Derrick Calloway should get some playing time along with Elkino Watson (53) and James Hamilton (90) at defensive tackle. - Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Calloway flipped his commitment from Louisville to USF on Sunday night, and his verbal followed commits from two other defensive linemen and another defensive back.
Like the one before it, this past weekend saw a number of high school prospects taking their official visits to USF. But unlike the one before it, the commitments started rolling in on Sunday morning. A total of four players verbally committed to the Bulls -- a couple of long-term projects on the defensive line, a free safety that helps fill a big need, and late Sunday evening, a surprise flip from Louisville to USF.
The first commit was Eric Mayes, from Booker High School in Sarasota. Mayes took his official visit over the weekend and verbally committed on Sunday morning. Mayes is a 6'4", 240-pound defensive end with room to grow, and he gives the Bulls a chance to develop a larger, more physically dominant player at a position where they've lined up speedy, undersized pass-rushing types for a long time. Rivals and 247 both list Mayes as a three-star prospect.
As Greg Auman noted in his blog post about Mayes, the Bulls can afford to redshirt Mayes this season and let him keep bulking up. They have plenty of defensive end depth in 2013, with Aaron Lynch eligible after sitting out his transfer year, plus Ryne Giddins, Tevin Mims, and Julius Forte all back.
Next to commit was another potential defensive end, Mike Love from Countryside High School in Clearwater. Love is definitely a project, weighing in at only 210 pounds and maybe even less than that, depending on who you believe. But he has plenty of potential -- he was the Tampa Bay Times' 2011 Pinellas County defensive player of the year, and followed it up with another strong season in 2012. Rivals rated Love a three-star prospect, while 247 gave him two stars.
One thing to note with Love: He's not academically qualified yet, something that may have prevented the old coaching staff from offering him. According to his high school coach, he's not far off, though.
The third commit of the day was defensive back Hassan Childs, from Osceola High School in Kissimmee. Childs also took his official visit to USF over the weekend, went back home, and decided to make the call Sunday evening. Childs was originally committed to N.C. State, but when the Notorious TOB was let go, he re-opened his recruitment. Hassan played cornerback for the Kowboys, but both the Holtz staff and Taggart's staff recruited him to play safety. He had eight interceptions last season, two pick-sixes, and two punt returns for touchdowns. Both Rivals and 247 rated Childs as a three-star prospect.
Then came the shocker of the evening. I haven't yet figured out how Willie Taggart did it, I assume it was some kind of Jedi-level maneuver, but he managed to get Bradenton Manatee's Derrick Calloway, a Louisville commit who was taking his official visit with the Cardinals this past weekend, to flip his commitment to USF. It was widely assumed that the Bulls were out of it for the 300-pound defensive tackle after his official visit the previous weekend. Also, former defensive line coach Kevin Patrick had been recruiting him for USF, and he was not retained by Taggart. (Calloway verbally committed to Louisville on the last day of 2012.) But the new coaches went to work and somehow got him on board. Rivals rates Calloway as a four-star prospect, 18th overall at defensive tackle, and 43rd overall among all Florida prospects. 247 has Calloway rated as a high three-star prospect.
The common thread in all of these commits was getting the entire coaching staff in place. All of these stories have quotes from either the commits themselves or their high school coaches about the new position coaches or their coordinator, Chuck Bresnahan. (Hassan Childs was especially excited to play for new defensive backs coach Ron Cooper.) Getting the staff nailed down well before National Signing Day is serving USF well as the recruiting cycle winds down. It's giving Taggart a chance to put a bigger stamp on his first recruiting class than most new coaches are usually able to do.