Taggart playing catchup on the recruiting trail

New head football coach Willie Taggart said he’s excited about the future of the Western football program and has put together a staff that shares that excitement with him.

Joining Taggart on The Hill will be new tackles and tight ends coach D.J. Pratt, who spent time at Kent State, and former player Karl Maslowski, who was a member of the 2002 Division I-AA National Championship team.

Taggart said his staff was a little behind on the recruiting trail, but that didn’t stop them from pursuing their goal.

“We want to have to best recruiting class in the Sun Belt,” Taggart said on Friday. “That’s our goal. We want to be the best. We won’t settle for anything less. We’ve said it before, but we’re chasing greatness.”

Taggart said the success that Pratt had at Kent State in recruiting played a big role in his decision to hire him to his staff.

Pratt recruited Cleveland Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs and New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman while at Kent State.

“I’ve been preaching to our players that I want this environment to be like it is in the NFL,” Taggart said. “With that being said, we want some NFL players. Coach Pratt has proven that he can recruit those kind of guys.”

But Taggart said he knows it requires a lot of hard to bring in the caliber of players that he’s targeting.

“Recruiting is crazy,” he said. “These kids change like hot cakes. You have to stay on them. In my experience, the coach that talks to them last is going to get them.

“So there’s going to be sleepless nights, and hopefully come signing day, we reap the benefits of working hard and we put together and good recruiting class even after being behind.”

Taggart said the players that his staff are going after are noticing that they’re pursuing the best players, something that he feels is a positive influence on other targets.

With college football’s National Signing Day less than two weeks away, Taggart’s emphasis on recruiting is clear.

“It’s not about the Xs and the Os, but the Jimmys and the Joes,” Taggart said.

-Cole Claybourn

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