The Bulls landed what may be their biggest recruit in program history when Armwood High School defensive end Ryne Giddins signed his letter of intent on Signing Day, Wednesday.
Giddins is ranked No. 4 in the country and No. 1 Florida by rivals.com.
With help from George Selvie and Craig Marshall, Giddins will lead what could be the strongest part of the Bulls’ defense.
“We’ve got one of the top defensive lines in the country,” Giddins said. “It all comes with Selvie staying here. I am very proud of him making the decision to stay here and helping me work as a team. We can work together and make something happen at USF.”
The No. 10 best Florida prospect said he hopes to learn a few things from his predecessor.
“Technique and how nasty the game is down there at the line of scrimmage, because it all starts right there,” Giddins said. “What to do, what not to do and how to hold my composure.”
As a high school junior, Giddins broke the school’s season record of 18 sacks with 21. He made 98 tackles the same year.
Armwood coach Sean Callahan said Giddins is a team player.
“He’s done a very good job for us,” he said. “He represents us well and understands what the word ‘team’ means.”
Coach Jim Leavitt received more defensive end signings than any other position in this year’s class.
“I’ll just say bam!” Leavitt said. “And Ryne will know exactly what I’m talking about … I love him. He’s the best.”
Boca Ciega High School’s Julius Forte will join Giddins and four other incoming defensive ends.
“There’s a lot of competition, because Giddins has committed and Selvie is still there,” Forte said. “(Competition) always brings out the best in me. I’m looking forward to it.”
Giddins, the No. 2 ranked pass rusher in the state, has been looking forward to playing college football.
“When I was a freshman, I saw (Dougie Thompson and Donald Rivers) signing and I was like, ‘Man I want to be in their shoes,'” Giddins said. “I pressed forward and worked out with my defensive line coach every day after school.”
Giddins said he chose USF over Florida after his campus visit. He also turned down offers from Tennessee, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Miami and North Carolina.
“At Florida, I felt not at peace there, like I always have to impress somebody,” he said. “At USF, I can be myself and impress everybody.”
The incoming freshman said the relationship with the coaches helped his decision, too.
“(Leavitt) is a great coach — a wild coach,” he said. “He fits my personality. I love that. He’s just as good as any other coach.”
Giddins’ mother is happy he is staying close to home.
“I’ve seen Ryne grow,” she said. “He’s matured very much into a man. I was hoping he would choose (USF), because in my heart I feel that’s where God wants him to be. I think he’s going to make a difference at USF. He is going to be a big impact.”
Giddins joins 28 other incoming and finalizes what could be the best USF class in school history.
“I am ready for the competition,” Giddins said. “I’m getting ready right now — my legs, my arms, my chest. I’m getting ready mentally. I’m ready for that pressure and the ball to come to me so I can snatch it and run.”