Before we begin, let’s address the elephant in the room: Whoever this staff decides to add at each position is anyone’s guess with 9 months left until NSD in 2021. I’m choosing to follow the numbers at each position as I break out my trusty scholarship distribution spreadsheet to come up with the #Stampede21 Class Defense To-Do List. I’ll go position by position talking about the overall numbers including my best guess on the expected number(s) to be added at each spot. Please note that I am counting current scholarship numbers, the average number of scholarships for each position based on the industry norm, and my expectation for the number of players to be added to the class.
Defensive End (DE)
Current: 7 (Tyrik Jones, Jabreel Stephens, Darrien Grant, Ryan Thaxton, Jason Vaughn, Stacy Kirby, Tramel Logan)
Committed: 1 (Keeon Terrell)
This was the position that I was most looking forward to watching if spring ball was a thing this season. I was curious to see who would step up after losing guys like Kirk Livingstone, Greg Reaves, and Darius Slade after the 2019 season. We saw several guys on the field last year including Jones, Grant, Thaxton, Vaughn and Kirby, but spring camp would’ve been a great tell-tale sign of who currently has a grip on the two end spots. Nonetheless, expect 2-3 defensive ends to be added this class with Terrell as the only DE commit so far. The staff will want to replace Jones who graduates in 2020 with the possibility of adding a total of 3 ends to further shore up the position down the road if the staff elects to do that.
Defensive Tackle (DT)
Current: 9 (Kevin Kegler, Kelvin Pinkney, Bo Peek, Blake Green, Thad Mangum, Rashawn Yates, Tyrone Barber, John Waller, Armon Williams)
It’s important to note that the position is more than set number-wise heading into 2020, but the big issue at hand is losing 5 guys after the season in Kegler, Pinkney, Peek, Green, and Mangum. Losing Sione Tuitupou to the transfer portal didn’t help matters at all and the coaching staff faces an uphill battle to get consistent numbers at the position as we head into the future. I believe that 3 DTs is the goal (which is a lot to ask for in the state of FL) and if they don’t hit the numbers that they want, expect the staff to dive back into the portal just like they did with Peek (Stanford) and Mangum (Wofford) this off-season.
Linebacker (Both ILB/OLB)
Current: 8 (Devin Gil, Dwayne Boyles, Antonio Grier, Randal Copeland, Brian Norris, Demaurez Bellamy, Tae’Aviion Gray, Le’Vontae Camiel)
Committed: 2 (CJ Ross, Davon Hicks)
Let’s walk back to the 2020 recruiting class for a second. If you include Camiel who signed with the Bulls in February, the 2020 class had a total of 5 linebackers committed to USF for the entire recruiting period. Clearly the old coaching staff saw a need to reload the position due to a lack of numbers and it looks like the new staff is on a similar recruiting push, gaining early commitments from Ross and Hicks. I believe that the staff would have no problem bringing in 4 LBs this class, but it’s difficult to pinpoint the remaining top targets at the position. Expect at least 3 linebackers this class with a possible 4th being added if they find the right guy down the road.
Current: 10 (Mike Hampton, KJ Sails, McArthur Burnett, Bentlee Sanders, Daquan Evans, Eugene Bowman, Jayden Curry, Christopher Townsel, Ben Knox, AJ Hamilton)
Committed: 1 (Jaelen Stokes)
This is another position on the defense that will have the necessary numbers to move forward (with 8 players being the average), but will still see at least 2-3 guys get added when it’s all said and done. Cornerback (along with safety) are talent rich positions in the state and this will end up coming down to picking and choosing who the staff really want at corner for this class. What I’m more interested in is who steps up in 2021 after Hampton and Sails graduate after this year. Find out who steps up this season to see what the future will look like at CB. It’s a young position for sure, no doubt about it.
Safety (Both FS/SS)
Current: 6 (Nick Roberts, Vincent Davis, Mekhi LaPointe, Keyon Helton, Leonard Parker, Mac Harris)
The coaching staff should be comfortable with the safety position moving forward with Roberts, Davis, and LaPointe being juniors heading into 2020. I don’t necessarily expect 3 safeties to be added this class, but that number may be realistic if the staff are able to land a few high end prospects on their list. Expect 2, but don’t be surprised if you see 3 safeties this class. Similar to cornerback, this is another position that is loaded with talent this year.
Before I go, shout out to Creative Services for USF Football that have been absolutely KILLING IT with the recruiting edits as of late. Follow Branden Whitley (@BrandenJWhitley) and his team for fire graphics!
Leave your thoughts and comments below and be sure to tune in later this month when I cover the any recruiting updates/news for the 2021 recruiting class!
|1||Gunnar Greenwald||TE||Satellite Senior (Satellite Beach, FL)||0.8527||5.6|
|2||Jaelen Stokes||CB||Auburndale (Auburndale, FL)||0.8453||5.4|
|3||Timmy McClain||QB||Seminole (Sanford, FL)||0.8430||5.6|
|4||Davon Hicks||ILB||Vero Beach (Vero Beach, FL)||0.8410||5.5|
|5||Keeon Terrell||SDE||Fort Myers (Fort Myers, FL)||0.8303||5.4|
|6||CJ Ross||OLB||Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, FL)||0.8265||5.5|