Lovejoy athlete Rico McWilliams has been receiving plenty of interest on both sides of the ball and landed his first offer from USF. The 6-foot, 170 pound prospect made a weekend trip to Tampa to check out USF and really liked what the Bulls had to offer and just loved the USF coaching staff.
"It was the best place I had ever been to. All the coaches were so cool I can just feel the love from them," said McWilliams. "They just show me that I was really the person and athlete they were looking for. It was no acting with the coaches and I can tell they weren't just talking to me, and they made me feel really good about going to USF. That's why I can say no school has coaches like USF."
The 6-foot, 170 pound prospect is being recruited to play corner back for the Bulls, and even though he received his first offer from USF, expect more to come. On Monday he received his second offer from Cincinnati and McWilliams said he's been receiving a lot of interest from other programs including Kentucky, Clemson, Wake Forest, Illinois, Alabama, FSU and the Florida Gators.
McWilliams arrived in Tampa early on Friday and got to see the Bulls practice prior to their spring game.
"Watching practice was real fun, and I can tell the coaches didn't want to wear them out before the scrimmage. I love what they do and the player/coach relationship they have. Everything is real intense out there and everything is all about the team. The coaches really coach them up and let them know when they're doing something wrong especially the defensive back coach, Coach Smith."
"The practice field complex was just great and looked real new," said McWilliams. "They look real good and the grass fields look better than any I've seen at my other visits. The artificial turf field was awesome and I just would love to play on them."
The Lovejoy athlete also got to see all of the Bulls facilities and came away very impressed.
"The facilities are incredible and I don't think many can beat what they have at South Florida," said McWilliams. "I really loved the weight room it was real nice. It's got everything you could ever want in there and I love the fact that when you're done working they have a person making protein shakes for you whenever you want it, right there and then. It puts all the calories you lost back in your body plus some more. That's great in helping you put the weight on."
"They're doing so much re-building around the campus and athletic facilities making everything better and it looks incredible," said Rico. "They've only had a football team for 13 years and they're doing all of this now and just imagine when they start winning national titles how much money they'll have to do everything."
McWilliams already developed a bond with his recruiting coordinator Coach Steve Shankweiler, saying he "Loves Coach Shank," and got to spend one on one time with the rest of the staff.
"I went to a defensive back meeting with Coach Smith, and that was real cool," said Rico. "Afterwards we talked and he told me how much he likes me as a person and an athlete and how much they would love to have me there. Coach Smith, that's a good man right there and he's a great coach with a lot of experience. You can tell he loves coaching and doesn't just do it because it's his job. He told me all about who's leaving this year and when I get there two more will be seniors and said that I have a great chance to play early and if I work possibly even start. He didn't promise me anything and was just being straight forward."
"Coach Holtz is a real good guy and a great coach," said McWilliams. "He's a people person and you can tell the players love him. He doesn't holler and talks to them right there like a man, and you just have to respect that. He's so easy going and the relationship he has with the players is something. You don't see that with many head coaches and I really like that."
While on campus all weekend McWilliams got to meet many of the USF players and got a great feel from the Bulls.
"I met many of the guys there and they were all great," said Rico. "I don't remember all their names, but I met No. 2 (Quenton Washington), I met DeDe Lattimore and I played against him in high school. I met a couple of the safeties, No. 1 (Jerrell Young), also No. 30 (JaQuez Jenkins). I met most of the DBs and hung with them, they were all great and real. You can tell they love being there and the coaches they're playing for."
"DeDe told me he came in as a freshman and got a lot of playing time, and that they don't show any favoritism. If you're better then another player, it doesn't matter if you're a senior or a freshman, and if you work hard you'll earn playing time."
Rico is a strong student athlete carrying a 3.2 GPA and was impressed with the Bulls attention to academics.
"They real big on academics and I like that," said McWilliams. "Most schools give you off on Sundays, but at USF they give you off on Monday so you can focus on school and have time to go meet with your professors. They show that school is as important as football and give you the time and help you need. That impressed me."
On Saturday he got to attend the Bulls first spring game of 2011 and enjoyed the experience.
"I really like watching them play," said Rico. "I can see they could use some help in the secondary and the coaches were telling me that before the game that they need some corner help. The first play was a bomb, but he dropped the ball, and later came back and scored on a big play. Afterwards coach said I told you Rico, we need corners. It was a still a good game to watch and I like the defensive schemes they run."
After a weekend of seeing everything USF had to offer McWilliams said his favorite part was being with the coaching staff.
"My favorite part was talking with the coaches, they showed me a lot of love," said McWilliams. "I met all of them and sat in meetings and never felt that from a coaching staff before. Most schools show you a little love but not like South Florida. I love the staff they got there, and you can tell their players do also."
McWilliams has already been to Clemson, Wake Forest, and to Tennessee, but said USF stands above all the rest.
"I've seen other campuses and they were nice, but USF was awesome and is getting better every day," said McWilliams. "When I went to Florida for a camp, and the only thing they got is more tradition, championships and things are bigger because they've been playing for so long, but besides that everything else that South Florida has tops the Florida Gators."
The standout prospect talked more about what he thought about his weekend visit.
"I loved everything about USF, the campus was beautiful and the facilities were great. It was the best that I‘ve went to in my life," said McWilliams. "The program is on the rise and is poised to do some great things. I like the defense they run and they have a lot of different coverage's and they've had a lot of successful DB's that they've put into the NFL."
"I had a great time and I didn't want to leave," said Rico. "I wanted to start playing with those guys right now and didn't want to go back home."
McWilliams didn't commit on his weekend visit, but there's no questioning who his number one team is at this point
"From a scale of 1to 10, they get a perfect 10. There's no doubt about it," said Williams. "I loved my visit to USF. I'm real big on them right now and they're my number one team."
Stay tuned with USFNation.com as we keep you updated on Rico McWilliams recruitment and the rest of the class of 2012