Big coup: DT Calloway flips from Louisville to USF
It's been one of those busy recruiting nights where you get off the phone with one commitment, only to find another recruit has joined USF's Class of 2013, and the last one Sunday night is the biggest. USF coach Willie Taggart has convinced defensive tackle Derrick Calloway -- a four-star recruit according to Rivals.com -- to back out of a commitment to Louisville and sign with the Bulls on Feb. 6.
Bradenton Manatee assistant Steve Gulash, a former high school teammate of Taggart at Manatee, confirmed Sunday night that Calloway has changed his commitment, this on a weekend where he made an official visit to Louisville.
Gulash said Calloway's primary hesitation to committing to USF was a strong relationship he had with former USF defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick, who was not retained by Taggart. But with a new defensive line coach in place this week -- Eric Mathies, who was Taggart's defensive line coach at Western Kentucky -- Calloway felt a comfort level enough to commit to play close to home for the Bulls.
"It's a tough thing. Willie did a hell of a job to get him away from Louisville. This is a big deal," Gulash said.
Gulash said Calloway's commitment isn't just one Manatee grad showig loyalty to another -- he didn't grow up hearing about Taggart, and lived in Los Angeles until moving to Bradenton before his junior year. So Gulash said the connection helped, but this was more about a dynamic, young recruiter swaying a talented prospect to stay close to home.
Calloway is the fourth commitment of the day for USF -- we'd reported earlier on defensive ends Mike Love (Countryside) and Eric Mayes (Sarasota Booker) choosing the Bulls, and Taggart also landed a tall corner from Kissimmee Osceola in Hassan Childs, who had eight interceptions as a high school senior. Childs was originally committed to N.C. State before the coaching change there, and was looking at schools like Purdue, Wisconsin and Nebraska before he chose the Bulls.
As Gulash said, the key for USF landing these defensive commitments is Taggart getting his defensive staff in place -- Childs was intrigued by the talented corners that DBs coach Ron Cooper has worked with in recent years, not only his three All-Americans at LSU, but players like Aqib Talib with the Bucs this past season. Similarly, the three defensive linemen weren't ready to commit until they had a better sense of Mathies, knowing he's the coach they'll be working with the most during their college years.
With those four in place, USF's focus logically turns back to offense -- the Bulls still need to land a quarterback for 2013 as well as probably two running backs, and perhaps a tight end. The Bulls are moving closer to their limit of 25 scholarships for the class, so Taggart will have to be selective with the final commitments he takes for his first recruiting class.