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USF up to 24 signees in early period (UPDATED)

Barring any more faxes in the early signing period's 11th hour, USF will head into 2018 with 24 recruits officially secured.

The Bulls got letters of intent earlier Friday from two more offensive linemen — Pensacola Catholic's Ethan Watson and Jacksonville Bartram Trail's Brad Cecil — to bring their early-period total to 20. Late Friday night, it announced four more signees.

They missed out on a 25th roster addition when Illinois graduate transfer Tre Watson — a Tampa Catholic alumnus who seemed to be considering USF — announced he would play his final season at Maryland.

USF's class currently is ranked second in the American Athletic Conference (behind Cincinnati) by both Rivals and 247Sports. Fifteen of the signees are three-star recruits according to Rivals; 21 are given that designation by 247.

"I know we signed a lot…but I just haven't really had a chance to sit and look at it because we're preparing for this game," Coach Charlie Strong said at Friday afternoon's Birmingham Bowl press conference. "But a lot of those guys were already committed to us, and so with them being committed we were able to get 'em to sign."

The Bulls, who exit the 2017 season with a serious depth issue at linebacker, already signed three-star end/linebacker hybrid Dwayne Boyles of Miami Central and Atlanta two-star prospect Antonio Grier before getting Copeland's fax. The graduation of three starters along the defensive front was addressed with the signing of six linemen (including Boyles).

USF signees
ATH Jajuan Cherry, Okeechobee (5-9, 182)
DE Rashawn Yates, Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast (6-3, 250)
DT Devin Leacock, Port Charlotte (6-3, 270)
TE Chris Carter, Homestead South Dade (6-4, 230)
RB Brian Norris, Chiefland (6-2, 220)
OL Sebastian Sainterling, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna (6-2, 356)
DT Armon Williams, Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett (6-3, 285)
QB Jordan McCloud, Plant (6-0, 180)
DE Stacy Kirby, Orlando Jones (6-3, 245)
QB Octavious Battle, Atlanta Carver (6-2, 200)
WR Terrence Horner, Miramar (5-9, 165)
DE Trey Laing, Tallahassee Godby (6-2, 220)
DE Dwayne Boyles, Miami Central (6-3, 225)
RB Johnny Ford, Miami High (5-8, 175)
P Trent Schneider, Santa Barbara (Calif.) CC (6-0, 190)
LB Antonio Grier, Atlanta Mays (6-1, 220)
S Keyon Helton, Pensacola West Florida (6-1, 190)
WR Zion Roland, Admiral Farragut (5-11, 184)
OL Brad Cecil, Jacksonville Bartram Trail (6-4, 275)
OT Ethan Watson, Pensacola Catholic (6-6, 300)
LB Randal Copeland, Havana Gadsden County (6-2, 225)
CB Vincent Davis, Jacksonville Lee (5-11, 165)
OL Donovan Jennings, Gaither (6-5, 310)
CB Eugene Bowman, Jacksonville Lee (6-0, 169)

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USF up to 24 signees in early period (UPDATED)