Taggart out at FSU: Four programs that stand to benefit
Willie Taggart is out at Florida State after coaching just 21 games at the school, and longtime defensive assistant Odell Haggins will serve as the interim head coach for the rest of the 2019 football season.
FSU will now begin yet another coaching search. While the Seminoles are tied up with that, a few of their rivals stand to benefit from the uncertainty that has taken hold. Below, we look at four such teams.
The team that dished out Taggart’s death blow over the weekend stands to benefit more than anyone else. Going into the weekend, it seemed as though both programs were on shaky footing, but what a difference a 27-10 win makes. Now, UM seems headed for a bowl berth while the Seminoles have been sent back to the drawing board. Running back Jaylan Knighton might be open to Miami now that things have fallen apart in Tallahassee and will likely at least consider a flip. Where this really helps the Hurricanes is in the class of 2021, as UM head coach Manny Diaz and company will now be gifted a massive head start when it comes to locking up in-state juniors. FSU is not likely to have a permanent head coach in place until after the season, and that kind of extended uncertainty is a gift to the Hurricanes. FSU safety commit Jadarius Green-McKnight tagged Diaz in a tweet just moments after Taggart was dismissed, so there may be something to watch when it comes to him as well.
Georgia Tech has asserted itself as a player in the Sunshine State and could provide a soft landing spot for any FSU commit looking for a backup option. Defensive back Derek Bermudez backed off his FSU pledge just before the Taggart news was announced and is now considering the Yellow Jackets.
Tech has yet to offer FSU tight end commit Carter Boatwright, but Boatwright is a Georgia native and would likely consider the invitation should it arrive. Fellow Georgia product and Seminole commit Isaiah Dunson holds a Tech offer already and could take a look at the in-state program now that things in Tallahassee are at rock bottom. Tech is trying to raise its profile in the Sunshine State and this may help it do so as one of the major in-state powers is now in recruiting limbo.
The Gators are, by far, the most stable program in the state of Florida, which typically comes with plenty of recruiting spoils. UF hasn’t lost any head-to-head battles with FSU in this class, so where Florida will clean up on this is down the road. While FSU searches for a new coach and attempts to convince recruits the program is stable despite hiring a third head coach in four years, Dan Mullen will focus in on 2021 and 2022, where he can show prospects the program's current 7-2 record. Having a head start with 2021 stars such as Terrence Lewis, Jacorey Brooks and Mario Williams is reason for excitement in Gainesville.
It will be interesting to see if some of FSU’s recruits end up at UCF. The Knights could steal a player or two here, and could see a couple more fall into their laps if the new FSU staff decides said players aren't part of the Seminoles’ future.
FSU has a load of commits from Orlando and Fort Myers, which are areas in which the Knights recruit well. You never know how things will shake out, as UCF is certainly an appealing option for a Florida-born prospect looking to stay in state and play for a team on stable footing.