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An in-depth look into USF football transfers

Junior wide receiver Naiem Simmons from Wagner College was the third transfer announced on National Signing Day. TWITTER/@NaiemSimmons

Despite losing notable players to the 2023 college transfer portal, South Florida football still snagged a handful of promising new signees of its own.

Departed players like sophomore running back Brian Battie, junior kicker Spencer Shrader and sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Horn Jr. left the Bulls after receiving offers from other schools. Battie will make his way to Auburn, Shrader is now at Notre Dame and Horn Jr. will spend his time at University of Colorado Boulder.

The NCAA college transfer portal gives football players an opportunity to change institutions without losing a year of eligibility given a decision is made between Dec. 5 and Jan. 18. There will be another window from May 1-15.

This cycle, the Bulls received a hefty transfer class, all with multiple years of eligibility.

Here is a first look into coach Alex Golesh’s first transfer class now that the portal window is closed.

Redshirt sophomore running back Nay’Quan Wright enters as USF’s second transfer from UF.

During his time with the Gators, Wright played for three seasons. In 2022, he played in seven games and started in four of them. He joined the Bulls with 47 rushes and two touchdowns, one of which was a seven-yard running touchdown over South Florida on Sept. 17.

Wright tweeted on Jan. 2 he was “ready for his next chapter.” He officially committed to the Bulls on Jan. 16.

Transferring from the University of Virginia is sophomore kicker Brendan Farrell. Recruited by coach Chad Creamer, Farrell comes with a career 97.5% extra-point percentage and was also ranked fourth best in the ACC in 2021 with a 84.6% field goal percentage.

Farrell also averaged 1.22 field goals per game, which was the seventh best in the ACC. He led UVA in overall scoring with 67 total points.

Before college, Farrell was the place kicker and punter at Marist School. He was named Dekalb County Kicker of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and the all-state kicker by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Georgia Athletics Association.

Redshirt freshman Derrick ‘D.J.’ Harris joins the Bulls as their newest defensive edge lineman.

While only playing one game last season for the Longhorns, Harris had a noteworthy high school record. The six-foot-two, 235-pound player was ranked No. 188 nationally and No. 29 in the state of Texas by ESPN.

Midlands region recruiting analyst Gabe Brooks described Harris as a dangerous blitzer when he scouted him in 2018.

“Athletic, toolsy linebacker who could fit multiple schemes. High-major prospect who could become multi-year starter with long-term NFL Draft ceiling,” Brooks said.

South Florida adds freshman offensive lineman Deonte Bowie from Blinn College. The 6-foot-4, 325-pound JUCO product comes to USF with prominent rankings.

Ranked by the 247Sports Composite, Bowie was placed No. 44 for the best JUCO player and second-best JUCO prospect.

Bowie was also given verbal offers to Florida A&M, Illinois State, McNeese State, Middle Tennessee State, Norfolk State, North Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Texas A&M Commerce, UNLV and Western Kentucky.

Returning to Tampa Bay is redshirt sophomore Kendall Dennis. Leaving Oklahoma, Dennis played in seven games with four total tackles last season.

Dennis was named a four-star prospect by 247Sports and ESPN out of high school. National writer Charles Power said he has advanced ball skills on both interception and punt returns when he evaluated Dennis in 2021.

“Showcases his playmaking ability on both interception and punt returns, flashing quick feet, play speed and vision in the open field. Plays well in aggressive man coverage with the ability to use his short area quickness to stay with receivers off the line,” Power said.

Junior wide receiver Naiem Simmons comes to the Bulls from Wagner College. The New Jersey native earned All Northeast Conference recognition in 2021.

Throughout the 2022 season, Simmons had 50 receptions for 796 yards and six touchdowns.

Marking the Bulls’ third player from Baylor, redshirt freshman Seth Jones is the newest addition to the wide receiver room.

In the 2022 season, Jones caught seven receptions for 73 yards and played in four games. He arrives at USF with three seasons of eligibility.

Jones will be reunited with junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon and junior wide receiver Yusuf Terry.

Rejoining Golesh at his new home, redshirt sophomore offensive lineman RJ Perry will be coming to USF from Tennessee University.

Perry played in every game for the Volunteers on special teams in the 2022 season and in seven offensive competitions. He arose from Fairfield Preparatory School in Fairfield, Alabama and was named a three-star recruit by 247 Composite rankings.





Honorable mentions

 Redshirt freshman Weston Wolff is USF’s newest tight end from University of Maryland. The Florida native will return after playing in three games for the Terrapins.

Freshman offensive tackle Derek Bowman committed to South Florida from the University of Houston. The six-foot-five, 290-pound player appeared in two games for the Cougars.

Sophomore running back Dominic Gonnella is another Bay-made athlete coming home from North Dakota State University. Before his early exit, Gonnella played in 10 games for the Bison.

For other transfer news including UF’s redshirt sophomore defensive end Lloyd Summerall and Coastal Carolina’s freshman quarterback Bryce Archie, read here.