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Signing day leftovers: Staff works OT to land some OTs



Because we can't sleep for one waking hour of signing day (well, at this stage we probably could), we'll close out things with these leftover tidbits from Coach Willie Taggart's press conference:

[] Still devoid of a tailback in the class as January wound down, USF closed huge with commitments -- and eventual signings -- from Sarasota Booker's Marlon Mack (6-foot, 195 pounds) and Immokalee's D'Ernest Johnson (5-10, 180).

A Rivals four-star recruit, Johnson amassed 1,332 all-purpose yards -- including 744 on the ground -- last season. Mack, an four-star recruit, ran for 1,527 yards last fall but was named the Sarasota Herald-Tribune's defensive player of the year (110 tackles at safety).

"What I like about both of them is, they're thick, solid kids. I mean, some big backs," Taggart said.

"And I can only imagine how big they're gonna get once they get here in our weight room. Both those kids have great vision, really good feet, but they're strong kids. You watch and they hardly ever get tackled by the first guy."

[] Taggart said the late commitments of two offensive tackles -- DeLand's Benjamin Knox (6-6, 259) and Sickles' Zach Hudson (6-5, 297) -- were huge.

"That was a need for us, to get some tackles," Taggart said. "We have two guys (Darrell Williams, Quinterrius Eatmon) that are going to be seniors this year and it was huge that we get some more."

[] Taggart said he wasn't concerned about losing Jesuit LB/DE Vincent Jackson to another school. Jackson, in Dallas preparing with USA Football's under-19 team for Friday's International Bowl, didn't make his college choice known until Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Jackson, whose first offer came from USF, said he chose the Bulls based on his "comfort level, and the opportunity to be a part of something great."

"Vincent and I have had a great understanding, great relationship," Taggart said. "I was very confident Vincent Jackson was going to be a Bull."

[] And finally, Taggart was effusive in his praise of his staff, administration and even USF's student workers for collaborating on a consensus top-50 signing class.

"I don't think any of these things would've happened without a plan," he said.

"I thought (director of player personnel) Paul Gonnella did a great job of putting the plan together, and our coaches did a great job of executing the plan. Our coaches went out on the road and worked their tails off. And it's not always easy to go out and recruit when we had the kind of year (2-10) that we had."

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 7:58pm]


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