Bulls Covet 6-foot-4 Linebacker, Extend Offer

A handful of student-athletes were on the University of South Florida's campus on Thursday afternoon to take unofficial visits, including Derrick Graham, a 6-foot-4 outside linebacker who acquired an additional in-state offer from the Bulls while on campus.

While it's still unclear which four linebackers will be with the first team in South Florida's newly installed 3-4 defense this fall, Willie Taggart and his coaching staff have been proactive on the recruiting trail with hopes of landing versatile, lengthy linebackers that Chuck Bresnahan can plug into his defense sooner rather than later.

At 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, Wauchula (Fla.) Hardee outside linebacker, Derrick Graham, fits that mold and possesses the size and length to become a disruptive hybrid linebacker at the college level.

Graham, who's recorded scholarship offers from the likes of Arkansas, Mississippi State, Marshall, Bowling Green and Buffalo, arrived on South Florida's campus on Thursday afternoon without an offer from the Bulls.

Well, that didn't last very long, as Willie Taggart's staff had a chance to give Graham the eye test and see him up-close in person, resulting in an additional in-state offer to choose from.

"The visit went great," Graham said. "It was a great atmosphere, a great coaching staff, and I loved the energy. The campus was good as well. Coach Taggart, the head coach, he gave me his full background, what he wanted to do with the program, and how he wants to turn them around."

In Chuck Bresnahan's defense, Graham would play a variety a different roles at the college level, including providing constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks off the edge.

"(Coach Taggart) said I would be able to contribute and help turn around a program and what not," Graham said. "Then he ended up offering me. They told me I was a hybrid and I could play both defensive end and linebacker. He said I would play a critical part in their defense."

For Graham, there's been no time to sit back and relax since school's got out this past week. An addition to South Florida, the linebacker is set to visit a handful of out-of-state programs over the next couple of days, including Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

"I'm on my way right now to Alabama, South Alabama, NC State and Arkansas."

Graham has over a year until he graduates from high school, but the Sunshine State linebacker already has big plans for when his football career comes to a close whenever that may be.

"Somewhere I can go to for four years and a place with a good coaching staff with a family type feel (is important)," Graham said. "Also, a place that has my major, which is agriculture."

Graham says he has no leaders in his recruitment and plans on making his college decision towards the end of his senior campaign.


Hawgs Illustrated Top Stories