The USF coaching staff has been successful recruiting the state of Georgia the last few years, and has found quite a few peaches. The latest one is linebacker Raphael Kirby, a 6'2, 218 pound linebacker that was pegged as one to watch after a solid junior season with Parkview HS in Lilburn (GA), and was named to the first Georgia Junior Bowl on January 8,.
"I had a pretty good season," said Kirby. "I had 120 tackles, 69 solo and 51 assists. I also had 3 sacks, 21 tackles for a loss, a forced fumble that I returned for touchdown, and 12 quarterback hurries."
Kirby was a standout linebacker at Parkview in 2010, but recently transferred to Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, a football powerhouse known to produce Division I talent.
"Yes sir, I'm at Stephenson now, I love it, it's a nice atmosphere being around the football players and everybody is taking me in well," said Kirby. "I transferred for personal family reasons and things of that nature.
A 6-foot-2, 218-pound defensive prospect with 4.6 speed that can also bench press 350 pounds, and squat 500 pounds, Kirby was already garnering interest, but this week he's seen his recruitment take off.
"It felt great to get the South Florida offer," said Kirby. "They're a top school, they been to multiple bowl games, and beat some really good teams. It's a good school with a great atmosphere."
Kirby said his coach informed him of the offer this afternoon and then he called Coach Phil McGeoghan who confirmed with him the Bulls offer.
"I called Coach McGeoghan and we had a real good conversation," said Kirby. "He told me that he saw my film, showed it to the coaches and they liked what I could do at linebacker and offered me a full ride scholarship."
The Bulls recently signed Stephenson RB Willie Davis as part of the 2011 class, and have also just offered three more teammates of Kirby.
"I know Willie Davis, but he's a senior and I don't see him as much," said Kirby. "Actually some other guys got offered today by South Florida Darreon Herring, Jafar Mann, and Jarontay Jones. Darreon Herring plays linebacker with me."
The outside linebacker prospect hasn't yet visited USF, but does know about the program and seen them play.
"I have watched them on TV and seen them in bowl games. I saw them beat Miami, and also watched the bowl game when they beat Clemson," said Kirby. "I think they have a very good defense, and a good support system. It all starts with the guys up front, the linebackers make the right reads and go off of the line. They recruit big linemen and that makes the linebacker's job a lot easier. They play a great defensive scheme there, and they play fast."
Kirby stands 6-foot-2, 218 pounds and says what makes him stand out is his athleticism, and ability to cover ground.
"My best assets is my sideline-to-sideline movement, I'm pretty decent at that," said Kirby. "I can chase down the running back, and with defenses playing so fast now, I feel like I fit in with a fast playing defense."
Usually prospects start off with smaller offers, but in this case Kirby is out of the gate with two big BCS offer, and that means something.
"For these first two offers coming from Florida and USF that means a lot," said Kirby. "I guess they saw something in me and didn't want to miss out, and I'll remember that down the road. My coach also told me that Southern Miss offered, but I don't know anything about that yet."
With it being early in the recruiting process Kirby said it's too early to name any leaders
"I'm interested in all the schools that have offered me, it means there interested in me," said Kirby. "I want to get down there and see the schools and see what they have to offer me. I wan to actually step on campus, talk to all the coaches and get around the players and get a feel for them."
As to future plans, Kirby said he's busy working out and trains six days a week, but does plan on taking some visits with his coach and teammates coming up.
"I'm actually planning on going to visit UF on the 19th and I'll go to USF sometime this spring or early summer," said Kirby. "I'll be in contact with Coach McGeoghan and see when it's best for us to come down, because more than likely we'll go down together, Me, Darreon, Jafar, and Jarontay. Kirby added "Our coach will be taking us to a lot of schools on weekends and we tag along with whatever he tells us."
As to when he plans to make his college choice, Kirby doesn't have a timetable, but doesn't think it'll be a singing day decision.
"I haven't really thought about it. I'll sit down and go over those types of things with my coach," said Kirby. "I don't think I'll wait and commit late. If you know where you're going, you might as well commit, so once I figure it out, I'll commit."
The stand-out linebacker does know what he's looking for in a college.
"First thing is academics. I'm big on school and carry a 3.4 GPA, so that comes first," said Kirby. "Then I'll be looking at depth charts, where I can play and things like that. The competitive atmosphere, the program and how they do things."Watch Highlight Video
Stay tuned with USFNation.com as we keep you updated on Raphael Kirby's recruitment and the rest of the class of 2012.