It’s been a busy month for coach Jeff Scott and the rest of the USF football staff, as they have secured a number of athletes both from the transfer portal and out of high school to play for the Bulls in 2022.
In total, six players have committed to USF next season in November. Four coming via the transfer portal, including defensive linemen James Ash from Wake Forest, Nick Bags from Temple, Clyde Pinder Jr. from UNC and running back Michel Dukes from Clemson.
Joining them is defensive lineman Eddie Kelly out of West Orange High School and linebacker Jhalyn Shuler from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.
With five of the impending newcomers being defensive players, including four on the line, it’s fair to say Scott saw the need to revamp the unit in the offseason. Each of the players are former three-star recruits coming out of high school, with the exception of Shuler, who does not have a ranking, and Pinder Jr., who is a former four-star player, according to 247Sports.
The players are added to a 2022 recruiting class ranked 10th best in the AAC and 103rd nationally by 247Sports. The other athletes currently committed to the Bulls are all coming from high school, including quarterbacks Gunnar Smith and Byrum Brown, wide receivers Javohn Thomas and Cade Roberts, and cornerbacks Tavin Ward and Tony Newsome.
Thomas, Smith, Roberts and Newsome are all from Florida, while Brown is from North Carolina and Ward from South Carolina.
USF is expected to continue to hit the transfer portal hard. The Bulls brought in key playmakers last season who logged significant time in 2021, including running back Jaren Mangham from Colorado, wide receiver Yusuf Terry from Baylor and defensive backs Christian Williams from Miami, Matthew Hill from Auburn and Will Jones from Kansas State.
In a press conference after USF’s 17-13 loss to UCF on Nov. 16, Scott said he believes he has more of a grasp of his roster’s strengths, while also hinting at some “silent commits” that have yet to announce their intentions of coming to the Bulls.
“Ultimately, with [former defensive coordinator Glenn] Spencer, I’m not sure I did a good enough job matching up the scheme that I hired him here [to do] to the personnel we had,” Scott said. “Now, I know a lot more about our personnel and where we are strong [and] where we can do things.
“I also know we’ve got some silent commits still out there. I know the guys that are coming in, so that can kind of play into who we want to be.”
With the Early Signing Period opening Dec. 15, there will likely be more players committing for the 2022 season in the coming weeks.