When FSU hired Willie Taggart 12 days ago, the hope and belief in Tallahassee was that he would be bringing either one or both assistants Mario Cristobal and Jim Leavitt with him. Well, as you probably know by now, Cristobal received the permanent head coaching job. And, on Sunday night, Leavitt has agreed to stay in Eugene with him, as the Ducks defensive coordinator.
SI’s Bruce Feldman broke the story late Sunday night:
SOURCES: DC Jim Leavitt has signed a new deal tonight with #Oregon. The contract will take him thru the 2021 season & pay him an average of $1.7 million per year. Here is my report: https://t.co/bSmHMZF5pj
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 18, 2017
As Feldman reports, Leavitt will get a huge salary increase, and at $1.7 million will become one of the highest paid defensive coordinators in all of college football.
The Ducks were beaten Saturday in the Las Vegas Bowl by Boise State 38-38, and at that point, per his original contract with Oregon, he was free to potentially leave Eugene and join Taggart’s staff in the same role with the Noles.
This is obviously a massive “1-2 gut punch” to Florida State’s recruiting efforts, as Cristobal and Leavitt are long time fantastic recruiters in Florida. And, now, neither will be coming South.
Leavitt, like Taggart, is a former USF head coach and has made no secret that he desires to be a head coach in a big time program, again.
Clearly, what Oregon built this year defensively, their returning players and recruiting prospects appealed to Leavitt to stay, as much as the money.
Leavitt spent part of the the last 12 days also recruiting face to face with several prominent Ducks recruits in the West, as the brand new “early” national signing day is coming up this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, three time zones away, Taggart has gone about trying to salvage the Florida State recruiting class during that same time. The Noles had more than five premier recruits who de-committed from FSU, while head coach Jimbo Fisher left Florida State in limbo for the final week of the season.
Fisher eventually took the Texas A&M job and may end up with a some of those same recruits in College Station, TX.
This is not to say that Taggart won’t do well enough recruiting for the Noles, but it clearly is now going to be much harder this year and in subsequent years to get players, without Cristobal and now, Leavitt.
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