Bulls Get Commit from 6'7 O-Tackle

The Bulls land a Big Time prospect at a need position. With so many guys falling off the board in the last week, this is one of the most important commits of the year. Read on for the entire story. Only on USFNation.com -- Get it First, Get it Fast!

"I had a great visit. I committed to USF today."

There is no doubt the need position for USF is offensive tackle and the Bulls staff took a step in addressing that problem today by getting a verbal commitment from Plant City tackle Mark Popek.

"I went there with an open mind. I live right near there, the coaches are great, I could talk to Leavitt for hours."

"I'm walking into a program that needs a tackle. I could potentially play 4 years. Their left tackle graduates after next year. If I redshirt, I could be the starting left tackle for 4 years."

Popek, much like Leonard Johnson was surprised by the atmosphere.

"It's 20 minutes from my house, but you feel like your in another town. There is a lot of stuff to do in Tampa. My parents might move to Orlando for my dad's job, and they could still drive to all my games."

"I came with an open mind. I never knew a lot about USF, I was surprised a school right in my backyard had so much to offer."

The 6'7, 310 pound tackle told USFNation that this visit was very close to not happening.

"UF called me late in the week and canceled the visit I was going on this weekend. They said they weren't taking any more tackles. That's when I called up USF and told them I wanted to come in this weekend."

The turning point in the weekend came on Saturday, Popek says he was sitting in a meeting when it hit him that USF was the place he wanted to be.

"I kept it to my self. Then on the way home I told my parents my mind was made up. We called Leavitt on the way home and told him I'm coming to South Florida."

"Coach started yelling and stuff, he was real excited. Then he put me on the phone with all the other coaches."

Keeping the local talent in Tampa was also important to Mark. He says playing along side local kids makes it easy to relate to his teammates.

"That was one thing I noticed when I went to Illinois. All the people were from different parts of the country. I like that Leavitt is keeping the local talent in Tampa."

"I also know Leavitt will be here through 2012. That's important because I want to play for him my entire career."

As for any more visits, Mark says its unlikely he'll take another one.

"Auburn actually called me yesterday out of the blue. I've never talked to them and they wanted to bring me in. I said thanks, but no thanks."

Next weekend Popek has a visit scheduled for Vanderbilt, but he says he thinks he's going to call them tomorrow and cancel. Mark expects to qualify and says he's 100% committed to South Florida.

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