USF Athletics
2:25 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

USF Football Wraps Up Signing Day

For college football fans, signing day is like Christmas, when you finally see what new presents your team has under the tree. For players and their families, it's the culmination of years of preparation, pressure and recruitment. And for coaches, it might just be the difference between losing your job and winning your conference.

USA Today took a look at signing day through the eyes of USF's new coach, Willie Taggert.

USF football coach Willie Taggart talks with a future player on the phone during national signing day.
USF football coach Willie Taggart talks with a future player on the phone during national signing day.
Credit Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

For the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), there is nothing quite like national signing day; a carnival of unnecessary pomp, overwrought expectations, dramatic twists, and – for the coaches who spend countless hours recruiting players – plenty of nervous anticipation.

That's especially true at a school like South Florida, which had a handful of players verbally committed when Taggart, 36, took the head coaching job Dec. 7. For Taggart and his assistants – some of whom he brought from Western Kentucky, others of whom he hired from various jobs in college football and the NFL – it was a two-month sprint not only to salvage the recruits who had pledged to the previous coaching staff but to add enough good players to help quickly rebuild a program that went 3-9 as a member of the Big East.

USF received signed commitments from 23 players. Recruiting website Rivals.com ranked the class 49th out of the 120 FBS schools, and 3rd in the Big East, trailing only Pitt (33rd nationally) and Rutgers (44th).