TAMPA - The University of South Florida is entering the first year of the Willie Taggart era, and will do so with a group of 23 newcomers that cover virtually every position on the field.
The Bulls finished off their 2013 recruiting class with 20 signees on Wednesday to go along with two junior college transfers, and one early enrollee, who have been on campus since the start of the spring semester in January.
Of the 23 newest members of the South Florida family, nine reside on the offensive side of the ball, while 14 are project to play defense. In addition, 18 of the newcomers earned all-state honors during their prep careers.
USF quickly utilized the state's deep talent pool with 18 of the 23 signees hailing from Florida. The Bulls also received signatures from four Georgia players and one from Kansas.
The Bulls class includes six players at the defensive back position and three linebackers.
Coach Taggart adds Hassan Childs of Osceola, Nate Godwin of Freedom, Lamar Robbins of Southridge, Torrel Saffold of Butler Community College, Johnny Ward of Colquitt County, and Darius Whitty of First Coast to the DB position.
In the linebacker slot, the position will welcome Rahmon Swain of Butler Community College and local standouts Nigel Harris of Hillsborough and Mitchell Wright of Plant High School.
The defensive line will add three Florida natives in defensive tackles Derrick Calloway (Bradenton), Bruce Hector (Tampa) and Deadrin Senat (Immokalee).
All three were all-state selctions by The Associated Press as seniors.
Additionally on the defensive side of the ball, the Bulls add defensive ends Mike Love of Clearwater (Countryside) and Eric Mayes of Sarasota (Booker).
Offensively, USF welcomes a pair of running backs in Sta'fon McCray (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola) and Darius Tice (Miami, Fla./Northwestern) along with fullback Auggie Sanchez (St. Petersburg, Fla./Northeast). McCray rushed for 3,248 yards and 42 TDS over his final two seasons while earning first-team 7A all-state honors. Tice posted 1,587 yards during his junior and senior years and picked up all-state honors.
Sanchez, whose brother Armando played for the Bulls, saw most of his action on the defensive side of the ball, tallying 298 tackles and 39 sacks.
Wide receiver Zach Benjamin (Tampa, Fla./Catholic) also joins the Bulls and will be working with quarterback signee Mike White (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School).
White was named the 3A Florida Player of the Year as a senior.
USF welcomes a pair of offensive linemen from Altanta, Ga., in Jeremi Hall and Dominique Threatt, who both played at Tri-Cities High School. Joining the pair on the o-line is Tampa native Cameron Ruff (Jesuit).
Emilio Nadelman, a place-kicker out of Miami, Fla. (Central), has already enrolled at USF and rounds out the Bulls' 2013 signing class.