Just one day after Jimbo Fisher was officially introduced as the new head coach at Texas A&M, Florida state has reportedly landed its top target to replace him.
Sources have informed college football reporter Brett McMurphy that Willie Taggart has agreed to a deal to become the next head coach at Florida State. According to McMurphy, Taggart has been FSU’s top priority since it became clear that Fisher was leaving. While Taggart is said to have been happy in his first year at Oregon, he is a Florida native and could not pass up the opportunity to coach one of the biggest programs in his home state.
Taggart coached at South Florida before he took the Ducks job, and he is considered a strong recruiter in the state. That likely has a lot to do with why Florida State made him a priority.
McMurphy also confirmed a previous report that Oregon offered to give Taggart a raise, even offering the coach a one-year extension before Fisher left Florida State. Ultimately, it seems like there was nothing the Ducks could do to stop Taggart from leaving.
The swipe Fisher took at Florida State on Monday made it clear that his relationship with school administrators was tarnished, so landing Taggart is probably as good of a consolation prize as the Seminoles could have hoped for.
Jimbo Fisher made a somewhat surprising decision when he decided to leave his job at Florida State to take on a new challenge at Texas A&M, but those who are familiar with the relationship between Fisher and his former bosses saw it coming.
On Monday, Fisher was officially introduced as the new coach of the Aggies. While speaking with reporters, he appeared to remove all doubt that he was not seeing eye-to-eye with the administration at Florida State.
Texas A&M’s willingness to make Fisher the third-highest-paid coach in college football with a $7.5 million annual salary likely made Jimbo’s decision easy, but Florida State almost certainly would have given him a raise. Fisher was aggressively pursued by another top program a year ago, yet he chose to stick with the Seminoles. What changed?
Fisher ruffled some feathers earlier this year when he noted that Florida State is lagging behind schools like Clemson, which just built a new $50 million football facility. There had been talk that FSU officials agreed to explore the possibility of building a new facility of their own, but Fisher was obviously unhappy with the progress made toward that plan. That probably gives you the best idea of why he suddenly had a change of heart.
With Jimbo Fisher headed to Texas A&M, Florida State has very quickly turned their attention to a new head coaching hire.
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the Seminoles have zeroed in on Oregon head coach Willie Taggart and Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente as two leading candidates to succeed Fisher.
Taggart may well be the leading candidate. He knows the state, having coached at South Florida, and it seems they’ve been preparing to make a run at him since they learned that Fisher might ultimately depart. They’d just have to convince him to leave Oregon after only a year in charge there.
Jimbo Fisher has yet to decide if he will remain with Florida State beyond this season, and university officials would like for the coach to make up his mind sooner rather than later.
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reports that FSU officials are urging Fisher to make a decision about whether he will accept an offer to become the next head coach at Texas A&M or stay with the Seminoles. Fisher apparently wants to wait until after Florida State’s game against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, but there is concern that he is hurting the team’s recruiting.
As Schlabach notes, three high school prospects — cornerback Houston Griffith, offensive lineman Verdis Brown, and safety Israel Mukuamu — announced on Twitter Wednesday night that they have decommitted from FSU and are opening up their recruitment again. That almost certainly has to do with reports that Texas A&M is prepared to make Fisher a massive offer and Fisher is leaning toward taking the job.
Fisher is currently the sixth-highest-paid coach in college football with an average annual salary of $5.7 million. He signed an extension with FSU last December which runs through 2024. If he leaves, he will owe FSU either $5 million or the total sum of his 10 assistant coaches who are not retained by the team’s new head coach.
While Fisher was aggressively pursued by another top program in recent years and ultimate chose to stick with the Seminoles, he recently ruffled some feathers when he noted how Florida State is lagging behind with its football facilities. School officials have agreed to explore the possibility of committing $60 million to a new facility, but Fisher is reportedly unhappy with the progress that has been made toward that plan.
Texas A&M fired Kevin Sumlin over the weekend. If Fisher stays at Florida State, the Aggies will likely turn their attention to Oregon’s Willie Taggart. Should Fisher leave, Taggart could become FSU’s top target.
Willie Taggart is in only his first season as the head coach at Oregon, but that hasn’t stopped reports about him potentially leaving the Ducks from piling up.
With it looking like a legitimate possibility that Jimbo Fisher could leave Florida State to take the head coaching job at Texas A&M, Dan Wolken of USA Today reports that the Seminoles have started gathering information on Taggart.
Before he was hired by Oregon, Taggart had success at South Florida and showed he can win in the state despite a tough recruiting environment. That’s why he was previously linked to the Florida job after Jim McElwain was fired.
The Ducks are 7-5 this season after they finished 4-8 last year, and four of their five losses came when starting quarterback Justin Herbert was injured. Taggart is off to a great start in building a strong program at Oregon, and he recently addressed rumors about him being unhappy. It seems unlikely that he would leave after just one season.
Miami pulled out a come-from-behind, 24-20 win over Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee Saturday. It was a hard-fought ACC matchup, but the Hurricanes (4-0) were able to stay unbeaten, and will likely move up from No. 13 in the AP top 25 this week.
In the final minutes of the matchup, as Miami mounted its final drive, the Hurricanes picked up a pivotal third-and-10. ESPN’s production received criticism, however, because its yellow first-down line moved and was crooked on the play.
Check out a good slow-motion video of the yellow line below.
Two full weeks of the college football season are in the books, and the rankings for Week 3 have been posted. Some teams have been rewarded for victories over the weekend, while others were punished by voters for their losses. Many changes happened — some good, and others bad. Here’s a look at nine things the college football polls got wrong after Week 2.
1. USC should not have been jumped over Penn State
Perhaps the AP voters still have last year’s Rose Bowl on the brain, or perhaps a decisive home victory over Stanford was enough to completely erase the memory of USC’s less-than-decisive home victory over Western Michigan. Either way, I would not have ranked USC ahead of the Nittany Lions — at least not yet.
USC moved up two spots in the AP poll and one in the Coaches Poll to No. 4 in the country, ahead of Penn State.
Perhaps we’re dwelling a bit too much on that unconvincing result against Western Michigan, especially with how impressive Sam Darnold looked against a Stanford team that was expected to give the Trojans a stern test. But Saquon Barkley-led Penn State made quick work of Pitt and looked brutally efficient doing it. It seems like the Nittany Lions were dropped for playing a weaker opponent than USC.
2. Ohio State was punished too severely
Florida State began its season by falling to Alabama on Saturday night, but the team’s biggest loss had nothing to do with the final score of the game.
Seminoles starting quarterback Deondre Francois went down with an injury late in the fourth quarter, and it appeared to be serious. Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat reports that it was, as Francois suffered a patellar tendon injury and is set to undergo season-ending surgery this week.
Francois suffered the injury in Florida State’s 24-7 loss when he was sacked from behind while rolling out of the pocket. He was carted off the field, and true freshman quarterback James Blackman finished the game under center. Blackman is expected to start on Saturday against Louisiana Monroe.
While Francois struggled against Alabama (19-of-33 for 210 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions), the sophomore was outstanding for the Seminoles last year. He threw for 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns and just seven interceptions as a freshman. He added another 198 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
The Carolina Panthers likely didn’t know that Francois had been seriously injured when they took a light-hearted shot at him on Twitter. Between losing the game and Francois for the season, Florida State could not have gotten out to a much worse start in 2017.
Florida State and Alabama squared off in a battle of top-three teams as part of college football’s opening weekend Saturday night, and many noticed that Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois bears a striking resemblance to Cam Newton. The person running the Carolina Panthers’ Twitter account couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a shot at FSU.
Here was one of the tweets that mentioned how Francois and Newton look alike:
And here is how the Panthers weighed in:
That’s a bit cold, though all in good fun. Alabama ended up winning the game in convincing fashion, and Florida State managed to score just seven points. We’re going to guess the Panthers’ social media person didn’t know Francois had to leave the game with a leg injury late.
National Signing Day has come and gone, spring games are starting across the nation, and college football coaches, players, and fans are already looking ahead with excitement to the 2017 season. Some fans have more reason to be excited than others, though, with strong returning cores and top recruiting classes setting several squads up for potential runs at the national championship early in 2018.
Here are five teams who stand a pretty good chance at making the College Football Playoff and possibly winning the whole thing next season.
5) USC Trojans
After about five years in what was, at least for them, the college football wilderness, the USC Trojans are back and barreling toward elite status under Clay Helton. Quarterback Sam Darnold will be a Heisman candidate after throwing for 3,086 and 31 touchdowns as a freshman. They’ll lose some talent on the offensive line, but they recruited well by bringing in highly-rated recruits Austin Jackson and Jalen McKenzie.
The reality is this team will go as far as Darnold can take them.
Once he seized control of the quarterback position, the Trojans reeled off nine consecutive victories, including a rather convincing 26-13 win at eventual College Football Playoff participant Washington. It all culminated in an epic comeback to beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl, which should give this team a really good feeling heading into a 2017 season, where a playoff berth is a very real possibility.
4) Oklahoma Sooners