USF welcomes nine new arrivals
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 00:01
A group of nine new members of the USF football team arrived on campus last week to start classes.
Five transfers from junior colleges around the country, three true freshmen who graduated from high school early and a grayshirt, who was originally in last year's recruiting class before an injury delayed his arrival, make up a group of six new defenders and three offensive players.
Injuries in the secondary last season, as well as the departures of safety Jerrell Young and cornerback Quenton Washington, sent coach Skip Holtz in search of junior college players who could make a more immediate impact because of their age and experience.
"I'm really excited about the additions we have made," Holtz said. "This may be a bigger signing class than our February signing day. … This is a great addition that we've made — not only the players involved, but having the opportunity to have this many players early that will have the opportunity to go through spring practice, which gives them a real opportunity to make the difference on next year's football team."
The newcomers in the secondary are Joshua Brown from Arizona Western Community College, Fidel Montgomery from Southwest Mississippi Community College and Chris Bivins Jr., a true freshman from Gainesville High School.
"(Brown and Montgomery) both bring great athleticism and flexibility because both of them … have the speed and athleticism to play corner," Holtz said. "But I also think they have the toughness to play safety."
Bivins sustained a knee injury in his final high school game and will not participate in spring practice, but is expected to make a significant contribution in the fall.
The group also includes three defensive linemen: Tevin Mims from Navarro Community College and a pair of true freshman in James Hamilton and Eric Lee.
Mims originally went to Texas and played as a freshman before transferring away. Hamilton, at 6-foot-3, 330 pounds, compares well to Cory Grissom or Terrell McClain as a "bigger body," Holtz said.
On the offensive side of the ball, Holtz added a pair of offensive linemen in Lawrence Martin, from Merced College, and Chandlor Matthews, from Pearl River Community College.
Holtz said he expects that Martin is more of an exterior lineman, capable of playing tackle or guard, while Matthews is likely to play on the inside of the line, at either guard or center.
The final member of the new class is wide receiver Alex Mut, who was expected to sign for USF last year before tearing his ACL playing basketball. He chose to wait to enroll, preserving his redshirt year.
Holtz also announced a quintet of players that will not return — cornerback Spencer Boyd, defensive lineman Marquis White, linebacker Armando Sanchez, offensive lineman Tony Kibler and running back Darrell Scott.
Boyd was suspended for the final three games of last season and is seeking a transfer, as is White. Sanchez, who already graduated, was offered 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 that he is projected as a "fourth- to sixth-round pick" from the NFL Advisory Board.
With the additions and subtractions, Holtz said he expects to have "three or four" scholarships available to recruit with, accounting for current verbal commitments.