back to full strength, at least the Bulls now possess enough prospects at each position to — well — stage a standard spring practice.

“I’m excited just purely about the types of guys we got,” said Golesh.

“We set out on a mission in December of taking what we said our kind of guys are. So what are our kind of guys? Those would be winners, and tough, blue-collar, hard-working cats. And every single guy we signed fit that mold.”

The first glance may not placate some fans, who watched their 1-11 team finish last in total defense (516.6 yards allowed per game) and next-to-last in scoring defense (41.2 points per game) in 2022. The Bulls signed only six defensive players between Wednesday’s 14 late signees and the 16 who signed in December.

But Golesh said they’re not finished adding players (the spring transfer-portal window opens in April), adding the myriad departures on offense — transfers, graduates, NFL draft declarations — made that side an immediate priority.

Case in point: Golesh and his staff signed eight offensive linemen but had only seven on scholarship upon their arrival, a shortage he called “criminal.” The loss of three receivers to the portal prompted the staff to sign six replenishments at the position. And veteran kicker Spencer Shrader’s transfer to Notre Dame resulted in the signing of Virginia transfer Brendan Farrell.

“You can see that where you lost bodies is where we replaced bodies,” Golesh said.

Related: National signing day: Live updates on USF, Florida Gators, FSU and more

“That was the starting point and that’s why I say we’re two-thirds of the way there, because I think this spring transfer-portal period will allow us to then actually scrap the numbers, don’t worry about the numbers. Where are the actual holes in terms of where we’re not good enough? Because (last) in the country (in defense) would not be good enough at this point.”

Meantime, Golesh added some intrigue to the program’s seemingly perpetual quarterback derby, getting an 11th-hour commitment from 6-foot-1 California high school standout Israel “Izzy” Carter.

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Rated the nation’s No. 33 quarterback prospect from the Class of 2023 in 247Sports’ composite rankings, Carter pledged to Arizona State some time ago but flipped following a weekend visit to Tampa. His change of heart coincided with controversial former Florida signee Jaden Rashada’s commitment to the Sun Devils.

Golesh said Carter has graduated and is expected to arrive on campus in May, leaving promising redshirt freshman Byrum Brown to likely get most of the spring reps. Gerry Bohanon, the 2022 opening-night starter, still is rehabbing a shoulder injury; and junior Katravis Marsh still is recovering from a broken neck sustained against SMU.

“(Carter) is as ready-made of a high school guy as you’re going to get,” Golesh said. “So watching him over the last couple of years and evaluating him over the last couple of years, he was always in the back of my mind in terms of, if you can go get a high school guy, that’s the guy you want.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

USF signees

High school/junior college additions

OL Deonte Bowie; 6-4/325; Blinn (Texas) College

S Tawfiq Byard; 6-1/197; Hyattsville (Maryland) DeMatha Catholic

WR Demitrius Carter; 6-3/175; Steinbrenner

QB Israel Carter; 6-1/186; Corona (California) Centennial

LS Trey Dubuc; 6-2/220; Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons

TE Gerard Edimo; 6-5/215; Round Rock (Texas) Stony Point

OL James Jenkins; 6-5/270; Carrollwood Day

RB Jaylen Johnson; 5-9/190; Baxley (Georgia) Appling

WR Tyree Kelly; 6-3/195; Cairo (Georgia)

OL TJ Lawrence; 6-5/285; Orange Park Fleming Island

CB Jarvis Lee; 5-11/173; IMG Academy

OL Nikola Milovac; 6-6/280; Clearwater Academy International

OL Drew Perez; 6-8/330; Southlake (Texas) Carroll

WR Keshaun Singleton; 6-3/190; Norcross (Georgia) Meadowcreek

OL Cole Skinner; 6-5/305; Point Pleasant (New Jersey) Boro

WR JeyQuan Smith; 5-10/175; San Bernardino (California) Cajon

DL Stantavious Smith; 6-1/261; Albany (Georgia) Dougherty

Four-year college transfers

QB Bryce Archie; 6-3/205; Coastal Carolina

OL Derek Bowman; 6-5/280; Houston

CB Kendall Dennis; 5-10/187; Oklahoma*

K Brendan Farrell; 6-0/209; Virginia

RB Dominic Gonella; 5-11/200; North Dakota State^

DE D.J. Harris; 6-2/235; Texas

WR Seth Jones; 5-11/190; Baylor

TE Teigan Martin; 6-6/220; Liberty

OL RJ Perry; 6-6/325; Tennessee

WR Naiem Simmons; 5-10/175; Wagner

DE Lloyd Summerall; 6-5/220; Florida*

TE Weston Wolff; 6-4/240; Maryland

RB Nay’Quan Wright; 5-9/202; Florida

* Attended Lakeland High

^ Attended Bloomingdale High

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