The past couple of weeks have been great for the University of South Florida in terms of recruiting, picking up a flurry of commitments from several targeted prospects. The latest commitment comes from Deland's talented Safety and Outside Linebacker prospect Mark Joyce. Joyce stands at an impressive 6'1/2" and 205 lbs filling out a very muscular frame. As a junior, Joyce piled up some impressive numbers logging 65 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 2 interceptions showing versatility with great numbers in run support as well as pass coverage. This is a trait highly coveted by the coaches at USF.
What has become a recurring theme with USF's commitments is the enjoyment of their campus visit and with Joyce it was no different.
According to Joyce "It was pretty good. Campus was way better than I expected. Everything was relatively new and they showed me the weight room which was pretty big. I was there about two or three hours. I went up there with Coach Pettis and [his son]."
Coach Pettis's son is Trey Pettis a very talented rising 6-foot-5, 280 pound junior offensive lineman who already has over 15 verbal offers including one from USF.
The fact that he had a very good visit boded well for USF because he previously visited Ole Miss's campus and it did not leave such a glowing impression.
"I didn't like it too much, it was alright though, the campus was nice" said Joyce.
Obviously this shows the fruit of USF's recruiting labor as they have been recruiting the talented Joyce for a little while.
Joyce mentioned that "they have been recruiting him since the spring [when they offered]." I speak the most to Coach Blackwell. He's nice and I like him, he's a really nice guy and he's country which is what I'm used to."
"I've met all of the coaches including Coach Tresey, the defensive coordinator. He's nice and he's country too, and it reminds me of home which was a big part of my decision" said Joyce.
Due to Joyce's size, strength and speed, there are debates as to whether he would be better suited for safety or perhaps outside linebacker but the USF coaches are recruiting him specifically for one position. According to Joyce, he stands at 6'1/2" and 205 lbs while having 4.5 speed. Not to mention he's a stand out track star claiming a 10.6 100 meter dash. With all of these great measurables, it is easy to see why his future position could change. Lending more to the debate is the fact that even though he played safety his junior year he plans on playing linebacker for his senior season.
"They're recruiting me for strong safety or maybe even free safety but strong safety mostly."
Besides the debate about his future playing position, Joyce brings athleticism and a good deal of football knowledge to USF.
"I bring excitement, I read the offense real well and I'm vocal. I'm like the voice of the defense. I run to the ball fast so I can knock someone out. That's why I like defense because I can hit people" says the 3-star safety prospect.
With these type of assets it's easy to see why Joyce is garnering a lot of attention, including offers from several BCS schools.
"I have eight offers. Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and USF are some of the schools that have offered."
Even though he's garnering a lot of attention from schools, Joyce feels very comfortable with his commitment to USF. He's not sure he will take anymore visits after visiting Ole Miss, FIU and USF.
"I feel set with my decision" said Joyce.
Back to his visit on campus, USF was able to use some of its own star power which left a big impression on Mark Joyce.
"I met J.R. Reed and he played for the Eagles in 2004. I know he played for USF and now he's coming back to coach here. He was nice and he showed me his NFC Championship Ring. His arms were huge! He might go back [to the NFL]."
During his visit to USF is when Joyce made his commitment and he reflects on why he decided to pull the trigger.
"I talked it over with my parents. My mom said she was hearing a lot of good things about the program and she was ok with me committing there. It's close to home and really like the fact that my parents can see all of my games. We had talked to the staff earlier in the week that I was thinking about committing. I wanted to see the campus and check everything out in person and I loved the campus, the coaches, the players and the overall atmosphere. I made up mind for sure once I saw everything."
"After I made the commitment, Coach Leavitt was with Coach Pettis smiling and he gave me a hug. All of the coaches were giving me high-fives and hugs and were happy to have me commit."
Now that recruiting his pretty much wrapped up for Mark Joyce he plans on focusing on the upcoming season by working out. He mentioned that his goal was to make it to the State Championships. With that said, it's also a relief to know that Joyce sports a 2.9 overall GPA with a 2.6 core. He has also taken both of his placement exams scoring a 22 on his ACT and a 980 on his SAT. If he maintains his grades and passes all of his classes he should project as a full qualifier. This is good news in light of the recent academic casualties that USF has suffered.
Be sure to check back for more updates on the 2010 class with USFNation.com, your best source for USF recruiting.
Mark Joyce: USF Commit Likes to Hit
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