If USF coach Charlie Strong has his druthers, the Bulls' late-season funk will end the night before the Gasparilla Bowl.
The NCAA's 72-hour early signing period starts Dec. 19, the day before the Bulls face Marshall at Raymond James Stadium. Strong said he hopes to have nearly his entire 2019 signing class secured at that time, which would replicate last year's early signing flurry.
Twenty-four of the Bulls' 26 Class of '18 signees were secured last Dec. 21, two nights before USF topped Texas Tech in the Birmingham Bowl. Only defensive tackles John Waller and Tyrone Barber waited until the conventional February signing day to fax in their respective letters of intent.
"(The early period) helps us in that maybe you're recruiting a really outstanding player and you get him signed, and now you don't have to worry about (teams) chasing him and him taking other visits," Strong said Thursday at a Gasparilla Bowl function on Harbour Island.
"We had a big weekend last weekend, I think this weekend we've got 10 or 11 coming in. And then next weekend, since we're practicing for the bowl game, it gives us a chance to bring in more recruits."
USF currently has 17 non-binding commitments for this year's class, but Strong said he hopes to sign the maximum 25 allowed by the NCAA. The class, currently ranked sixth in the American Athletic Conference by 247Sports, includes three defensive backs and two projected outside linebackers.
Those areas, in addition to a middle linebacker and pass rusher, are among USF's greatest needs, Strong said Thursday.
"You've got to get those guys and get 'em into the program," Strong said, "and you'd like to get 'em in for spring so that they can start to work in January."