75% of the 2016 Signing Class Didn’t Make it to their Senior Year
Heading into 2019 fall camp, only four of the 2016 recruiting class are still on the roster: CB Mike Hampton, OL Christion Gainer, OL Michael Wiggs, and WR DeVontres Dukes (who was briefly kicked off the team).
Gone from that class:
- WR Darnell Salomon: Kicked off team prior to Gasparilla Bowl, still looking for a school (Career: 59 receptions, 966 yards, 9 TD in 29 games)
- DB Craig Watts: Transferred before 2018 season and won a National Championship with Kerwin Bell at Valdosta State (Career: Five tackles in 12 games)
- DE Tramal Ivy: Never made it to campus
- CB Josh Dunn: Never made it to campus, spent 2017 at UTEP
- DT Micario Stanely: Switched positions, got hurt, transferred to UAB
- RB Elijah Mack: Kicked off team, Still looking for a school (Career: 17 carries, 59 yards in 9 games)
- DE LaDarrius Jackson: accused of henious crimes, kicked off team
- QB Chris Oladokun: Sterlin’d, transferred to Samford (Career: 23-of-45 for 297 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT in 8 games)
- OG Logan MacDonald: Took forever to get on campus, and was gone before the 2016 season ended
- CB Armunz Matthews: Left team prior to 2016 Birmingham Bowl, bounced around to different schools
- DE Frank Johnson: Left team prior to 2018 season
- LB Andre Polk: Medical disqualification (Career: five tackles in three games)
When 75% of your signing class isn’t there for their senior season, and only one guy (Hampton) has made a true impact on the field, something went wrong. None of these guys transferred right when Charlie Strong took over, so we can’t blame the coaching change as the reason. But, the 2018 season left a lot to be desired, and toxicity of the locker room and program needed “a cleaning” to quote Strong, which led directly (or indirectly in some cases) to three of the departures (Salomon, Mack, Oladokun)
Four players left or didn’t make it to Tampa while Taggart was still the head coach (Matthews, Ivy, MacDonald, Dunn), while another two didn’t last a full season under Strong (Jackson), and two left prior to the 2018 season (Stanley, Watts).
Who Didn’t Make It To Their Senior Year at USF (or NFL) Under Taggart:
- 2013: 10-of-24 (41.67%) transferred/left/kicked off team
- 2014: 11-of-28 (39.2%) transferred/left/kicked off team
- 2015: 8-of-20 (40%) transferred/left/kicked off team
- 2016: 12-of-16 (75%) transferred/left/kicked off team
For comparison, 61% of Skip Holtz’s final recruiting class (2012) didn’t make it their senior year at USF, and 26% of Strong’s first class (2017) is no longer on the team. Maybe it was for the best, but USF cannot afford another signing class like 2016 if they want to compete (again) in the AAC.
2016 looks to be an outlier and we’ve said multiple times this was the “swing for the fences” class from Taggart, but it’s starting to look like a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play.