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USF signees include Largo’s Raymond Collins, Plant’s Leonard Parker

The Bulls are expected to sign most of their 2019 recruiting class today
USF coach Charlie Strong (center) is expected to have most of his 2019 signing class secured before Thursday night's Gasparilla Bowl. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Dec. 19, 2018
Updated Dec. 19, 2018

The Bulls, notoriously slow starters even in most of their victories this season, continued that trend Wednesday when the NCAA's early signing period commenced.

The first USF signee, Orlando WR Xavier Weaver, wasn't announced until 7:57 a.m., nearly a full hour after the signing period's formal 7 a.m. start. By contrast, the University of Florida already had announced nine signees by then.

But the Bulls' pace accelerated from there.

By 9 a.m., USF had announced six signees, including bay area prep stars Raymond Collins (Largo) and Leonard Parker (Plant). By the early evening, that number had grown to 19.

Among the group  were three cornerbacks, three linebackers and three defensive ends, positions that Coach Charlie Strong had specifically addressed as areas of need.

Atlanta QB Jahquez Evans emerged as an afternoon surprise. Courted heavily by no fewer than three other American Athletic Conference programs, Evans is ranked the nation's No. 21 dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports. He becomes the sixth scholarship QB on the Bulls roster.

Among those getting away were Miami Carol City three-star DT Malcolm Ray, a Bulls verbal commitment who instead signed with FSU. Former Sickles CB Kelvin Clemmons, a Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College cornerback pursued heavily by the Bulls, instead signed with Minnesota.

Yet Strong, who reportedly had 18 verbal commitments entering the signing period, betrayed no concerned Monday when asked about the Class of 2019.

"There's not gonna be any surprises," he said. "We know who we're gonna get and it's already done."

Listed below are those who already have signed with USF. We'll update it throughout the day.

LB Demaurez Bellamy, Deland (5-10, 210)
RB Josh Berry, Davenport Ridge (6-0, 181)
WR Logan Berryhill, Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County (6-4, 186)
OL Joshua Blanchard, Miami Norland (6-3, 279)
CB McArthur Burnett, Coffeyville (Kan.) CC (5-9, 172)
OL Raymond Collins, Largo (6-3, 289)
CB Jayden Curry, IMG Academy (5-11, 190)
CB Daquan Evans, Orlando Evans (5-11, 175)
QB Jahquez Evans, Atlanta Mays (6-2, 180)
LB Tae'Aviion Gray, Quitman (Ga.) Brook County (6-2, 215)
OL Dustyn Hall, Punta Gorda Charlotte (6-3, 277)
WR Kelley Joiner, Groveland South Lake (5-9, 180)
DE Tyrik Jones, Arizona Western CC (6-2, 235)
OL Matthew McDuffie, Glen St. Mary Baker County (6-5, 310)
DE Thomas Nance, Lake Region (6-3, 240)
S Leonard Parker, Plant (5-11, 188)
DE Jason Vaughn, Auburndale Advance Prep (6-5, 225)
WR Xavier Weaver, Orlando Christian Prep (6-1, 165)
LB Darius Williams, Miami Norland (6-0, 210)

Some notes of interest on the signees:

* Williams had 19 of his 58 tackles this season against IMG Academy on Aug. 31. He also finished the year with six sacks.

* Weaver, who totaled 2,124 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns in four seasons, is the first Orlando Christian Prep player to sign with a Division I-A program.

* As a Plant senior, Parker had 45 catches for 789 yards and 10 TDs, as well as 53 tackles and three interceptions. He projects as a safety at USF.

* Joiner ran for more than 4,500 career yards and 55 TDs at South Lake. He almost certainly would've joined the state's pantheon of 5,000-yard rushers had he not broken his fibula in early September.

* Collins totaled 21 pancake blocks, 25 tackles and 3.5 sacks over his final two seasons at Largo. His offense generated 2,023 rushing yards in 2018

* Burnett, who played six games at Florida in 2017, returned two of his four interceptions for TDs last season at Coffeyville.

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