With the Florida State job suddenly open, all eyes have turned toward first-year Oregon coach and Florida native Willie Taggart.
But don't tell Taggart, because he's focused on his Ducks, according to his Twitter page.
Looking forward to a great day tomorrow with our team. Practice, find out where & who we play in the bowl game, 2017 Team banquet and then back on the road recruiting. Go Ducks! #TheMovement18— Willie Taggart (@CoachTaggart) December 3, 2017
When asked again about FSU rumors -- they won't stop until he's signed his reported contract extension or leaves officially -- Taggart reiterated something resembling an affirmation of what he's presently doing.
Taggart: "There’s no decision to be made. What are we talking about? I’m clear in talking to our recruits and our players; can’t make it no bigger than what it is." #GoDucks— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) December 3, 2017
What does that mean? Maybe nothing.
Taggart tweeted this on Dec. 4, 2012, three days before jumping from Western Kentucky to South Florida.
I am looking forward to our first bowl practice tomorrow. It is great to be coaching in December. Go Tops! #whatsourname— Willie Taggart (@CoachTaggart) December 5, 2012
He posted this on Dec. 5, 2016, two days before he was announced as the Oregon head coach.
Let's get it. Go Bulls!🤘🏾🤘🏾 pic.twitter.com/hbtjxutA1s— Willie Taggart (@CoachTaggart) December 5, 2016
Last week it was reported that Oregon made an offer of a little over $20 million for five years to keep Taggart away from FSU, which would be a little bit over $1 million raise per year. Taggart earned a base salary of $2.9 million in his first season in Oregon, according to the USA Today coaches salary database.
One of the hottest coaches on the market a year ago, Taggart went 7-5 in his first season in Eugene after building South Florida into a contender from 2013-16. While that record doesn't look great on paper, they were 6-1 when starting quarterback Justin Herbert was healthy and averaged 52.1 points per game in those games.
He led Western Kentucky to seven-win seasons during the final two of his three seasons with the Hilltoppers in 2011 and 2012, went from two to four to eight to 10 wins in his four seasons with the Bulls and has plenty of practice successfully building back programs that have fallen on hard times -- which the 6-6 Seminoles, obviously, have.
What makes Taggart even more attractive to Florida State is a Florida-centric staff that includes ace recruiter and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal -- the former head coach at FIU, and defensive coordinator/former South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt.
From the moment he took the job with the Ducks, Taggart made a concerted effort to keep his footprint in the Sunshine State. Whether that was simply to attract talent across the country to Oregon, to set himself up for a job back in his home state or a little bit of both, it makes sense that eyes in Tallahassee are on the 41-year-old budding coaching superstar.