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So, Willie Taggart is USF's new coach, and that has excited a lot of people. A lot of coaches, a lot of players.
Highly regarded for his recruiting of Tampa Bay kids to his former program, Western Kentucky, I was wondering: will those offers extended by Taggart the Hilltopper coach be good enough for Taggart the Bulls coach?
Or put more bluntly, was Taggart offering kids that he thought weren't quite BCS players and would never be considered good enough to play at USF, or did he think the kids he was recruiting were BCS players plenty good enough to play at USF that he was hoping he might steal away?
What does he think now?
Taggart's influence is broader than just Tampa Bay, though. Consider Joe Fennell, a three-star 6-5, 320-pound guard from South Fort Meyer.
He chose Western Kentucky over Auburn, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Oh, and USF. DId he pick Western Kentucky because of Taggart? And if so, should USF fans be excited? Yes.
If it was a decision based on grades and academics, then not so much.
We can play this game with any number of players, but let's stick with our local players.
Taggart's hiring creates an interesting dynamic. Looking through our list of 2013 Tampa Bay recruits, here's a few who have offers from Western Kentucky, including some that were offered by the Hilltoppers but did not, as far as we can tell, ever get offers from USF. Keep in mind these are all offers that were at one time extended and reported, but we're not sure if the school ever followed up with written offers or if the offers still stand. But at one time, they existed.
And keep in mind, as one local coach points out, there are different academic standards between the schools, so that doesn't necessarily mean a kid who was recruited by WKU can qualify for USF. There are many factors to consider. But for what it's worth:
Isaac Tanner, LB, Freedom: Tanner was Western Kentucky's eighth verball commitment this recruiting season. He does not have an offer from USF. He was recruited by WKU assistant and Palmetto native Raymond Woodie. If Woodie follows Taggart to USF, Tanner may have a difficult decision on his hands. Whether that decision includes the Bulls remains to be seen.
Nate Godwin, DB, Freedom: Godwin is a Minnesota commitment, but USF was one of his three finalists, and Western Kentucky offered him. This is Taggart's best opportunity to flip someone. Don't be surprised if it happens.
Darryl Richardson, QB, Armwood: Richardson has a USF offer and a Western Kentucky offer. There's alot of debate over whether he's a quarterback or a tight end at the next level, and he also has offers from Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and UCLA.
Mike Love, DL, Countryside: Has coveted a USF offer that never came, but Taggart offered him at Western Kentucky. Hmmmm...
Rodney Adams, WR, Lakewood: Probably the juiciest player out there for USF, and he's visiting Western Kentucky with or without Taggart. Since the new USF coach offered him there, maybe he can talk the Spartan pass catcher into another stop by Fowler Avenue?
Nigel Harris, LB, Hillsborough: He has some nice offers (Purdue, Vanderbilt), but he was offered by USF and Western Kentucky.
Jeremy Kerr, TE, St. Petersburg: Kerr says he is still verbally committed to Miami, but has been looking around. He reportedly has an offer from Western Kentucky, or at the very least alot of interest from the school.
Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin, DBs, Lakewood: Both brothers are verbally committed to UCF. Shaquill had a USF offer, but not Shaquem, according to some Bulls coaches. And considering they were a package deal, that was never going to work. But Taggart offered both at Western Kentucky. Will he try to flip them?
Derrick Doss, LB, Largo: The Packer linebacker was offered at one point by Western Kentucky. We're not sure that offer still stands.
Juwan Brown, QB, Largo: Offered by Western Kentucky, but not by USF.
Darren Hambrick, LB, Hernando: Offered by Western Kentucky, but not by USF. Hambrick recently verbally committed to Missouri.
Janarion Grant, ATH, Pasco: Offered by USF, and the Bulls really could use a guy like Grant. But he's also been offered by Taggart, so will that be a deciding factor?
Wesley Bullock, RB, Plant: He has a Western Kentucky offer, but was never offered by USF.
Brandon Pertile, OL, Countryside: The 6-foot-6, 290-poiynd Cougar has a Western Kentucky offer, and offers from Florida Atlantic and Florida International but not USF.
Antonio Geraud, DT, Tampa Bay Tech: He's committed to UCF, but he did have a Western Kentucky offer. Does that mean Taggart may want to sway?
Robert Davis, Carrollwood Day: Hillsborough County's all-time leading rusher decommitted from Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon, prompting some buzz he might be hoping for USF. I'm just throwing him on this list for that reason, but Davis had neither an offer from USF or Western Kentucky, so we shall see.
Times preps columnist John C. Cotey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JohnnyHomeTeam.