Oregon Ducks

Oregon coach Willie Taggart flips his first recruit, Darrian McNeal

Oregon Ducks

New Oregon coach Willie Taggart came to the Ducks from South Florida with the reputation of being a good recruiter, and the hope was that he could potentially tap into the talent-rich pool of Florida athletes. 

So far, so good on that potential dividend of hiring Taggart.

Oregon has flipped and received an oral commitment from athlete Darrian McNeal out of Armwood High School in Seffner, Fla.  McNeal, who announced his decision via Twitter, was originally committed to Arizona. He is rated as a three-star athlete by both Rivals.com and 247Sports. Rivals does not rank McNeal (5-foot-10, 175-pounds) among its top 100 athletes while 247Sports ranks him as its 66th best athlete and as the 137th best overall recruit in the state of Florida out of 195.


Oregon, of course, is no stranger to capturing high-end athletes from the state of Florida. The Ducks currently boast wide receiver Charles Nelson (three-star) and running back Tony Brooks-James (four-star), both signed out of Florida in Oregon's 2014 recruiting class.

That said, it's possible that Taggart, who spent four seasons at USF, could make it more routine that UO snags players out of Florida. 

Taggart was asked about that possibility on Thursday during his introductory press conference.

"We're going to recruit the entire country," Taggart said. "And Florida will be one of those states we recruit. There are some really good football players down there, and some really good speed down there."


McNeal represents some of that speed. He played quarterback at Armwood where he routinely ran amok on opposing defenses look silly. McNeal received an offer from South Florida and Taggart before committing to Arizona. He also received offers from Oregon State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Purdue, Pittsburgh and Boston College, among many others. 

McNeal gives Oregon 14 commits. The Ducks' 2016 class currently ranks 41st in the nation, according to Rivals. It ranked No. 23 before former coach Mark Helfrch was fired and a few players decommitted.