Holtz hopes to close recruiting period strong
TAMPA - For a glimpse into Skip Holtz's world in his first two-plus weeks on the job, all you have to do is check out his Twitter feed. In his infrequent messages to the masses, the new University of South Florida coach clearly reveals what has been foremost on his mind. "Recruit, Recruit, Recruit! NLI (National Letter-of-Intent) Signing Day is less than 2 weeks away," Holtz posted on the afternoon of Jan. 21. A few minutes later: "Did I mention - Recruit, Recruit, Recruit." Holtz hasn't spent much time on Twitter since then. He has been working to maintain the verbal commitments the Bulls already had when he accepted the job Jan. 14, and also trying to round out USF's recruiting class with players he and his new assistants already had relationships with before coming to Tampa.As of Saturday, USF had received 17 verbal commitments, including three junior college transfers. Holtz's most significant addition to the class came Friday when Hillsborough High defensive back Terrence Mitchell, who had previously committed to Florida State, changed his mind and said he will join the Bulls after Holtz stopped by his home Thursday night. Holtz spent much of the weekend trying to convince another coveted defensive player - Miami Northwestern defensive tackle Todd Chandler - to remain committed to the Bulls. Chandler originally committed to Miami but changed to USF. However, Chandler recently listed Louisville as his top choice, and he reportedly wants to visit South Carolina. Chandler, rated No. 67 on the ESPNU 150, is the highest-rated prospect the Bulls have a strong connection with. In a surprise move Friday, USF informed Bradenton Manatee quarterback Brion Carnes that it no longer had a scholarship available. Carnes was the first player to commit to former coach Jim Leavitt in the 2010 class. USF also pulled its scholarship offer to former Dunedin running back Adaris Bellamy, a 2009 recruit who failed to qualify. Meanwhile, as Carnes continued to look at programs such as Nebraska and Western Kentucky, Holtz was solidifying his relationship with LaGrange (Ga.) quarterback Jamius Gunsby. Gunsby took his visit to South Florida this weekend, and he is considered a near-lock to sign. At least seven players took official visits to USF this weekend: Chandler, Gunsby, Thomas County (Ga.) Central defensive back/receiver Reshard Cliett, defensive back Devont'a Davis of Gainesville and Lake City Columbia running back Tiger Powell and receiver Jamaal Montague. Williston receiver Deonte Welch, considered a prime target after Manatee receiver Ace Sanders chose South Carolina over USF, also visited. Welch was the Gainesville Sun's 2009 Player of the Year and previously committed to Arkansas. Other players believed to be on the Bulls' board include: Miami Springs receiver Willis Wright; New Smyrna Beach safety Joseph Johnson, who has committed to Marshall but has a good relationship with new Bulls assistant Mark Snyder; and Hollywood Chaminade linebacker Hans Louis.