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Blackwell, Alabama assistant among new USF hires



On the day that Miami made official the hiring of longtime USF assistant Larry Scott as the Hurricanes' new tight ends coach, the Bulls reportedly made a few additions of their own.'s Josh Newberg was first to report that former USF quarterback Marquel Blackwell, who spent last season as a graduate assistant on Willie Taggart's staff at Western Kentucky, is returning to the Bulls in a non-coaching role, close to what was the "director of high school relations" position held for five years by Rich Rachel.

Then broke news that Taggart has hired a new director of player personnel in Paul Gonnella, who held the same role on Alabama's national championship team this past season. Gonnella has held similar roles in stops at Purdue, Tennessee, Miami and North Carolina. His new job had been held by former WKU assistant Stu Holt, who now looks to be promoted to a full-time assistant, likely to the vacant special-teams coordinator job. Alabama coach Nick Saban had hired former FSU and Clemson assistant Kevin Steele as his director of player personnel, but Taggart is getting a recruiting specialist who has helped bring together several national top-10 classes.

USF hasn't confirmed any of the hires officially, but that could come as early as Tuesday. If Holt is promoted, Taggart would have just Scott's position to fill -- he was working with USF's tight ends and tackles, the same job Holt held at WKU last season. If Taggart liked his external special-teams candidates better, he could put Holt in Scott's old job and hire into the special-teams job.

Bulls fans have been clamoring to get Blackwell back at USF since Taggart was hired. He worked as a program assistant under Jim Leavitt and Skip Holtz, and should help the Bulls with his solid recruiting ties in the Tampa area.

[Last modified: Monday, February 25, 2013 10:07pm]


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