The decision to fire Willie Taggart shocked quite a Florida State few players, coaches and parents – sending a shockwave throughout the program. Most believed the firing was coming, but just not so soon.
As to be expected, there were a lot of reactions to the firing of the 43-year-old coach. Here are the reactions from players, recruits and alumni:
- Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Cory Durden was one of the first players to speak out on social media, not necessarily on the firing itself, but more on his future with the program as a result. “It’ll forever be love FSU”, Durden said in a tweet about an hour after the firing. The tweet also included a ‘peace sign’ emoji, suggesting that he is going to ‘peace out’ from the program. Durden is eligible to enter the NFL draft this upcoming summer.
- Defensive back Isaiah Bolden and wide receiver D.J. Matthews had probably the shortest reactions to Taggart’s outing, with Bolden tweeting out a heart emoji and Matthews simply saying, “Damn.” Matthews’ and Bolden’s responses may have been short but this is definitely a case in which one word or emoji might as well be 100. Matthews was one of the players that was seen verbally defending Taggart during a fan altercation after the Syracuse game just the week before.
- Sophomore defensive back Jaiden Lars-Woodbey didn’t say anything specifically but he retweeted both Durden and Matthews tweets on Twitter. Lars-Woodbey suffered a season-ending leg injury against Louisville.
- As to be expected, there was some fallout on the recruiting trail. Immediately after the firing, three-star defensive back Derek Bermudez reopened his commitment. Bermudez was also in attendance at the Florida State vs. Miami game on Saturday. The Seminoles are still reportedly in the mix to land the Jacksonville prospect.
- Speaking of prospects, four-star outside linebacker Melvin Jordan gave his support to Taggart by tweeting from his own personal Twitter account: “I love you coach tag!!!” There are no other developments on how the firing may impact his commitment.
- Both sophomore Keyshawn Helton and redshirt junior Jay Williams shared their personal experiences with Taggart on Twitter. “You flew all the way to California to give me a second chance at an opportunity of a lifetime,” Williams said. “Thank you for believing in me when many others didn’t. All love.” Helton offered similar sentiment by saying, “He gave me a chance no other coach would give. I am forever grateful.”
- The most confrontational take on the firing came from Pro Football Hall of Famer and FSU alumni Deion Sanders, who stated, “What coach only gets a year and a half to right a ship that was wrong to begin with? I got time.” Sanders later responded to a claim that FSU was too big of a task for Taggart to handle, to which Prime Time simply responded, “That’s a lie.”
Upon learning of his release, Taggart posted in a tweet:
“I am disappointed in the decision today as I believe our future is bright at Florida State. Building a program and a culture takes time, and I regret that we will not have the opportunity to continue to coach these incredible young men… I want to thank the Florida State faithful for their support as we worked towards building a program that they could be proud of. On behalf of my family and I, we wish Florida State nothing but the best and will be cheering on the Seminoles the rest of the way.”