While the rumor mill kicks into high gear regarding the future of Oregon football coach Willie Taggart, commits who have helped Taggart build a potentially outstanding 2018 class seem to believe that he’s not going anywhere.
Not even Florida State, which may or may not need a coach depending on what Jimbo Fisher decides about Texas A&M.
Matt Prehm of 247sports takes a pretty comprehensive look at Taggart’s situation in a piece posted Thursday morning.
On note, several commits reaffirmed their commitment and belief that Taggart will be coaching them next fall.
“He assured me and my folks that I’m going to be fine and everything will be smooth and would guide me to be the best I can be on and off the field,” Steve Stephens said to DuckTerritory about his Wednesday in-home visit.
“He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to,” said Jevon Holland of his in-home visit with Taggart. “He knows that we know he’s not leaving. He has a top-six recruiting class in the nation. Why leave that? He understands how close we are and how connected we are to Oregon.”
“Like coach Taggart said a couple weeks ago in response to those other rumors, he ain’t going nowhere so I ain’t worried nor should anyone else be.”
“It’s come up,” added Braden Lenzy of the rumors, “but he’s going nowhere. He [knows] he’s building a dynasty in Eugene.”
“He hasn’t said anything to me [about it],” added Spencer Webb. “I don’t think he will move on.”
Christopher Randazzo, a 3-star offensive tackle out of Chino, California posted this to his twitter account:
All Coach Taggart has been saying is how excited he is about this 2018 class. The beef and skill we have coming to Eugene next year is MASSIVE. I don’t believe he is going ANYWHERE. Coach Taggart is the MAN, and will help us get to that Natty no doubt. 🦆 #GoDucks
— Christopher Randazzo (@Randazie) November 29, 2017
Randazzo, who is pretty active interacting with other Oregon commits, retweeted this:
— Kevin Wade (@KwadeSays) November 29, 2017
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a group of athletes felt strongly that a coach was going to remain on campus only to see them in front of the microphones at another school a day, a week or month later. It’s how the game is played.
Taggart is scheduled to speak to the media in a press conference on Friday. The presser was already scheduled and was not made in reaction to any rumors about Taggart but you can bet that questions about the Florida State situation will be asked.
Austin Meek of the Register-Guard wrote a column suggesting Taggart can erase speculation by agreeing to terms of a new contract the school has offered him.
Wrote Meek: “That’s why I’ll be watching closely to see how Taggart plays this extension. So far, he’s said all the right things about being committed to Oregon. If he wants to demonstrate that commitment, agreeing to an extension right now, before the Florida State situation resolves, would be a strong signal.
The other option is to play things out, to wait and see if Fisher leaves FSU. Honestly, doing so would make a lot of sense from Taggart’s perspective. If he leaves this extension on the table for another week or two, it doesn’t mean he won’t ultimately end up signing it and staying at Oregon. It would, however, indicate that he’s at least watching the marketplace to see if he has other options.
Keep in mind, Taggart is still owed $13 million on his initial five-year deal that runs through 2021. The extension would add one year and $7 million while upping his average annual salary from $3.275 million to $4 million.”
John Canzano of the Oregonian points out a key factor in the entire situation: Taggart’s agent is Jimmy Sexton, who has clients all over the landscape.
What you need to know on the Willie Taggart and Jimbo Fisher front… they share an agent. Are we all getting caught in his game? https://t.co/Owk9JLIExH
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) November 30, 2017
“Taggart’s agent is Jimmy Sexton. You need to know this. Same agent as Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. Sexton has a reputation of being a powerful, shrewd, hard-nosed negotiator who will work every angle on behalf of his clients. It’s why many at FSU aren’t convinced that Fisher is going to leave. LSU thought it had Fisher twice in recent years, and he leveraged that, and then returned to Tallahassee. Now, Texas A&M may have him… or not. If you were a coach, you’d hire Sexton to represent you. If you’re a university, you cringe at his tactics. Oregon is learning more about how Sexton plays this week. And if you’re a Ducks fan, even if Taggart stays, you’re going to come to know more about how he operates over the years. Leaks and rumors are Sexton’s most valuable negotiating friends.”
Meanwhile, Ducks fans will want to monitor what is going on at Florida State and Texas A&M.
Will he stay or go?
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 30, 2017
Isn’t the college football coaching carousel fun?