Gonzalez is USF's No. 1 Defensive End Target

Gonzalez is USF's No. 1 Defensive End Target

Marlon Gonzalez, a three-star pass-rusher out of North Fort Myers, left the University of South Florida very impressed with Willie Taggart's plan going forward. The No. 40 defensive end in the nation on Scout.com is also the Bulls' No. 1 defensive line target on their big board.

Marlon Gonzalez, a former Florida State defensive end commit out of North Fort Myers (Fla.) High School, has boasted scholarship offers from the majority of the schools residing in the fertile recruiting state of Florida, including South Florida, Florida State, Florida Atlantic and Florida International.

One program that's enamored with the 6-foot-4, 260-pound standout's potential is Willie Taggart and the Bulls, who weren't shy of letting Gonzalez know how significant his commitment would be when he was in Tampa Bay over the weekend.

"It was a really good visit and all of the coaches showed me a lot of love and treated me like family," Gonzalez said. "I really like the city itself, so it was a pretty good visit.

"They were straight up with me and told me I was their No. 1 defensive lineman on their board. They really want me to come in and play right away. Coach Taggart was straight up with me and that's something I really admire. At the end of the day, I'll look at every school, but USF definitely showed me a lot of love."

Butch Jones and Tennessee hauled in a verbal commitment from a defensive end out of the Sunshine State this weekend, and hopes Gonzalez gets a similar feeling when he heads up to Knoxville in the near future.

"I'm trying to take a trip up to Tennessee by the end of the month," Gonzalez said. "For the rest of the summer, I'll be working hard and trying to get our team going to make a run to states."

The No. 40 defensive end in the country on Scout.com has a variety of different opportunities presented to him early on, but expect him to shrink his list before summer's end.

"Well, I really don't have a top (school) right now," Gonzalez said. "I'm just looking at every school openly. I got a couple of SEC offers and some small schools I like. My mom and I will be talking about this visit, which was a pretty good visit.

"I'm just going to look at USF high on top. I'm probably going to get a top five or top three by the end of the month. I just haven't really took a lot of visits to schools."

As far as the factors that will lead him to his final college decision, Gonzalez has some clear criteria in mind.

"The location, where I feel more comfortable, when coaches like me and I like them, and if we treat each other like family will impact my recruiting," Gonzalez said. "My mom might be coming up with me wherever I go."

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