From Charlie Strong to Jeff Scott. With any head coaching change, usually not much is expected on Early Signing Day with only a little more than a week into the job. Regardless, let’s dig in on the recent signees to the USF Football 2020 Recruiting Class. Help me welcome Brian Battie, Ben Knox, and Sione Tuitupou to the Bulls!
RB Brian Battie, Sarasota HS (Sarasota, FL)
Committed to the Bulls since April 17th, RB Brian Battie (@battie941) out of Sarasota HS (Sarasota, FL) signed with the Bulls on December 18th, netting USF its first RB of the class thus far. A three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com, Battie landed 8 offers in total during his recruitment process including Kansas State, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee State, and Akron. As a senior, Battie racked up 1,182 rushing yards on the season including 15 touchdowns per MaxPreps.
Has the breakaway speed (4.49 40 verified) to pull away from defenders on “home-run” plays. Displays good power on inside runs, especially as a scat-back at 5-6, 170 LBs. Good upper and lower body strength that will only improve in a college strength & conditioning program. Lethal in open space, showing the elusiveness and sudden cutting ability to blow anyone at the second level. Underutilized as a passing threat out of the backfield in HS, but has the potential to become a weapon at the collegiate level.
Adding to the explosive RBs that USF already has with Johnny Ford and Kelly Joiner Jr, Battie will be a great addition to the USF RB room heading into 2020, a position that’s only missing a bigger back for short-yardage/goal-line situations. Whether Battie makes an immediate impact in 2020 is to be determined, depending on how new OC Charlie Weis Jr. decides to use Ford, Joiner Jr. and Battie next season at the position.
Brian’s Thoughts on Coach Jeff Scott:
“Coach Scott is a great coach, a great man & has great things planned for the program and we plan to be competing for a national championship very soon. Glad to be playing for Coach Scott!”
CB Ben Knox, Deland HS (Deland, FL)
Next up we have CB Ben Knox (@PresiKnox) out of Deland HS (Deland, FL), a USF commit since June 16th. Ranked as a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com, Knox received offers from Colorado State, Charlotte, Jacksonville State and Bethune-Cookman during his recruitment process.
Along with great height at 6-2, Knox posses great leaping ability to high point the ball, proving to be a difficult match-up against smaller receivers at the collegiate level. Physical corner that could move to safety due to tackling ability and size. Looks comfortable in both man or zone. Great instincts, showing the ability to read the QB/offense. Continuously turns to the ball in coverage on intermediate/deep shots down the field, proving to be a corner that won’t see many pass interference calls at the next level.
Similar mold to fellow USF commit Chris Townsel, Knox joins a CB position that has some length to it now, changing the tides of former Bulls secondary units that tended to run a bit smaller in years past. 2020 should return #813Island starters KJ Sails and Mike Hampton, but look for younger Bulls such as Knox to compete for playing time on the 2-deep come fall camp in 2020.
So Ben Knox, what do you think about Coach Jeff Scott?
“Coach Scott is great. I’m looking forward [to] enrolling and getting to work so that we can get back rolling. I trust his vision that he has for the team and [he seems] really focused on what [is] best for the team.”
DT Sione Tuitupou, East Los Angeles College (Monterey Park, CA)
Last but not least, we have DT Sione Tuitupou (@johntuitupou) out of East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, CA, the Bulls only DL recruit committed to the 2020 class thus far. Sione had an interesting recruitment before signing with the Bulls on December 18th, picking up late offers from Maryland, Boise State, Hawaii, Toledo, and Colorado State all in the month of November after committing to the Bulls on November 1st. As a JUCO commit, Sione will have two years to play two at USF, being an early enrollee for the Bulls this month.
High-motor, high-effort player at the position. Can win with quickness and power, possessing the ability to be a three-down player on the interior of the line. Athleticism for his size (6-4, 290) jumps off the film, showing the potential to be a 3-4 DE if asked. Will command double-teams and still win due to his overall skill-set. Great technique at DT who will stun and shed blockers with initial punch and pass rush moves to get past the OL. Ideal lineman for defensive schemes that asks its tackles to penetrate the line and get past blockers.
You can never have enough depth at the DL position, especially for a program that has been known to rotate its D-Lineman in and out throughout a game. I like Tuitupou to be in the DL rotation in 2020 as a three-down DT for the Bulls, giving the position another piece to utilize on the line for the next two seasons.
Sione’s Thoughts on Coach Jeff Scott and the USF Program:
“I feel great about the hire and I’m excited. Coach Scott obviously came from a[n] awesome program, so I feel great to be apart of this program. I believe this is [the] beginning of something special.”
Other News and Nuggets
USF Offers South Carolina QB:
Via Twitter… CJS offered South Carolina QB Hunter Helms out of Gray Academy (Columbia, SC) on December 16th as USF looks to add another QB or two to the 2020 class. With Jordan Smith committed and Tate Rodemaker signed with the Noles, CJS will look to add to a QB room that is short on scholarship QBs at the moment with only 3 on the roster in Jordan McCloud, Cade Fortin, and Jahquez Evans. Whether Evans remains at QB or moves to WR is anyone’s guess, but look for Scott and Company to bring in at least two more this class with Helms and Smith being the two favorites to sign in February if all goes right.
ILB Chance Coleman Decommits:
The first commit to the 2020 class back in late March, ILB Chance Coleman out of Gaither HS (Tampa, FL) decommitted from the Bulls on December 19th via Twitter, bringing USF’s decommitment number to 11 for the class. With former USF RB Coach Shaun King as Coleman’s primary recruiter, it’s safe to assume that Coleman moved on from the Bulls with King’s departure from the program. With Coleman out of the picture, the 2020 class now has 2 LB commits in Tyler Berrong and Levontae Camiel. Nonetheless, we wish Chance nothing but the best in finding another program at the next level and good luck down the road!
JUCO OT Offered:
Same old song and dance huh? Out with the old, in with the new and nothing has seemed to change with JUCO OL being offered by both former and current USF coaching staffs. Via Twitter, OT Amelio Moran out of Lackawanna Community College was offered by the Bulls on December 27th as the coaching staff looks to make up some ground at the OL position with 2 OL decommitments in the class and several Bulls graduating. Per 247Sports.com, AAC rival East Carolina are the current favorites to land Moran with Amelio scheduling an official visit with the Pirates on the 17th. With a month left to go until National Signing Day, there is still a lot of time for the USF coaching staff to work their magic and recruit the position hard to land guys like Moran. Keep this position on tabs this month to see who is added to the class on the OL either through the HS/JUCO levels or the transfer portal.
USF Back in the Mix for WR Marquez Bell:
Former Bull commit and current Columbia HS teammate with Jordan Smith and Levonate Camiel, Marquez Bell announced via Twitter that he will take an official visit to USF on January 17th-19th. In his tweet, Bell also included official visit trips planned to Cincy and Virginia after the USF OV. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, follow the OVs and with USF getting the chance to host Bell in a few weeks, this gives the coaching staff an opportunity to sell Bell on the program again along with sharing their vision for the program heading into the future. No telling where this goes and who is the favorite to land Bell at the moment, but USF is back in it for the talented WR out of Columbia HS.
Leave your thoughts and comments below and be sure to tune in later this month when I cover the latest news and updates leading up to National Signing Day!