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The two weeks have been pure unadulterated mayhem on the recruiting trail for the USF coaching staff, and if you think otherwise I advise you to check your pulse. No team in college football has been scorching the recruiting trail more than USF over the past month. The Bulls have snagged an impressive haul in July, landing a staggering number of commitments.
This afternoon over in Orlando, four star Cocoa High quarterback Bruce Judson Jr., three star Apopka wide receiver Demetri Burch, and Orlando Dr. Phillips wide receiver Emare Hogan gathered for a live press conference to announce their respective college commitments hosted by Chris Hays on the Orlando Sentinel’s website. About a minute and a half in Hays turned to the three high school standouts and said, “You guys said you would like to announce your commitment at the same time, so go ahead and do your thing.”
The innuendo left recruiting aficionados salivating, anxiously waiting for a response. Bruce Judson turned while attempting to control his growing jovial grin asking, “What do y’all think? Y’all trying to go to Tampa?” With a shared glow Demetri Burch responded, “USF” and Emare Hogan added, “Let’s go Bulls!” I was left slack-jawed after literally almost spitting my sandwich all over my desk. Burch then proceeded to slap on a USF hat, Judson pulled a USF shirt over his existing Cocoa Football tee, and Hogan peeled off his shirt to reveal a Bulls shirt as well. With the addition of the Tampa bound trio (and several more recent commits) the Bulls class of 2017 currently boasts 14 verbal commits, of which thirteen have committed in the last fourteen days. Yes THIRTEEN. (Interview video is below)
When asked why each freshly minted member of USF’s class of 2017 decided to take their talents across the I-4 corridor to play for Willie Taggart, the key word amongst the trio was “family”. Judson moved to Cocoa as a freshman, but is truly an Orlando native at heart. The three amigos played against each other for years as each other’s fierce gridiron enemy, but now they will share an enemy and join forces in Tampa. In fact, Judson played Pop Warner in West Orlando with fellow 2017 commit Emare Hogan. (See picture)
Judson visited the USF campus the last three weekends consecutively, and mentioned one of Bulls major selling points was the overall persistent positive vibe that did not vary week to week. “Really (it’s) his swag,” Judson said. “I mean, everybody in the office had the same kind of attitude every day. I’ve been there three weeks straight and they had the same attitude. Nobody mopey or nothing like that, it’s all the same vibe.”.
Judson is a four star recruit that held offers from the most heralded programs in college football, but after being told by the USF staff that he could come in and compete in the quarterback rotation as a freshman the stars seemed to align. “USF told me I can come in my freshman year and work into the quarterback rotation and start at another position,” Judson said during the press conference. “I know I got big shoes to fill … going in trying to step in Quinton Flowers shoes at quarterback. I’m ready to fill his shoes and make something special at USF.”
Apopka ATH Demetri Burch, who plays quarterback for the Blue Darters, will switch positions in college and play slot wide receiver for the Bulls. Burch stepped up as the face of the team last season, leading Apopka to their second state title in three years. Burch finished the year with 1,003 passing yards, flicked nine touchdown passes, slashed for 1,380 rushing yards, and kicked in 19 additional touchdowns on the ground. During his sophomore season, Burch posted an eye-popping 2,383 all-purpose yards, scored 28 touchdowns, and took home the Florida Class 8A Championship in 2014. Burch is a winner tried and true, but he also is versatile and explosive athlete. Be sure to run the highlight reel at the bottom.
Last and definitely not least is the man under center for the Dr. Phillips Emare Hogan. Hogan plays hybrid/wildcat quarterback for Dr. Phillips the last two seasons and was the key contributor in the Panthers’ playoff run in 2015. Hogan led Dr. Phillips in rushing with 893 yards, scoring four touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 263 yards and three more touchdowns. Hogan was named to the 2015 Florida Class 8A Third Team Offense. (HUDL Highlights)
Hogan and Burch went head-to-head in a shootout last September between Apopka and Dr. Phillips. The Blue Darters clawed back from a 14 point halftime deficit, by blocking a field goal attempt and snagging an interception in the final minutes to take the win on the road against Dr. Phillips with a final score of 22-20. Apopka Coach Rick Darlington added this after the nail bitter, “To be down 20-6 at half, to that team,” Darlington said. “That’s a good team. Five (Emare Hogan) and two (Jaquarius Bargnare) are as good as I’ve ever seen, and they’re rock solid on defense. So, let’s just say I cannot understate the understanding these three have for each other’s abilities.
The Bulls recruiting tear did not end here. The Bulls have added a total of 12 commits to the class of 2017 in the last two weeks. It’s been nothing short of insane, in the best way possible. Stay tuned Bulls fans, 2016 should be a wild ride.
by Matthew Manuri
SoFloBulls.com Editor | @Mcknurkle
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