By LUIS GONZALEZ
The ink has dried for the class of 2017, but the full court press for juniors and seniors in high school is already in full swing.
Mark Richt (Miami), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Jim McElwain (Florida), Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic), Butch Davis (Florida International), and Charlie Strong (South Florida) headline the coaches from Florida that are pushing for kids to sign to their schools, but they need to keep an eye out on a school in the opposite end of the country.
Willie Taggart left USF to take the head coaching job at the University of Oregon. But, just because he decided to go does not mean he’s giving up his turf.
South Florida is heralded as one of the most fertile grounds in the country for high school football talent, grounds that Taggart took advantage of as a Bull.
Already in his first recruiting class as a Duck, Taggart has begun to poach out a pipeline to Eugene. He got some help from his new co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal, the former FIU head coach and Alabama offensive line coach specialized in helping the Crimson Tide pull All-Americans from Florida to play in Tuscaloosa.
Seven out of their 24 signees were from Florida, three coming from South Florida, and four coming from the Central Florida. Their current roster only has three players from Florida, none south of Lake Okeechobee.
Before and on signing day, local coverage in Miami was focused on coaches from Florida schools battling it out for local talent, but gave a simple brush to Taggart’s staff and the seeds he has planted.
On National Signing Day, The Miami Herald had three stories on its website that mentioned Taggart’s name. All three bylines were from Associated Press writers.
When next recruiting cycle comes around, Taggart’s staff will look to get more athletes and mentions when he tries to get more Ducks flying north to play football in Eugene.