With four USF starting offensive lineman graduating after this year, restocking the line is a huge priority for '09. The Bulls have already received commitments from three in-state linemen, but the search for quality OL has led the staff all the way up to Princeton, N.J. where Nolan MacMillan, a 6-foot-6, 285 pound OT just finished up his senior season at the Hun School.
"Coach Hendricks came by about 3-4 weeks ago and met me and some of my teammates and took my highlight tape back with him," said MacMillan. "He and the staff reviewed my tape and offered me a scholarship about a week later."
The Bulls have been recruiting the state of New Jersey for some time, and already have an impact player in Jerome Murphy who hails from the state. Even though they have looked at several prospects from the area this year, MacMillan is a newer name on the board, and the staff wanted a chance to see him in person, and at the same time he wanted to get a chance to learn more about the program.
"My grandparents have a place in Naples," said MacMillan. "This was the perfect opportunity to see the campus and also spend time with my family while I'm on break for Thanks giving."
MacMillan spent the afternoon checking out the campus, the facilities, and got a glimpse of what campus life would be like in Tampa.
"I was very impressed with the facilities. Obviously it's a newer program so everything is newer and up to date. It's pretty much coach Leavitt's brain child. He's been there from the start so he has a great idea of the program and very much in control of where they're going. Overall I was very impressed with everything."
On Sunday night, he went to Raymond James Stadium and got a chance to see the Bulls beat UCONN 17-13 for their last home game of the season.
"I really like that field and it's a great place to watch a game. It was a good atmosphere, everyone was real excited and it was a great game to watch."
At 6-6, 285, MacMillan is a big, strong athlete that benches 325 and squats 430 pounds. He is also a versatile lineman that can play either right or left tackle, long snaps, and also plays defensive tackle on the other side of the ball as well.
"I didn't play defense full time at the beginning of the year, but by the end I was playing pretty much both ways and finished with 25 tackles, 14 for a loss, and a sack."
The Hun school was best known for its academics, but has become a football recruiting hot spot that's sent more than 60 players to Division I programs over the past 10 years, and the class of 2009 already has seven players that have given verbal commitments . So why has MacMillan seemed to fly under the radar?
"Lot of schools didn't know about me in the beginning of the year. I'm originally from Canada, and this year was my first year playing at The Hun School, so my name is just getting out there."
Along with the offer from USF, he also has offers from the likes of Iowa, Louisville, Tulane, Connecticut, Akron, Townsend, Columbia, and just received an offer from Iowa yesterday. With offers still coming in, MacMillan was hesitant to name a leader or favorites.
"I don't really have any favorites just yet. It seems that every week it seems like more and more schools are becoming interested, so it's hard to establish a short list when more schools keep popping up."
The big man from Canada via New Jersey did say that one thing surprised him about the USF football program.
"I was surprised where they are at as a program after being established in 1997. I was very impressed with that. I also was impressed with the coaching staff after meeting Coach Hendricks and Coach Simmonds."
MacMillan also got a chance to meet Coach Leavitt one on one, and like most prospects came away with admiration of the Bulls head coach.
"Before the game I met Coach Leavitt in his office, and he was very excited to get out there and play. He's a very intense guy, and I really appreciate that in a head coach."
With no clear favorites just yet, MacMillan does know what he's looking for in a program.
"Academics are real important to me, and I'm looking for a school that can handle me academically, and be challenging. I'm also looking for a good coaching staff and good program that I can join as a freshmen and look to the seniors and juniors for leadership and be led by them. That way when it's my turn, I can lead by example."
Early playing time isn't a necessity, but MacMillan said he's fully aware of the teams recruiting him depth charts.
"I know USF is graduating four offensive linemen, Coach Leavitt expressed that to me several times how bad they need offensive lineman. I've been doing my homework and know the depth charts at a few schools."
MacMillan carries a 3.875 GPA and has an upside of possibly being a December graduate, and that's a bonus for any school that gets his services.
"I can potentially be a December graduate. It's really more of a matter that if I commit. On my end I can leave early, so it's all depends on the situation, but I think eventually I'd like to commit early. I'd like to take two or three official visits, and it's about 50/50 that I leave early, but it's pretty wide open right now."
There are no official visits set yet, but as soon as he gets home next week, he will start that process. He mentioned that he'd like to take his officials to see other schools, but hasn't ruled out making one of them a return visit to Tampa.
Stay tuned with USFNation.com as we keep you updated on the recruitment of the big man from the north,