Corey Bender

Coveted Miami Carol City Defensive Back, Naytron Culpepper, Gives the Thumbs up to Charlie Strong and South Florida

The University of South Florida had edged out Maryland for the nation's 79th-ranked safety, Naytron Culpepper, a product of talent-loaded Miami Carol City.

Charlie Strong has a reputation for scooping up top-notch talent out of South Florida, and has proved to do so at South Florida with Naytron Culpepper being the latest prospect to team up with the school residing in Tampa Bay.

Culpepper, a versatile defender out of Miami Carol City that also flirted heavily with an offer from Maryland, enters National Signing Day as Scout's 79th-ranked safety in the country and 30th-ranked safety in the South.

Michigan StateKentuckyArkansasIndianaLouisvilleOregonWest Virginia and Utah are some of the additional schools that jumped into the mix with offers for Culpepper.

"I will be choosing USF," Culpepper told Scout. "The reason I picked them is mainly because coach Strong and (defensive backs) coach (Corey) Bell. You know, I understand what kind of coach he is. I watched him coach Louisville, and how he transformed that program from the same exact conference they're in now into the ACC.

"Coach Strong is real big on defense and is an attacking style coach. I know I will get many questions to why, but I'd rather go somewhere where the players have a winning and working mentality.

"They have the mentality as to they don't care if it's FSU, Florida, etc. You're going to have to come and play; if not, you're going to get punched in the mouth."

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Culpepper made the trek up to Tampa Bay for his official visit back on the weekend of Jan. 20.

"The campus, it's a great atmosphere and everyone loves what the Bulls are doing," Culpepper said. "They are looking to expand on the beautiful campus on the bay."

Culpepper is an all-around defensive back with intriguing length in the secondary. He's a sure tackler that does a good job of wrapping up and swarming to the football, but his awareness and ability to break on the football in pass coverage is just as impressive.

This is a versatile defender that can chip in at either cornerback or safety, but says the Bulls are planning to insert him at cornerback.

As always, stay tuned to Scout.

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