Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

Transfer portal paying dividends for USF football

Charlie Strong’s depth chart is filling up with Power Five transfers
North Carolina's K.J. Sails (9) breaks up a pass intended for Miami's Jeff Thomas during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Published May 6

TAMPA — To those patient enough to listen, Charlie Strong indicated in early February he’d supplement his modest-sized 2019 signing class with transfers.

That declaration didn’t sit well with fans agitated by the 19-player class’ feeble ranking (fifth in the American Athletic Conference, per 247Sports) in the wake of a 7-6 season. Many wanted more of a splash on signing day.

Strong has countered by doing a veritable cannonball in the transfer pool.

With roughly 2 1/2 months remaining until fall camp, the Bulls have fortified their ’19 defensive depth chart with two ― and possibly three ― transfers from Power Five schools. And they may not be finished tapping into the portal.

The latest is East Bay High alumnus KJ Sails, who started 14 games in three seasons at North Carolina. A former four-star cornerback, Sails announced Saturday evening he’s transferring to USF.

If he clears the admissions process and his hardship waiver is granted, he’ll join safety Devin Studstill (Notre Dame) and linebacker Patrick Macon (Oklahoma State) in preseason camp. And he’ll strengthen what is evolving into a very strong portal pipeline for USF.

If Sails, Macon and Studstill all pan out this preseason, the Bulls’ two-deep chart in 2019 could feature as many as eight players who transferred from Power Five programs: quarterback Blake Barnett (Arizona State), tailback Jordan Cronkrite (Florida), tight end Jacob Mathis (Ole Miss), slot receiver Eddie McDoom (Michigan), offensive tackle Jarrett Hopple (Virginia Tech) and the defensive trio.

That’s nearly 20 percent of the two-deep chart.

Kinda removes some of the signing day sting, eh?

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

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. UCF running back Bentavious Thompson, right, runs for a 32-yard touchdown as he gets a block from offensive lineman Edward Collins (70) against East Carolina defensive lineman Chance Purvis, center, during the first half in Orlando. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    The Knights lose focus a bit in the third quarter, allowing 17 unanswered points.
  2. USF quarterback Jordan McCloud, who is definitely not 100 percent, runs with the ball as Navy safety Kevin Brennan (10) tries to stop him during the first half Saturday in Annapolis. Navy won 35-3. JULIO CORTEZ  |  AP
    Journal: The junior walk-on shows some promising flashes in his fourth-quarter cameo at Navy.
  3. Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry (10) scores on a touchdown run as USF defensive back KJ Sails, left, and defensive back Mike Hampton are unable to stop him during the first half. JULIO CORTEZ  |  Associated Press
    The offensively hamstrung Bulls can muster no passing game in a 35-3 loss.
  4. Judy Genshaft reveals USF's new academic logo during the annual fall address at the Marshall Student Center on Sept. 5, 2018, in Tampa. Times
    The Tigers began rolling out new logo but stalled after public backlash. Sound familiar?
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Killorn (17) and right wing Luke Witkowski (28) celebrate with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) after the Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout in an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) ELISE AMENDOLA  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: There was bad news Thursday in the Tampa Bay penalty box, for USF’s Blake Barnett, for the Yankees and the NFL’s reigning MVP.
  6. BYU linebacker Max Tooley (31) tackles USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) during the second half of last week's game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Game-day guide: And Will Muschamp’s South Carolina tenure looks almost exactly like his time with the Florida Gators.
  7. USF defensive back KJ Sails (9) breaks up a pass intended for South Carolina State wide receiver Will Vereen during a Sept. 14 game at Raymond James Stadium. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  Associated Press
    Life, and death, compelled the East Bay High alumnus to transfer from North Carolina
  8. USF quarterback Blake Barnett (11) tackled by SMU linebacker JC Rispress (32) while throwing during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 28. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The graduate transfer quarterback injured his ankle against SMU.
  9. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) celebrates his touchdown reception with wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (89) and tight end Kyle Pitts (84) in the first half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: Times college football writer Matt Baker discusses Florida-South Carolina, USF-Navy, FSU-Wake Forest and the conference already out of the College Football Playoff picture.
  10. Florida head coach Dan Mullen prepares to take the field with his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Some mid-year thoughts on the Florida Gators, FSU Seminoles, USF Bulls, plus some predictions for what happens next.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement