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February 5, 2014

Bayes, Johnson sign LOI's with USF

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IMMOKALEE -- Funny things happen during recruiting season, but the signatures of Jimmy Bayes and D'Ernest Johnson on letters of intent to USF are proof that hard work pays off.

That and a man's word is his bond.

Bayes, who committed to the Bulls in January of 2013 - has been wooed by several schools and pressured to flip his commitment.

In the end, the Rivals four-star ATH kept his word.

"Coach (Willie) Taggart gave his word to me, and I gave my word to him," Bayes said. "I wanted everyone to know - I'm proud to wear the green and gold."

Bayes was joined on stage by Rivals250 RB D'Ernest Johnson, who decommitted from North Carolina and was pursued up until the morning of signing day.

"I really like coach (Telly) Lockette, and coach Taggart," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to coming up there and doing some hard work."

This is the second straight year that USF has pulled in two Rivals four-stars - and a Rivals250 member. Given the fact that USF is 5-23 during that time, it's not lost on both Bayes and Johnson the work that needs to be done.

"We are coming to help build the program back up to where it should be and take it further," Bayes said. "I believe in what coach Taggart is building there. If you're coming to USF, get ready to work."

In this mostly agrarian town, hard work ethic and determination marks the football program, the school and the community. Over 500 people crammed into the high school auditorium to cheer a cross country runner, a softball player and two additional football players (J.C. Jackson and Johnson Louigene).

Jackson chose to go to Florida while Louigene will head to Youngstown State.

Johnson, ranked 185th in the country, and the 18th best running back according to Rivals.com - is looking forward to facing off with his brother - Tshumbi Johnson - who graduated last year and plays for Cincinnati.

"That means 'momma' has to cheer for both of us," Johnson said.

USF signed two running backs in this class, as Sarasota Booker RB Marlon Mack flipped from UCLA to the Bulls two weeks ago. USF struggled offensively last year and Johnson hopes to help fix that.

"We have a great class and some great coaches," Johnson said. "Get ready - because we're coming."

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