Recruiting roundup: How USF, UCF, FAU, FIU fared on National Signing Day
FEB 05, 2014 7:13p ET
Turnarounds are a process, not a quick solution. There are no guarantees a promising recruiting class will live its potential. Still, USF coach Willie Taggart has to like where his program could be going.
On Wednesday, the Bulls secured the top class in the American Athletic Conference, as rated by Scout.com. USF inked 28 players, highlighted by quarterback Quinton Flowers, whom Taggart has said reminds him of Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson.
Dreams don't hurt, and neither does a reason to look ahead. After a 2-10 season, hope is the Bulls' best asset for now.
"They have shown enough on the video that they can make plays," Taggart told reporters on National Signing Day about the class.
"That is something we needed."
The potential is there for Taggart to receive what he desires. USF's class includes two four-star signees and 22 three-star players. Flowers, ranked 82nd overall in the Scout 300, could soon be asked to give life to an offense that failed to score more than 10 points in four of its last six games in 2013.
Flowers had company in the Scout 300. Four-star cornerback Kendall Sawyer, a native of Lehigh Acres, Fla., was ranked 238th overall. Together, they could give a struggling program a charge.
Are the additions of Flowers and Sawyer enough to guarantee instant change? Likely not. Still, the optimism with a solid class is positive compared to what became USF's norm last season.
"We have to build on that," Taggart said.
Overall, the Knights' class includes nine three-star players. UCF's group ranks 73rd overall and third in the AAC, bolstered in part with the signing of three-star quarterback Tyler Harris from Blackshear, Ga.
In south Florida, FAU finished with a class rated 93rd as it attempts to move beyond its coaching troubles of recent months. Coach Charlie Partridge's first class finished fifth in Conference USA, a fair showing considering the program's uncertainty after Carl Pelini's resignation in October over illegal drug use.
FIU, meanwhile, closed with the 95th-ranked class, sixth in Conference USA. Wide receiver Dennis Turner, the program's top catch and its lone three-star recruit, has potential to stretch the field for a team that went 1-11 in its first season under coach Ron Turner. There's nowhere to go but up.
Most significant signing: QB Quinton Flowers. He's one of two four-star signees for USF, and the Miami native stuck to his word after he committed in October. He had 1,349 yards passing and 641 yards rushing as a senior. He also had offers from Alabama, Florida, Miami (Fla.), UCF and others.
Biggest surprise: WR Tyre McCants. He committed to USF in January, but the Bulls overcame late pushes by Georgia and Florida State to secure his services. He had 818 yards receiving and 560 yards rushing as a senior.
The one that got away: N/A
Most significant signing: S Chris Williams. The native of St. Marys, Ga., a former Alabama pledge, created buzz when he signed with UCF. He had six interceptions last season, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Anytime a program like UCF can land someone the mighty Crimson Tide targeted, that's saying something.
Biggest surprise: Again, landing Williams was a large coup for coach George O'Leary's staff. Perhaps this is a sign that the Knights can use their Fiesta Bowl bounce for big things in years to come. UCF's historic season placed them on the national map, and the Knights should use that momentum to grow the program.
The one that got away: DT Chris Nelson. The native of Lakeland, Fla., had considered UCF late before opting to sign with Texas. Nelson enjoyed a relationship with coach Charlie Strong -- he was a former Louisville pledge -- so it's no surprise that he'll follow the coach to Austin.
Most significant signing: RB/ATH Trevaughn Rodriguez. He's one of two three-star recruits for FAU, and he offers potential as a difference-maker in the backfield. He also had offers from Duke, Boston College, North Carolina and Vanderbilt, among others.
Biggest surprise: S MarQuese Dudley-Gordon. Given all the coaching turmoil of recent months, it's notable that FAU was able to land two three-star recruits. Dudley-Gordon also received offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Illinois and Wisconsin, among others.
The one that got away: N/A
Most significant signing: WR Dennis Turner. He's FIU's lone three-star recruit, and the Ft. Lauderdale native chose to stay close to home instead of accepting an offer to Toledo. He also drew interest from Miami (Fla.).
Biggest surprise: N/A
The one that got away: OG Trayvon Williams. He committed to FIU in January before signing with Georgia Southern. There appeared to be little other competition.