Former UCLA quarterback Asiantii Woulard tweeted Monday he will transfer to USF. The Florida native decision brings his recruitment full circle, as Woulard was a one-time Bulls verbal commit before reopening in December 2012, shortly after the firing of Skip Holtz.
Decided to come home & play at the University of South Florida. No past regrets at all but looking forward to a new beginning in Tampa! #USF
— Asiantii Woulard (@Asiantii2_) June 29, 2015
The irony of Asiantii Woulard now committing to play for Willie Taggart is twofold. First, and most obvious, is Taggart was hired to replace Holtz on Dec. 7, 2012, just five days after Woulard decommitted. He paid an official visit to UCLA the following month and became a Bruin shortly thereafter.
Second, Asiantii Woulard comes full circle with the Bulls amid a new cloud of coaching controversy. The struggles USF experienced, which began under Holtz, have not subsided in Taggart’s first two seasons.
The Bulls finished 2-10 in a dismal 2013, which included an era-opening blowout loss to FCS opponent McNeese State. Last season saw an improvement to 4-8, but USF was still well short of the standard set when Jim Leavitt had the Bulls competing for Big East titles and routinely playing in bowl games.
Depending on your resource, Taggart’s seat is a tad warm — CoachesHotSeat.com ranks his the No. 21 hottest headed into 2015 — too leather-car-seats-in-Phoenix-in-July. Lindy’s preview magazine tabs Taggart as one of the coaches facing the most pressure this coming campaign.
The good news is Taggart has proven adept at rebuilding in short order, turning around Western Kentucky from a punching bag to a bowl participant in his three seasons there. Moreover, Taggart laid a foundation that allowed Bobby Petrino, and now Jeff Brohm, to continue building.
Tangible evidence of improvement in 2015 is crucial for the program, and adding a transfer the caliber of Asiantii Woulard isn’t a bad indication of USF’s future direction. However, it’s still just indication of progress at this time.
Woulard isn’t the first high-profile transfer to land at USF recently. Taggart’s debut coincided with Notre Dame transfer Aaron Lynch’s first (and only) year of eligibility with the Bulls. Lynch played fine in his one season at USF, but he left early for the NFL — much to the chagrin of a since-ousted strength coach who subtweeted about Lynch’s character.
Asiantii Woulard comes to Tampa with much less baggage, however, and the potential to make an impact once he gains eligibility in 2016. The Bulls’ success this season, which Woulard can have a hand in as a practice player and influence from the sidelines, will be critical in determining just who the quarterback is playing for a year from now.