Kissimmee Osceola cornerback Hassan Childs committed to USF on Sunday night following an official visit to the Tampa school.
Childs, the No. 41-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60, was committed to NC State until former head coach Tom O'Brien was fired in November. Childs opened up his recruitment, but it appeared he might have still been leading toward the Wolfpack.
His trip to meet the coaching staff of new USF coach Willie Taggart, however, went well and the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Childs will now be headed to college just 70 miles down the road.
"I feel real good," Childs said about an hour after committing. "I kind of had it in the back of my mind that's what I wanted to do before I went over there and once I was there I really liked everything ... and I just talked among my close family members and told them what I wanted to do and they said if that's what I wanted to do then go for it."
Childs said he told defensive backs coach Ron Cooper about his decision over the phone, and that Cooper sounded as if it was a sense of relief to hear the words.
"He seemed like, one of those moments where he thought, 'Finally,' " Childs said of Cooper's reaction. "Then he said, 'This is great. I'm going to go tell the rest of the coaches.' "
Cooper was one of the main reasons why Childs picked the Bulls. Taggart snagged Cooper off the Tampa Bay Bucs staff, where he spent a year as the defensive backs coach. Prior to that he was at LSU, where he mentored the likes of current NFL players Morris Claiborne (Cowboys) and Patrick Peterson (Cardinals), as well as the Honey Badger himself Tyrann Mathieu.
"I really liked coach Ron Cooper," Childs said. "He has a great background and a history of people he has coached. He knows what it takes and he thinks I have the potential to do well."
With his future in a quandry following the upheaval at NC State, Childs is happy the process has finally come to a conclusion.
"I do feel relieved. I actually told mom since I was a little kid that I wanted to go to USF," Childs said. "Once I got over there, I would say it was the players who helped me decide. They made me feel like their brother."
Just before leaving Tampa, Childs sat down with Taggart to discuss his options.
"He was just saying that I'm a good player and that he'd like to have me," Childs said. "I was expecting him to say like either "commit now or not,' but he was just asking me how I feel about the program and if I thought I wanted to come there. He said it was all on me."
Childs helped lead a stout defense that had the Kowboys (12-1) one step away from the Class 7A state title game this past season, but they fell to eventual state runner-up Tallahassee Lincoln in the semifinals. Childs had eight interceptions on the year, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He also returned two punts for TDs and he played receiver, as well.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times