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February 4, 2013
Carrollwood Day School running back Robert Davis will announce his commitment on National Signing Day Wednesday. The Tampa native will chose between Memphis and Boston College. Two fine schools in their own right, but isn't one missing? What about the home town team; the USF Bulls?
It is a bit surprising to see Davis making his final decision Wednesday without the Bulls in the running. Davis grew up in the shadows of the early USF training facilities, just a stone's throw from the USF Tampa campus. The tailback committed elsewhere early in the fall, but reports all said he had a special place in his heart for the Bulls.
So how did USF let the Rivals.com three-star, local recruit slip through their fingers? Did Davis even want to come to USF?
Once a Bull ...
"Absolutely, absolutely, he wanted to be a South Florida Bull." Said Davis' father Derek Brown. "He took seven or eight unofficial visits to USF, did all the Bulls' summer camps and [Coach Skip Holtz] he never offered."
Former USF head coach Skip Holtz passing on Davis early, meant that the running back had to re-evaluate his options. The Carrollwood product eventually committed to Cincinnati in July before his senior football season. After Bearcats head coach Butch Jones departed for Tennessee, Davis reopened his options.
However, Davis revisiting his offers did not open an opportunity for the Bulls to bring the local product to USF.
"It's the guys [recruiters] that were there in the beginning in this recruiting process," Said Brown, "you have to trust them."
After Willie Taggart took over as head coach for the Bulls in December, Brown and Davis both had a sit down meeting with the Taggart.
The Late charge
"We had a sit down with Coach Taggart and it went well, but I knew Robert wasn't going to pick South Florida after they did him like that," Brown reminisced about the meeting.
Although he did eventually get the desired offer from USF, receiving it late in January, Davis kept the Bulls at an arms length. Instead of visiting USF over the weekend of January 25th, Davis passed on the Bulls to go to Boston College.
Now that National Signing Day is just around the corner, it is quite clear that the Bulls are not anywhere near close to being on Davis' radar. The running back will make his choice between Tigers and the Eagles, a decision that Davis' parents have always left to Robert.
"Everything was going to be left to Robert," said Brown, "He is going to do this because he is the one that is left with the decision."
Losing out on Davis could prove to be costly for USF. The Bulls have garnered just one running back commit in this signing class; getting Osceola High School's Stafon McCray on January 27th. However, the Bulls are still looking to add at least one more to the backfield, but have been unsuccessful. USF missed on DeLand's JoJo Kemp last week and have not yet heard from Darius Tice or Lorenzo Woodley.
Adding one more running back will not make or break the Bulls' signing class. It could, however, have a huge impact on USF's offense for the next three or four years, especially if USF runs into injury problems.
Davis has a bright future ahead of him. The Carrollwood Day School product has great agility and ability find the hole and explode through it. Regardless of which school he choses, both BC and Memphis are going to have a very good player for the next four years. A running back that, frankly, the Bulls should have had locked up months ago. I guess Davis will be yet another miscue that Bulls fans can chalk up to Skip Holtz.
Nick Gryniewicz is the Managing Editor of Runningthebulls.com - he also serves as the student voice of the USF Bulls Football, Men's basketball and Baseball home games. You can reach him at email@example.com. Follow Nick on Twitter at @nickgryniewicz.