, thousands of college bound athletes will finalize their official commitment with the university of their choice.
For an 18-year-old, this decision of a school to not only play for, but also learn from, might seem daunting.
Despite being a stressful time for student-athletes, USF freshman defensive back Nate Godwin said USF coach Willie Taggart helped to make the experience a great one.
“It was stressful,” he said. “Picking the right school was hard, but coach Taggart made it easier.”
Unlike last year, Taggart has now had a full season to recruit players. Currently,
25 players are committed to play for the Bulls, but that number could change on
National Signing Day.
Taggart was able to recruit Godwin last year despite not having coached a single game for the Bulls at that time. Godwin had already committed to the University of Minnesota, but after speaking with Taggart, he decided to play for USF instead. That talk he had, Godwin said, was the most memorable part of Signing Day.
“(Recruitment) was a great experience, I committed here because of coach Taggart,” Godwin said. “I was impressed with the foundation he’s building and he changed my mind to come here.”
“Just knowing that I was officially committed to the school I was going to play for was a good feeling,” he said.
Taggart will see how many more of those memorable conversations he can have.
Unlike Godwin, many players on USF’s roster signed long before Taggart came to campus.
Junior wide receiver Andre Davis signed in 2011, when former USF coach Skip Holtz recruited him.
Though Holtz was fired a year later, Davis has fond memories of his Signing Day as well. He said he never questioned his commitment to USF because he was confident in his ability to make the most of what the school offered him.
“I wasn’t worried about having any regrets because I knew I would play my hardest and work to get to my full potential no matter where I played,”
When it comes to potential new recruits committing to schools, fans may wonder what goes into the final decision of which school the athletes choose. For Davis, his enjoyable visit to USF was a big factor in his decision.
“It was a nice school close to home and it has a nice friendly environment,” Davis said.
According to rivals.com, six recruits from the Tampa area are verbally committed to USF for the 2014 class.
The ability for Davis to play immediately was also an important part of the reason he came to USF.
“Being able to sign with a school I could go to and play (for) right away was really important to me,” Davis said.
Being able to make an impact on the field as soon as possible is important for many recruits, and the Bulls are losing 17 graduating players from last season. What was important to Davis years ago is still evident in the Bulls now more than ever.
Last season, as the Bulls went 2-10, at least 10 freshmen started for USF at one point. Clearly, Taggart wasn’t opposed to putting players on the field early. Multiple times in the spring last year, Taggart said competition throughout the entire roster was going to take place.
It shouldn’t be any different this year, as the Bulls are hoping Taggart can sway more players to commit, as he did with Godwin and as Holtz did with Davis.