A group of nine new members of the USF football team arrived on campus lastweek to start classes.
Five transfers from junior colleges around the country, three true freshmen whograduated from high school early and a grayshirt, who was originally in last year’srecruiting class before aninjury delayed his arrival, makeup a group of six new defenders and three offensive players.
Injuries in the secondarylast season, as well as thedepartures of safety Jerrell Young and cornerback Quenton Washington, sent coach Skip Holtz in search of juniorcollege players who could make a more immediate impactbecause of their age andexperience.
“I’m really excited aboutthe additions we have made,” Holtz said. “This may be abigger signing class than our February signing day. … This is a great addition that we’ve made – not only the playersinvolved, but having theopportunity to have thismany players early that will have the opportunity to go through spring practice, which gives them a real opportunityto make the difference onnext year’s football team.”
The newcomers in thesecondary are Joshua Brown from Arizona WesternCommunity College, Fidel Montgomery from SouthwestMississippi Community Collegeand Chris Bivins Jr., a truefreshman from GainesvilleHigh School.
“(Brown and Montgomery) both bring great athleticism and flexibility because bothof them … have the speedand athleticism to playcorner,” Holtz said. “But I also think they have the toughness to play safety.”
Bivins sustained a kneeinjury in his final high school game and will not participatein spring practice, but isexpected to make a significant contribution in the fall.
The group also includes three defensive linemen: Tevin Mims from Navarro CommunityCollege and a pair of truefreshman in James Hamilton and Eric Lee.
Mims originally went to Texas and played as afreshman before transferringaway. Hamilton, at 6-foot-3,330 pounds, compares well to Cory Grissom or TerrellMcClain as a “bigger body,”Holtz said.
On the offensive side of the ball, Holtz added a pair ofoffensive linemen in Lawrence Martin, from Merced College,and Chandlor Matthews, from Pearl River CommunityCollege.
Holtz said he expects that Martin is more of an exteriorlineman, capable of playingtackle or guard, whileMatthews is likely to playon the inside of the line, ateither guard or center.
The final member of the new class is wide receiverAlex Mut, who was expectedto sign for USF last yearbefore tearing his ACLplaying basketball. He choseto wait to enroll, preservinghis redshirt year.
Holtz also announced a quintet of players that willnot return – cornerbackSpencer Boyd, defensivelineman Marquis White,linebacker Armando Sanchez,offensive lineman TonyKibler and running backDarrell Scott.
Boyd was suspended forthe final three games of last season and is seeking atransfer, as is White. Sanchez,who already graduated, wasoffered a job in the “business world” and accepted. Kibler,who was arrested in the fall for an on-campus break-in, was not invited back. Scott opted to enter the NFL Draft after hearing thathe is projected as a “fourth- to sixth-round pick” from the NFL Advisory Board.
With the additions andsubtractions, Holtz said heexpects to have “three orfour” scholarships available torecruit with, accounting forcurrent verbal commitments.