USFishin Posted July 18, 2008 Group: Member Topic Count: 0 Content Count: 2,277 Reputation: 13 Days Won: 0 Joined: 07/10/2003 Share Posted July 18, 2008 Rising USF is holding its own in recruitingPosted on Fri, Jul. 18, 2008By RYAN T. BOYDrboyd@bradenton.com Last season was not the first year the South Florida football team won nine games in a season. It happened twice before, in 2006 and 2002.But last season had a different vibe.The Bulls showed they are capable of competing in every game, not just against the lower-tier opponents.The Bulls showed they are capable of possibly winning a Big East Championship or national title someday.More importantly, the Bulls showed they have the talent to stack up against their in-state counterparts and the tradition-laden programs of Florida, Florida State and Miami.USF won more games than the Seminoles and the Hurricanes and tied the Gators in the win column.That speaks to South Florida's gain in the recruiting war."(South Florida is) right in the middle of it," Florida coach Urban Meyer said Thursday at the Florida Sports Writers Association College Football Media Day in Tampa. " I know that South Florida has done an excellent job of recruiting. Some people in the country may be shocked at what South Florida is doing, but I think they have an excellent coach, and they have a great city to recruit to, and there are athletes within reach of each one of us."Last year was more than a nine-win season. It was a milestone campaign. It might have been the beginning of something special. The program debuted in The Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in school history. The team eventually was ranked No. 2 in the country. And the Bulls secured a few attention-getting victories - against Auburn on the road and at home against then-No. 5 West Virginia.A new season is on the horizon, and expectations are through the roof for the Bulls. Furthermore, there's a strong possibility they'll start the year - for the first time ever - as a ranked team.Questions linger about who'll fill the void vacated by former middle linebacker Ben Moffitt and former cornerbacks and NFL draftees Mike Jenkins, a former Southeast High standout, and Trae Williams.But what the Bulls accomplished last season could, certainly, make a difference in the years to come."It helps," USF coach Jim Leavitt said. "Certainly, a lot more players are looking at the University of South Florida as a place to go. They understand you are in a BCS conference. I think by getting to No. 2 shows you have a chance. There's a chance you can play in the national championship game. Doesn't mean you will or you won't, it just means you got a shot. We broke through, and players see that."Miami coach Randy Shannon said the Hurricanes and Bulls recruit different types of players."Everybody fits a scheme for what you do," said Shannon, who's entering his second season as the Hurricanes' coach. "South Florida, right now, is lining up at four- or five-receiver sets. They are not going to recruit a fullback. We are going to recruit a fullback, so that's what I mean by different players. We are not talking about different athletes, just different players."At this point, no player has snubbed FSU, the Gators or Miami to attend South Florida, but the Bulls are on the national radar. That's a difference maker.In years past, Leavitt knew many players the Bulls were chasing were giving them lip service, all the while intending to go elsewhere.Things are changing.Now, recruits are listening a little more to Leavitt. Tampa appears more appealing. South Florida is getting more television airtime. And the Bulls are winning on a consistent basis.Those are difference makers."We are really staying with a lot of those players a lot longer than we ever have," Leavitt said. " Before it never happened. It wasn't even a discussion. Guys who want to be part of history can. We are probably on TV more than anybody else in the Big East this year. It's making it more interesting."http://www.bradenton.com/sports/story/745903.html Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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