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January 31, 2013

Breakding down the secondary

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The USF secondary was ground zero for the team's defensive problems. In 2012, the Bulls allowed 251.9 passing yards per game and 17 passing touchdowns, while intercepting just two passes. At times last year, the Bulls' secondary looked lost, allowing 11.8 yards per pass, opposing quarterback completed 68.4 percentage of pass attempts.

Going into next season, USF will be without some of their top coverage players after the departures of George Baker, Kayvon Webster, Ernie Tabuteau and Jon Lejiste. Let's breakdown who the Bulls will have on the roster, who they have committed and who they are targeting to join the program.

To find out more information on each player, just click on the player's name for a complete Rivals.com profile. All classes indicated are for the current year.

Mark Joyce
5-foot-10 | 200 | Jr. | S | Deland (Deland, Fla.)
The Buzz: Joyce entered the 2012 season as one of the most seasoned members of the secondary, having played in 25 games. Last season was no different; Joyce opened the year as the starting strong safety and played in all 12 of the Bulls' games, starting 11 of them. The DeLand product was fourth on the team in tackles, racking up 74 stops while breaking up one pass. Going in to 2013 and Joyce's senior year, expect the DeLand native to be the starting safety and, once again, be a major contributor.

JaQuez Jenkins

6-foot-2 | 188 | R-Jr.| S | Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
The Buzz: Another safety with plenty of experience, Jenkins play in all 12 games for the Bulls in 2012, starting eight of them. The Lakewood High School product was product for USF, posting 53 tackles, four tackles for loss, one pass break up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovered. In his career, Jenkins has played in 32 games for the Bulls and will, like Joyce, provide a veteran presence in the secondary for defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan and head coach Willie Taggart.

Joshua Brown

6-foot-0 | 181 | Jr.| DB | Arizona Western CC (Lancaster, Texas)
The Buzz: In his first year with the Bulls, Brown saw a great deal of time in the secondary, playing in eight games, earning a start against Ball State. Brown, a transfer from Arizona Western Community College, was an early enrollee for USF last spring. The Rivals.com two-star defensive back did contribute some in his first season with the Bulls, registering 11 tackles, one for a loss. Brown may be one of the players that will have to solidify himself in spring and summer drills, or else he may see his playing time decrease in favor of some of the Bulls' newcomers.

Kenneth Durden

6-foot-0 | 176 | R-Fr. |DB | Lowndes County (Valdosta, Ga.)
The Buzz: Durden, like Brown, made the most of the playing time he saw in 2012, posting 10 tackles and a defended pass. The Georgia native played in seven games last season, earning one start, on the road against Cincinnati. Expect for Durden to see similar playing time at most next season for USF, especially with some of the transfers and newcomers that are joining the program. Like Brown, it will be important for Durden to perform well in spring and summer to keep seeing opportunities.

Fidel Montgomery

6-foot-0 | 187 | Jr.| DB | Southwest Mississippi CC (Marianna, Fla.)
The Buzz: Montgomery had a successful first season with USF last year. The transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College played in all 12 games for the Bulls, earning a start at Ball State, and posted 19 total tackles and a forced fumble. Going into next year, expect Montgomery to be a main candidate to replace Kayvon Webster as one of the starting cornerbacks.

Committed - Not Signed
Lamar Robbins

6-foot-3 | 188 | DB-S |Southridge (Miami, Fla.)
The Buzz: Robbins committed to play for the Bulls on January 27th after his official to Willie Taggart and USF. The Rivals.com four-star defensive back is the 32nd ranked cornerback in the nation and 54th ranked player in the state of Florida. The addition of Robbins all but seals up the secondary for the Bulls. Robbins has the ability to play both safety and cornerback, which gives more depth at both positions. Robbins committed to play for USF after receiving offers from 30 schools.

VIDEO: Lamar Robbins Highlights

RELATED: Lamar Robbins commits to USF

Hassan Childs

6-foot-1 | 170 | DB | Osceola (Kissimmee, Fla.)
The Buzz: Childs committed to play for the Bulls on January 21st after his official visit to Tampa. The Rivals.com three-star defender is more of a cornerback than a safety and plays pass coverage very well. He's got the tools and the quickness to cover a lot of ground. USF was able to get Childs after the Osceola product opened his options back up after the coaching change at N.C. State. Childs still needs to work on academics - and will take the SAT Feb. 9.

RELATED: Childs, family choose USF>

Nate Godwin

6-foot-0 | 190 | DB | Freedom (Tampa, Fla.)
The Buzz: Godwin has been one of the most outspoken commits in favor of the Bulls. The Freedom High School product has tried to attract as many recruits as possible for USF. Godwin was a very nice pickup for Willie Taggart, especially since USF was able to get the Rivals.com three-star safety to commit on December 24th before the defensive staff was in place. The Tampa native will be a nice addition to the Bulls' secondary; Godwin is the 49th ranked safety in the nation by Rivals.com. Godwin committed to play for the Bulls after receiving offers from 17 schools. The defensive back took his official visit to USF on January 11th and says he plans to sign his letter of intent with USF on national signing day.

VIDEO: Nate Godwin - Highlights

RELATED: Nate Godwin - Profile >

Darius Whitty

6-foot-1 | 180 | DB | First Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.)
The Buzz: Whitty is another solid commit for the Bulls. A Rivals.com three-star defensive back, Whitty committed to play for USF on June 23rd and took his official visit of January 18th. Whitty has been very vocal about how pleased he is with the new, NFL-caliber, defensive coaching staff that includes defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan and Ron Cooper. Whitty committed to play for USF after receiving offers from six schools.

RELATED: Whitty solidly committed to the new coaches>

Johnny Ward

5-foot-11 | 160 | DB | Colquitt Co. (Moultrie, Ga.)
The Buzz: Ward is one of Skip Holtz's verbal commits. The defensive back committed to play for USF last year on June 23rd and took his official visit two weeks ago on January 18th. Despite the changes in the coaching staff, Ward has not wavered in his commitment to USF. In 2012, Ward made 49 tackles and had four interceptions in the regular season for Colquitt County High School.

VIDEO: Ward vs. North Gwinnett>

Targeting, not committed
Mackensie Alexander

5-foot-11 | 175 | DB | Immokalee (Immokalee, Fla.)
The Buzz: Alexander is one of the last names out there in the defensive secondary for the Bulls. The Rivals.com four-star cornerback has not visited USF, but has still been reported to have some interest in the program. The Army All-America defensive back has taken visits to Clemson, Mississippi St., Rutgers and Texas A&M. One thing that may be keeping USF in the mix for Alexander is the Immokalee product's desire to play with his brother, Rivals.com three-star Mackenro Alexander, who could easily walk-on at USF. Another thing might be the fact that fellow Indian Deadrin Senat committed earlier. Willie Taggart is pressing this one hard.

VIDEO: Video highlights - Mackensie Alexander>

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