At the start of the year defensive back Chris Bivins (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) had no offers and minimal interest. But few players have done more in six months to change their fortunes than the 5-foot011, 170-pounder.
After numerous camps and showcases, Bivins saw his offer sheet climb to double digits but has opted to go to school two hours from his home, picking South Florida over Arkansas, Kentucky, NC State and Illinois after participating in the SuperBull showcase over the weekend.
"It's a good situation for me and I know my family is real excited," Bivins said. "My dad really wants me here with my sister."
Bivins' sister, Kayla, committed to USF earlier last week to play volleyball.
Bivins' commitment was part of a strong two-week period for the program that saw commitments from four-star tight end Sean Price (Citra, Fla./North Marion), three-star wide receiver Lamarlin Wiggins (Plant City, Fla./Plant City) and 6-7 defensive end Daniel Perry (Davie, Fla./University School).
"They are really bringing in a strong group of players," Bivins said. "I know Sean pretty well, he played against us in the spring game and we were on the same Badger 7-on-7 team so I know how good he is."
Both Bivins and Price were selected to take part in next week's national showcase "The Opening" and Bivins also will participate in "Gridiron Kings" in late July.
"It's really an honor to be selected to participate in both events," Bivins said while camping at FSU. "I've put in a lot of hard work to get better and I've accepted every challenge that has come my way this spring."
Bivins' busy June included camps at Florida, FSU and Miami before going to USF. He is also on the radar at Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and FSU -- all of whom have been impressed by his abilities and could extend offers.
"I'm committed to USF and I'm very happy about that," Bivins said. "You can never close the door on another opportunity but I'm happy to be a Bull."
Wiggins doesn't just fit a need for the Bulls in terms of his position but also in terms of his location. The 6-1, 185-pound receiver is located in Hillsborough County and 20 miles from campus.
Despite commitments from Ryne Giddins (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), Terrence Mitchell (Tampa/Hillsborough) and Ruben Gonzalez (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) in recent years, the Bulls local fan base has often wondered why the area program can't sway the local recruits.
When Skip Holtz took the job he said he planned to build a fence around Tampa Bay but in his first full recruiting cycle he saw several talented prospects such as 2011 ESPNU 150 prospects Anthony Chickillo (Tampa/Alonso) and James Wilder II (Tampa/Plant) go to other state schools.
Wiggins, however, hopes to be part of a new generation of local prospects that will give the hometown school a fair shot.
"This is our hometown, why not work to have the hometown team on top?" Wiggins said. "I just love that school and the atmosphere. I have a lot of close family around here so if I have any problems I can be around my family. The coaching staff is great and the people are friendly. This is a great place to play."
With Wiggins in the fold USF will attempt to work on his teammates. Quarterback Bennie Coney and defensive back Sam Green have USF offers. The Bulls also are looking at running back Dazmond Patterson.
"I'm going to talk with them about USF but they are looking at some out-of-state schools too," Wiggins added. "Everyone has to do their own thing but I'm staying home."
Montgomery takes in two
Three-star wide receiver D'Vario Montgomery (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) spent last Friday touring the UCF campus and watching the school's padded team camp and then participated in SuperBull with several teammates Saturday.
"I'm really focusing in on both schools right now," Montgomery said. "I like UCF and USF and they are probably about even."
Montgomery has been visible at both campuses in June. He took part in the UCF 7-on-7 shootout during the first weekend in June and went to the USF Sling & Shoot event the following weekend.
He admits the schools have a lot in common and the choice could be a tough one.
"UCF has a great academic program but so does USF," Montgomery said. "That's what I'm looking for. I feel comfortable at both programs; the coaching staffs at both places are great."
Montgomery will be back at USF in July for the second Sling & Shoot tournament. He is also keeping Florida, Alabama and LSU under consideration.
"Right now I kind of know where I want to go a little bit, but at the same time I'm not sure," Montgomery said. "I still have to do more research."
More camp notes
• At the UCF team camp offensive lineman Cody Waldrop (Seffner, Fla/Armwood) said Georgia and South Carolina are his top two schools, with LSU, Tennessee and FSU still in the picture.
He plans on taking his official to Georgia on Sept.10, when the Bulldogs face South Carolina.
"It's kind of funny how my top two schools will be playing each other on my official," Waldrop said.
• Tight end Sean Culkin (Largo, Fla./Indian Rocks Christian) was a big attraction at Saturday's "SuperBull," but the 6-5, 210-pounder understands that he might have to wait for an offer.
"They just got a commitment from another player at the position so it's kind of a numbers game right now," Culkin said. "I understand and if an opportunity comes about here that's good but it might happen somewhere else."
Culkin had 547 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as a junior.
• There were several prospects from Georgia at UCF's team camp and three-star defensive lineman Josh Manley (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) was among the most impressive.
The 6-3, 250-pounder has offers from Georgia Tech, Louisville, UCF, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri and several other programs.
"This was a good chance to see this campus and I like the area a lot," Manley said. "They are doing a lot of things right here."
Manley says Georgia Tech has been sticking out in his mind for a while but UCF is making a serious charge.
"I can definitely see myself here because they look like they are trying to do some exciting things," Manley said.