Tampa, FL - The new era of golf is officially underway for the University of South Florida men’s golf team, as the team has signed their first recruiting class under new head coach Chris Malloy.
Malloy announced on Wednesday that the team had signed three players, Kevin Jorden from Cardinal Newmann, Trey Valentine from Viera and Branden Collins from Leon to National Letters of Intent.
“We are extremely excited to sign three players like Kevin, Trey, and Branden,” Malloy said. “I am confident that this is the recruiting class that will set the foundation for the Bulls join the nation's elite golf programs."
All three players will join the Bulls for the 2011-12 season.
Jorden, one of the top players in the state of Florida, was the No. 1 player on a Cardnal Newmann team that won the 2010 Class A State Championship, and earned a third place individual finish at the State Championships in 2009.
The senior was named to the Palm Beach Post All-County First Team in 2007, 08 and 09, and earned Sun Sentinel All-County First Team Honors in 2008 and 09. Jorden also won on the Florida Junior Tour during the 2010 year.
“We had to fight out every major school in the state of Florida to sign Kevin,” said Malloy. “To be able to grab a player of his caliber sends a strong message that we are committed to winning BIG EAST and National Championships here at USF. Kevin is as physically talented as anyone in the state and comes from a family that is rich in golfing tradition.”
Valentine, who played at Viera High School, was named the Florida Today Golfer of the Year in 2008 and 09 as well as MVP of the 2010 Viera High School golf team. Valentine was a member of the All-Space Coast Junior Boys Team from 2007-10.
A Florida Junior Tour winner, Valentine also earned a third-place finish at the FCWT TPC Sawgrass Championship, a fourth-place finish at the AJGA Charles Howell Championship and a fifth-place finish at the Golfweek Junior Championship last weekend.
“Trey is somebody that has been on our radar for a few years now,” Malloy said.” You will be hard pressed to find a player with more consistently good results. The one characteristic that you will find in all great junior golfers is that their worst results are still near the top of the leaderboard. Trey also has some of the best fundamentals that will greatly benefit him over the next four years.”
The final member of the incoming 2011 class is Branden Collins from Leon High School. Collins was the winner of the U.S. Kid’s Golf Championship at Pinehurst No. 2 by firing a 6-under 66 in the tournament’s final round. Collins has finished in the top six in eight of the nine junior events that he has played in this year.
“Branden has not played in as many tournaments as most of the other junior players in the state, but is still very highly ranked in Florida,” Malloy said. “This is a very impressive stat and shows that he has really capitalized on the tournaments that he has played. I truly believe that he is our diamond in the rough.”
The men’s golf team will begin their spring season on Feb. 11 as they partake in The Match Play in Tampa. The new class of Bulls will join the team in the fall of 2011.