Grading The USF '09 Recruiting Class: Offense

The Bulls '09 recruiting class included several highly-touted prospects and Head Coach Jim Leavitt and staff will have even more weapons for their offensive arsenal. What kind of marks did USF's offensive recruits garner? provides the break-down and the grades.

Heading into the ‘08 recruiting season the staff realized there was needs they had to fill and the highly-touted, top-25 signing class they announced last week did just that. They shored up the lines by signing 8 defensive linemen and 5 on the offensive side, and the rest of the roster is filled with standout athletes and the Bulls truly added elite speed across the board.

The top 25 class is made up of 15 defensive players, 12 offensive players and two standouts that will come in as athletes, and here's the breakdown.

Offensive Breakdown (12) Athletes (2)

Offensive Line (5)

Just like the defense, a good offense starts in the trenches. Restocking the offensive line is always key, but after losing four senior linemen, getting some big boys up front was a top priority for the 2009 class. Of the twelve offensive prospects, five come in as offensive lineman, with two of them being from JUCO's.

With the 2009 season in mind, the most important offensive piece to the Bulls recruiting class was 3-star OT Carlos Savala (6'7, 305) from College of the Desert. A two-time all-state and all-conference performer that opened his sophomore season by not allowing a sack in his first four starts, and was named to the JC All-American All-Star game. Savala is a big, strong, wide lineman and is slated to step in and start right away.

Also filling an immediate need is 6'4,285 pound OL Jamar Bass who earned All-Jayhawk Conference honors at Hutchinson CC. He's currently unrated by scout so could be the sleeper of the class. He's big, strong and fast, benches presses 385 pounds, squats 615, and runs in the 4.7 range. Can play either left guard or left tackle and is being counted on to help immediately.

The first high school lineman to commit was Kamran Joyer (6'3-317). A 3-star OL, rated the 50th best prospect at offensive guard, and considered one of the nine best prospects in the Tampa area. A strong lineman with a 425-pound bench press, a 295-pound power clean, also uses his hands well, and excels in pass protection. Has played OG, OT, C, but is being brought in as a center.

The Bulls top HS OL target was Steve Jacques, (6'4-280)a 3-star OG from South Broward HS who switched his commitment from Auburn. ranked the 49th best OG by Scout, Broward County's 16th best prospect, first team Class 6A all state. Powerful three year starter with impressive upper body strength (benches 405, and squats 575 pounds). Anchored a line that rushed for 1,937 yards (273.4 avg.) per game, and may do the same for the Bulls

The true sleeper could be John McGhin (6'3-291), a 2-star prospect, rated 142nd best prospect at OT by, and ranked the 80th best OG by ESPN. Developed as a senior, and anchored an offensive line that and helped lead Florida HS to an 11-2 record with over 5,300 of offense with 63 touchdowns. Earned first team Class 2B All-state honors, and Big Bend Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2008. A solid pass protector with good upper body strength that can drive block with the best of them. He can play any position on the line, but projects to contribute to the left side at either guard or tackle.

The offensive line class is a blend of JUCO lineman to fill the immediate need, and quality high school athletes for the future. All five are big strong lineman with tons of potential. The Bulls also got a commitment from top target Kendal Kelly, who didn't have the grades to sign, and will go to JUCO, with hopes of returning in 2011.

USFNation Grade: B+


Running Backs (3):

After only signing one back last year and with both Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor being juniors, the staff wanted to bring in some quality backs in the 2009 class, and brought in three standout prospects

The first commit of USF's 2009 recruiting class was Adaris Bellamy (5'10-213), a 3-star prospect, rated the 73rd best RB by, ranked 43rd best running back by ESPN, and one of the nine best prospects in the Tampa area. Has good size, with a powerful build. Is an explosive runner that also has deceptive lateral quickness and can shrug off defenders. Bellamy's early verbal was the start of the Bulls top 25 class, and has been one of my favorites, even though his grades will likely send him through the JUCO route.

The staff received another early commit from Marianna 3-star RB Bradley Battles (5'11-190). Ranked the 64th best RB by Scout and rated 22nd best RB by ESPN. A phenomenal two-way athlete that rushed for over 4,000 yards and scored 57 touchdowns the last two seasons. Earned first team All-State at RB as a junior, and as a senior was named a first team selection at defensive back with 65 tackles and 4 interceptions and a sack while playing safety. A tough runner with a thick build that does a good job of securing the ball. Has a good blend of power, speed and quickness, running a 4.5 forty-yard dash, and a 35.5-inch vertical leap that translates well on the football field. Explosive and dynamic playmaker from anywhere on the filed.

Rounding out the running back class is Hillsborough's Lindsey Lamar (5'9-165), a 3-sta RB, ranked the 57th best prospect at slot receiver by Recorded over 1,500 yards of offense with 20 touchdowns, earning first team All-Hillsborough County honors and Class 4A third team. A versatile, dynamic athlete that shows good vision finding the seams, and has great acceleration, running the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds and totaled more than 3,300 yards in his high school career as a starting running back and return specialist. Brings true speed and explosiveness and will come in as a running back, slot receiver and kickoff/punt return specialist at USF.

The combination of Bellamy, Battles and Lamar give the Bulls a versatile group of backs that combine power, durability, toughness and speed that can break the big play anytime they touch the ball and will give the staff plenty of options. However there's a very good shot Bellamy won't make grades. Grade:


Receivers (2):

The Bulls have a talented receiving core, and after only taking one last year planned on taking several in this class. There were many names that were on and off the board throughout the recruiting season, but in the end they ended it up with just two and both coming from Monsignor Pace in Miami.

The Bulls were the first to offer Miami Pace receiver Sterling Griffin (6'1-178), a 3-star WR, rated No. 135 by Scout, and ranked the 70th best WR by ESPN, and is considered one of the top 25 players in Miami-Dade County. A tall, athletic receiver with long arms, good hands and has the initial quickness to get off the line, and does a good job of creating leverage by attacking defenders with his 4.5 speed. A 3-year starter that caught 37 passes for 779 yards and nine touchdowns at receiver, but played multiple positions in high school and is part of the Pace trio that all signed with the Bulls.

His teammate is Derrick Hopkins (5'7-160) who was unrated by Scout and ranked the 149th best prospect as an athlete by ESPN. A two-time first team All-Dade County selection that is a dynamic return specialist and slot receiver with blazing 4.3 speed. Possesses sudden change-of-direction and lateral agility skills that resulted in 22 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns and returned one kick for a touchdown as a senior. 6 returns for scores as a junior, four punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. A track guy that posted the nation's best 200 time with a 20.97 to capture the Class 2A title, and brings that elite speed to the Bulls with him.

The Bulls brought in two athletic receivers with speed in Griffin and Hopkins, but this was a deep year for Florida receivers and the staff was expected to sign a few more in this class. There were some big names on the board and throughout the season the Bulls received verbal commitments from 4 other receivers only to have them go elsewhere. Grade: C


Tight Ends (1):

After signing two last year, tight end wasn't a top priority, but they still signed one for the '09 class. Gerard Atkins (6'5-215), a 2-star TE, rated the 99th best tight end by Scout that comes from the same high school as Head Coach Jim Leavitt and RB Andre Hall. A talented basketball player turned football prospect played mostly at wide receiver, and a little tight end, finishing his senior year with 21 catches for 400 yards and eight scores. Also saw time at safety with 5 interceptions and 15 tackles. As a junior had five TD's and recorded two interceptions, returning one 99 yards for a touchdown. Has a big frame with room to grow and is considered a sleeper tight end prospect. Grade: C-


Quarterbacks (1):

The staff brought in only one quarterback in the '09 class in Isaac Virgin (6'4-240). A 2-star prospect rated the 68th best prospect at tight end by Scout, and rated the 91st athlete prospect by ESPN. Saw action at both quarterback and tight end, but projects at quarterback for USF. As a senior, threw for 1,641 yards and 15 touchdowns with only four interceptions, and also, rushed for 317 yards and seven touchdowns, leading Westwood HS to the District 13-4A title, and earned Class 4A honorable mention. Virgin is a very raw quarterback prospect, but has good arm strength with the ability to throw the ball close to 70 yards while standing flat-footed. A talented athlete with decent speed (4.7), agility, and throws well on the run. Could end up at another position, but is being brought in as a quarterback. Grade: C-


Athletes (2):

In 2009 the Bulls brought in two quality athletes that could end up playing multiple positions for the Bulls.

In Victor Marc (5'11-208) they get a 3-star player, ranked the 63rd best prospect at RB by Scout and the 19th best RB by ESPN. Was selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game, as a running back, but played primarily quarterback in high school, and has a strong arm with good accuracy throwing for 854 yards with eight touchdowns, with 478 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 83 carries. A tough competitor that has smooth, fluid, change-of-direction skills, with 4.4 forty-yard speed and the ability to make defenders miss. Can play multiple positions, but will come to USF on the offensive side of the ball.

With Kevin Williams (5'10-175) the staff gets a phenomenal 3-star athlete that is one of the top JUCO corners and punt/kick returners in the country, and does it all. At Los Medanos he registered 2 interceptions returned for scores, 14 tackles, 2 for a loss, 1 sack, and 7 pass break-ups on defense. On offense he had 11 catches for 194 yards and a TD, and 9 rushes for 64 yards and 2 scores. On special teams he had 30 returns for 817 yards, one score and a 27.1 avg. He also had 3 punt returns for 27 yards as well. Williams has been clocked at 4.34 in the 40, and will come in as a corner and a punt/kick returner. Grade: B+

Grading The USF '09 Recruiting Class: Defense

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