Since the day Skip Holtz was hired he put an emphasis on building a magical 100-mile fence around the Tampa Bay area to keep all the local prospects home. Last year Holtz was able to keep two home, Andre Davis and Ruben Gonzalez.
The USF staff has developed a strong relationship with top prospects like Nelson Agholor.
So how's the fence working? It's best to call it a "work in progress". While Holtz has landed a few good recruits, there are still far too many talented local athletes opting to leave the Tampa Bay area. This year the top defensive player, Dante Fowler, is committed to FSU, the top offensive player, Matt Jones, is committed to UF. Nelson Agholor, the top ATH in Tampa is uncommitted, but most experts (myself included) feel that he too will leave the area.
There is hope. On Saturday Armwood defensive back Jarvis McCall committed to the Bulls. His reason for staying home is exactly how coach Holtz and staff want the locals to feel.
"I talked it over with my parents and it came down to the fact that everything I need and want is right here at home," said McCall.
Coach Holtz can say all the great things about USF until he's blue in the face, but when the recruits start saying it, and word spreads around Tampa, maybe then that fence will go up a little quicker.
"I'm definitely talking to some of the local players about USF," said McCall. "I told my teammate Kevin McCoy what I'm doing and I'm trying to get him to come on board with me. He told me he's considering USF, but he's not ready to make a decision yet."
"I've talked to Nelson Agholor since I committed. Me and Nelson are cool, he said he was proud of me and he likes what USF is doing."
While it sounds like an easy proposition, some kids are still not buying in.
"I talked to Matt Jones, I feel he's pretty solid in his decision to go to UF. But I'm still going to talk to him about it."
I believe the fence will be built one day. It won't happen all at once, but I can see a day where teams will have to come in and battle to get local talent out of Tampa. Rather than USF having to battle to keep it in Tampa.