After Auggie Sanchez finished his senior season in 2017 as USF’s all-time leading tackler, his college football career appeared to be all but over.
At least as a player.
Sanchez told The Oracle on the phone Tuesday that he plans continue his football career on the sidelines as a graduate assistant under former USF coach Willie Taggart at FSU.
“I have a (graduate assistant) position available to me at FSU under Willie and I’m going to take that position,” Sanchez said. “I plan on taking that GA spot at Florida State within a month or two, if I get accepted into school.”
Sanchez said he and Taggart developed a strong connection while they were both at USF. He saw the program transform under Taggart, going from 2-10 to 11-2 in just three seasons.
Taggart gave Sanchez an opportunity early in his career. After being listed as a fullback, Sanchez made the switch to linebacker and started every game in his first year of eligibility.
“When Taggart was here, there was no mistake me and him had a really good relationship,” Sanchez said. “We always talked about coaching and me getting into it and he told me before he left for Oregon: ‘you know if you ever want to get into coaching, just give me a call and I’ll find a position for you.’”
Sanchez made that call.
He said the plan to get into coaching was made before USF’s pro day. Knowing that a lot of things had to work out in his favor to make it into the NFL, Sanchez had a contingency plan.
After the 2018 NFL Draft, Sanchez remained unsigned and was invited to attend tryouts for the New York Giants. After a mediocre series of tryouts, Sanchez said his agent called him telling him he’d likely get offered a spot on the 90-man roster, which includes members of the practice squad.
“I think going up there kind of reaffirmed my desire to not really play anymore,” Sanchez said. “I know it sounds crazy, but the NFL just didn’t seem like it was for me.”
Sanchez said that the tryout — the NFL Draft process — put things into perspective for him. It cemented his decision that, for one of the first times in his career, he wanted to be on the sideline instead of on the field.
“I’ve always kind of had this desire to be a coach,” Sanchez said. “The X’s and O’s was sometimes more interesting to me than playing the game. I like to know about the game. I like to make calls, I like to be in charge of things.”
Sanchez ultimately wants to get back to USF as the head coach. He said the school gave him so much and he looks forward to giving back to that place.
His coaching career hinges on a Graduate Record Examination. He needs to earn a certain score on the reading and math sections of the GRE to get accepted into FSU’s Online Criminology program.
Once that happens, Sanchez will look to coach alongside Taggart in garnet and gold in Tallahassee.