TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Quarterback Quinton Flowers is the centerpiece of a recruiting class that coach Willie Taggart is counting on to help South Florida get back on track.
The Bulls finished at the bottom of the American Athletic Conference in total offense and scoring while going 2-10 last season, Taggart's first with a program that has been in steady decline over the past five years.
USF started four different quarterbacks in 2014. Flowers will get an opportunity to compete for the job as a freshman after throwing for 6,042 yards and rushing for 2,002 yards with 32 touchdowns during his high school career at Miami Jackson.
A class of 28 recruits also includes highly regarded running backs Marlon Mack and D'Ernest Johnson, as well as receiver Tyre McCants and defensive end Vincent Jackson.
National rankings: (Rivals 39; Scout 46).
Best in class: Quinton Flowers, qb, Miami.
Best of the rest: Marlon Mack, rb, 6-0, 195, Sarasota; Vincent Jackson, de, Tampa; Tyre McCants, wr, Niceville; D'Ernest Johnson, rb, Immokalee; Jimmy Bayes, lb, Immokalee.
Late addition: Jackson, who announce his decision until signing day.
One that got away: Denzel Ward, ot, Chicago, who selected Syracuse over the Bulls.
NOTE: USF has the highest rated recruiting class in the AAC. ... At 6-foot, 210 pounds, Flowers is not a prototypical pocket passer, but Taggart noted neither is Russell Wilson or Johnny Manziel. ''Those guys are football players. They are tough, smart, athletic, highly competitive people. That's what we're looking for,'' Taggart said. ''Hopefully, he's like Russell Wilson and Johnny Football. We're counting on it.'' ... Mack selected USF after also getting offers from Louisville, Nebraska, Purdue and Indiana. Johnson was recruited heavily, too, receiving attention from Florida, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Iowa, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Georgia. ... The Bulls added 13 recruits on offense and 15 on offense. The group also includes 12 Tampa Bay-area prospects who decided to stay close to home. A native of nearby Bradenton, Taggart feels one of the keys to turning the struggling program around will be building a solid nucleus of home-grown talent. ''Those guys could have gone somewhere else. They want to be part of turning this football program around,'' Taggart said.