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December 22, 2011USF will rely heavily on junior college players next season, getting commitments from five junior college players in the last two weeks.
While recruits graduating high school can't officially sign with a school until national signing day Feb. 1, junior college recruits enrolling for the spring semester can sign on Dec. 21. All five - defensive back Fidel Montgomery, offensive lineman Chandlor Mathews, offensive lineman Lawrence Martin, defensive end Tevin Mims, and defensive back Josh Brown -- have now USF signed letters of intent, coach Skip Holtz announced Wednesday.
Each will have two years of eligibility at USF.
"These five young men have a chance to be solid additions to our roster," Holtz said. "We have a veteran group returning and we wanted to bring in some young men that could help us fill some holes on the depth chart. We feel we've addressed some need areas and this will help our depth as we go through winter workouts and into spring practice."
USF loses some depth at defensive with the departures of Patrick Hampton and Claude Davis. Mims, who committed to Texas out of high school, will join redshirt freshman Clavion Nelson and senior Anthony Hill as possible contributors.
Both Brown and Montgomery can play either safety or cornerback. USF had depth issues at cornerback last season because of injuries to George Baker, Spencer Boyd, and Ricardo Dixon. JaQuez Jenkins could move back to safety this spring, leaving the door open for one of the young cornerbacks to step up. Kenneth Durden, a 2011 signee, will also be in the mix. USF also has a commitment from Armwood's Jarvis McCall, another hybrid who can play both safety or cornerback.
Mathews (6-foot-4, 290) and Martin (6-foot-4, 295) will help fill the void left by starting center Chaz Hine and starting guard Jeremiah Warren, who both graduated. At center, sophomore Austin Reiter and redshirt freshman Thor Jozwiak will also be in the mix.
The Bulls also expect to bring in two other 2012 high school recruits for early enrollment - cornerback Chris Bivins and offensive lineman James Hamilton, who will both be available for spring practice, though Bivins injured his knee in his team's last game and could need surgery. Receiver Alex Mut, originally expected to be a 2011 signee but greyshirted after tearing his ACL early in 2011, is also available this spring.