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Willie Taggart Wants You (And You And You And You And You) To Play For USF

The Bulls' new coach has reenergized the search for high school talent, and even if it doesn't lead to a top-notch class this year, it's reminded everyone that USF is not to be ignored on the recruiting trail.


For a long time, the attitude USF took towards recruiting was, "Ask anyway, because the worst they can do is say no." Eventually that attitude paid off. There were always a couple of gets in the Bulls' recruiting classes, and paired with their knack for developing unsung prospects into good, even NFL-caliber players, it led to some truly quality classes towards the end of the Jim Leavitt era.

That attitude changed some under Skip Holtz. Sure, they still asked, but they often seemed more interested in the kids who wanted to be at USF, rather than convincing someone why they should be there. There were still the gets, like Elkino Watson or Andre Davis. But like a lot of things under Skip, the energy didn't seem to be there, and there wasn't as much depth in the classes as there had been. Consider that if Holtz was still around, he would have been going into year 4 with a team that everyone openly predicted would be just as bad as the 2012 team. That's a pretty strong indictment of their recruiting strategy.

Enter Willie Taggart. Considering he doesn't have much of a staff yet, you have to give him the lion's share of the credit for getting after it instantly and reminding the local prospects that USF is interested in them. I think that's the right attitude to have here, and it never stopped being the right attitude. Not that you should ever stop being aggressive on the recruiting trail, but you have to hit a pretty high level before you can put together a really strong class just on kids who want to be here. USF never came close to hitting that level. Only the brand names of college football ever do.

USF lost just about all of its recruiting momentum during the fall, between losses in nine of their last ten games and watching their conference get ripped to shreds. Exactly the time you want someone as enthusiastic and focused as Taggart hitting the recruiting trail to tell kids why USF is still a good choice for them.