During the weekly USF press conference this afternoon, Head Coach Willie Taggart was asked a series of questions on a topic I am particularly partial: players hailing from Southwest Florida and recruiting the 239 area code.
Taggart was presented with an open ended question requesting the USF head honcho elaborate on Bulls players from Immokalee, recruiting the area, and the high school. Coach Taggart responded, “You get guys that love football. Come home after school and it’s football. There’s no video games going on down there, they’re playing football.”
“And you love those kids because they love to compete, they love to play the game, and they play it the right way. Every single one of those guys we have are helping our football team out and doing a great job for us. It speaks volumes about what that community down in Immokalee is about when it comes to football. They just, breed them down there.”
Junior USF defensive lineman and Immokalee native Deadrin Senat erupted for a career high performance last weekend in upstate New York, posting 10 tackles and one tackle-for-loss in the 45-20 slaying of Syracuse on Homecoming nonetheless. Taggart elaborated about Senat, “Tell you an interesting thing about old Deadrin, think he was committed to Florida State at one point and the football Gods worked out for us and he decided to stay home to us.”
Next Coach Taggart was asked about how big the recruiting has been for USF in the 239 and the impact of players like D’Ernest Johnson (Immokalee HS) and Ryeshene Bronson (Dunbar HS)
Taggart’s response was music to my ears, “It’s huge. It’s been hug for us ever since we’ve been here. I think that’s the beauty of growing up down here in Florida and understanding where there’s good football. We do a great job of going down there and doing one of our camps down there to get around the kids; and it’s not far from them to go to school. They’re away from home, but there not a home, so it gives them the being away for college but there family and friends get to see them play. But it’s really good football in the 239 and it’s been good to us here at USF.”
Here’s a list of active USF football players from Southwest Florida. I’m looking forward to the continued growth of USF’s brand on my home turf of Naples, FL.
by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle
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