This is the first edition of the Hot 20 list, we will update it twice over the summer and several times leading up to signing day.
1) QB Eugene Smith (Miramar High School) - The # 1 spot on the Hot 20 goes to the top quarterback prospect on the Bulls board. It's important to land an impact quarterback this year because this will be the last year a QB can be taken that will be able to transition into the spot Matt Grothe will vacate when he graduates. Eugene has all the tools to run the spread-option attack the Bulls use. He's got substantial interest in USF, it won't be easy, but landing Smith is a real possibility.
2) DE Ryne Giddins (Armwood High School) -There are only 4 "national recruits" in the Tampa Bay area this year (Jarvis Giles, Aaron Murray, Ryne Giddins, Demonte McAllister). In the past USF has never been able to hold a top local recruit from bolting the area. This year their best chance at doing that is by landing Giddens. He's expressed interest in the Bulls dating back to early in his junior season. Right now USF's biggest competition will come from the Noles'. Giddens has the ability to be an even better all-around defensive end than current All-American George Selvie. If USF can keep Giddens home it will be the biggest signing in their short history.
3) QB Nathan Scheelhaase (Rockhurst HS, Missouri) - Two QB's in the top 3 stresses the importance of finding a replacement for the post-Grothe era at South Florida. Scheelhaase is another dual-threat prospect that would make a perfect fit for the Bulls. He's 6'2, 190 pounds and runs in the 4.5 range. He'd be what the Bulls were hoping to get when they signed Carlton Hill 4 years ago. A physically gifted athlete who can spread the field with his arm and always causes a concern for defenses with his scrambling ability. Scheelhaase will visit USF this summer.
4) WR Jamal Reid (Lafayette High School) – Reid is a game-changing wide receiver, something the Bulls have not been able to find since moving to the Big East. Yes, the current roster is loaded with talented wide-outs, but none have the ability to take over a game all by themselves. Reid has the speed and what he lacks in height, he makes up in jumping ability. The Bulls have two former Lafayette HS alum on their current roster, (Darren Powe and Marcus Edwards) adding Reid could start a pipeline.
5) OL John McGhin (Florida State High School) – The Bulls already have one commit from the Tallahassee region, and McGhin could be the next. He's been naming the Bulls at the top of his list for a few weeks. Now it's time for the staff to close the deal and land the 6-foot-5, 285 pound tackle.
6) CB Josh Robinson (Plantation High School) – Robinson excels on both offense and defense at Plantation, but will be a corner on the next level. His size (5'11, 180) and physical play make him the top corner on the Hot 20. The Bulls staff made Robinson a priority and offered him shortly after the '08 signing day. He's coming to Tampa this summer for an unofficial visit.
7) OT Andrew Carter (Florida State High School) - With rumors swirling that Carter may want to leave Tallahassee, the Bulls toughest competition will be to keep the 4 star tackle in state. With offers from Michigan, South Carolina and Illinois it won't be easy, but it is possible. He talks with the staff regularly and is expected to come to USF's camp in late June.
8) S Vlad Emilien (Plantation High School) – He's one of the most recruited defensive players in Florida, even though he's got over 30 offers, Vlad "the hit man" Emilien has the Bulls in his top 5 along with UNC, Michigan, USC and Ohio State. This could be one of those recruitments that goes down to the end, question is – Will this be the big one the Bulls finally win?
9) DT Arthur Jeffery (Sarasota Booker High School) - The Bulls have done historically well in the Sarasota area and this year they'll have to pull out all the stops to land one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the state. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Jeffery would bring much needed size inside to compliment the pass-rushers on the edges.
10) S Angelo Hadley (Armwood High School) - He's big, physical and has proven his talents against some of the best competition in the state. Hadley can take over a game from the safety position, last year he had 22 tackles in a single game and 95 over the course of the season. He was second team all-state as a junior and lists USF in his top 5.
11) CB Brandon McGee (Plantation High School) - The best athletes usually play quarterback, that's the case for McGee. He'll plays QB as a senior, although he recognizes he'll be a corner in college. McGee is 6-foot and runs a sub 4.4 forty time. He's one of three Plantation HS prospects being recruited on a national level. USF will have plenty of time to persuade McGee, he plans to make his decision in January.
12) WR Sterling Griffin (Miami Pace High School) - The Bulls were Griffin's first offer way back in February. Now he's up to half a dozen, but tells USFNation he'll always remember who offered him first. The Bulls need depth at WR and will likely add 3 or 4 for the '09 class.
13) TE Orson Charles (Plant High School) - At some point USF needs to start landing some of the talent coming out of Plant High School and Orson Charles is about as talented as the come. Charles has over 20 offers, it will be tough for the Bulls to keep him away from Miami, his childhood favorite.
14) OL Jared Wheeler (American Heritage High School) - Wheeler was one of the first linemen offered by USF for the '09 class and since has been offered by Florida State and Miami. The 6-foot-4, 300 pound interior lineman is athletic and mean, he'd be a perfect fit for USF and would most likely see early playing time.
15) CB Kayvon Webster (Miami Pace) - This year Webster is making the switch from LB to corner. He brings the same physical play he had at linebacker, mixed with speed and above average cover skills. All of these tools make Kayvon a top target for USF this year.
16) WR Stedman Bailey (Miramar High School) - He's Eugene Smith's favorite target, last season the two hooked up for 11 touchdowns and are hoping to break records this year as seniors. Landing Bailey could only help USF's chances with Smith.
17) DE Luke Sager (Niceville High School) - As a junior Sager had 9 sacks, not bad considering he was playing defense for the first time in his career. The Bulls were the first to offer the 6-foot-4 DE. He's also getting significant interest from Clemson, Vandy and LSU.
18) ATH Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach High School) - Robinson is one of those recruits that you just sign and then figure out where to play him. He plays quarterback in high school, and is very good, but at 6-foot, running a 4.38 forty, there are a number of places he could be utilized. He's got offers from Florida and LSU, he tells USFNation he's looking for playing time, something the Bulls can offer that other big programs cannot.
19) WR Dwayne Difton (St Thomas High School) - Bulls fans know Difton as the first commit of '09 and then shortly after the first decommit. Regardless of what happen, the USF staff is still recruiting him and Difton is still listing the Bulls as his favorite. This one will be interesting to watch all the way till the end.
20) ATH Mywan Jackson (Armwood High School) - Much like Denard Robinson, Mywan Jackson can do it all. He's a play-maker on offense, who also has the potential to be a game-breaking corner in college. He told USFNation he loves to play defense and that's most likely where the USF staff will recruit him at. Jackson will be at the Bull's camp in June.