The Bulls apparently succeeded.
More than half their 28 signees play along the line of scrimmage -- 10 on defense, five (including tight end) on offense.
Coach Jim Leavitt called them blue-collar guys.
"Every single guy is very serious and very focused and, knowing my personality, that's big," Leavitt told the Tampa Tribune. "They all work hard, almost like blue-collar workers, no-nonsense, they get after the task and get it done."
Leavitt was particularly happy with the defensive ends the Bulls were able to sign. The list includes David Fonua from Bradenton, Fla.; Aaron Harris from Williston, Fla.; Joseph Jackson from Miami, and Craig Marshall from Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
"At defensive end, we thought we just hit the gold mine," Leavitt said.
With their move to the Big East, the Bulls were able to win some recruiting battles with the likes of Ohio State (running back Aston Samuels from Belle Glade, Fla.), Mississippi State (linebacker LeBrandon Glover from Pensacola, Fla.), and Cincinnati (wide receiver Travis Sherman from Jacksonville, Fla.).
--DE Joseph Jackson, Miami -- He is an outstanding pass rusher who had eight sacks among his 65 tackles while earning first-team All-Dade County (4A-6A) honors as selected by the Miami Herald. Jackson is 6-4, 215, and played for Booker T. Washington High.
--DT Leslie Stirrups, Tampa -- At 6-2, 280, Stirrups was listed as one of the top prospects in the South at his position. Despite his weight, he can dunk a basketball.
--DT James Jackson, Tallahassee -- A transfer from Santa Monica College, he sat out the 2005 season and has only one year of eligibility left. He is one newcomer, however, who figures to earn playing time for the Bulls in 2006. He also can play fullback.
Notes and Quotes:
--Mike Simmonds has been appointed a defensive graduate assistant after coaching the last eight years at Tampa's Jefferson High. His team at Jefferson reached the state championship game in 2002 and 2004. Because of his experience, Simmonds is slated to handle administrative duties in addition to coaching the defensive line.
--The interesting duel in the spring will be at quarterback between Pat Julmiste and Carlton Hill. Julmiste was the starter when the season opened, but Hill came on as a freshman and they were splitting time at the end of the season. Julmiste didn't help his cause by throwing an interception in the Meineke Car Care Bowl loss to North Carolina State.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "There is an awful lot of athletic talent in the group. Over the next two years, we'll really find out just how good the class is." -- Coach Jim Leavitt, on his signees.
Strategy and Personnel
GLANCE AT 2006: South Florida was one of the youngest teams in the Big East last season and pulled the upset of the year with its 45-14 thumping of Louisville. With seven starters returning on offense and six on defense, the Bulls won't be taken lightly this fall and could break through to bigger things with consistent play out of the quarterback position.
--RB Andre Hall -- He lacks overall size (5-10, 205) but is fast and a hard runner who gained more than 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons. He also is a good receiver, leading the team in receptions with 26 in 2005.
--DE Terrence Royal -- He was the team's leading tackler in each of the last two seasons and tied for second in the Big East with 10 sacks. He also forced four fumbles. His size (6-3, 255) could hold him back.
ROSTER REPORT: DT Julian Riley, a former all-state player at Lakewood High in St. Petersburg, has transferred from Florida and is enrolled at South Florida. He will take part in spring drills but must sit out the fall. He will have only one season of eligibility.
USF Bull's Football Team Report
The Bulls apparently succeeded.