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Oregon’s hire of Willie Taggart earns an A-

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“If he can figure out how to get a handle on Oregon’s defensive collapse, he can win big.”

Temple University v South Florida Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images

2016’s round of college football coaching moves is just about over and that means it’s time to take stock of what we all just witnessed.

SB Nation’s Bill Connelly has handed out grades for the country’s new head coaches, as any good teacher would in December.

He’s a fan of most hires, giving Texas an ‘A’ for snagging Tom Herman and LSU a ‘B’ with Ed Orgeron. The worst grades on the board are a trio of ‘C+’ handed out to some Mountain West Conference programs.

The Oregon Ducks get an A- with the hire of Willie Taggart.

Here are Connelly’s comments:

Last 10 years: Stanford running backs coach (2007-09), Western Kentucky head coach (2010-12), South Florida (2013-16)

Program 5-year S&P+ rank: 14

2016 record and S&P+ rank: 4-8 (69th)

In a way, Taggart suffers from the same issues as [new Baylor head coach Matt] Rhule: he’s taking over at a school in a region for which he has minimal recruiting ties. His 18-year career consists of 11 years at WKU, four at USF, and just three anywhere else.

That said, those three were at Stanford from 2007-09, when Taggart was part of Jim Harbaugh’s period of Cardinal growth. And while local recruiting connections are important at Oregon, his Ducks can only succeed because of national recruiting.

Taggart has pulled off two successful salvage jobs; at USF and WKU, he went a combined 4-20 in his first seasons, 11-13 in his second seasons, and 25-12 thereafter. He redefined himself offensively at USF to cater to the talent on hand, and he will probably do the same. If he can figure out how to get a handle on Oregon’s defensive collapse, he can win big.

But that’s an awfully big “if.”

Grade: A-

It would be interesting to see what grade Connelly would give Oregon for keeping Mark Helfrich, but that’s not how the game works.

This list should be a lot of fun to look back on two or three years from now.