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Peter Warrick fired up about old friend Taggart taking over at FSU

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Peter Warrick and Bobby Bowden celebrate the Seminoles' 1999 national championship. (Associated Press)

“Willie T. … That’s my boy!” proclaims the voice on the other end of the call.

It has been a week since Willie Taggart was named head football coach at Florida State, and Seminoles legend Peter Warrick is still excited.

Warrick, who now coaches high school football in the Atlanta area, is giddy about the Taggart hire for a number of reasons.

Number one, he and Taggart have been friends and competitors since their days of playing youth sports together back home in Bradenton, and he has always respected Taggart’s mind and talent.

Number two, he knows that Taggart is a lifelong FSU fan and has always dreamed of being part of the Seminole family.

And number three, he has no doubts that Taggart will take the Florida State program to another level – both in terms of recruiting and play on the field.

“That’s the first thing I thought about when I heard Willie T. was coming,” Warrick said. “He’s gonna get some recruits back in here. Bragging rights, baby!”

* ALSO SEE: Could Taggart pull this 4-star DE from Oregon?

Warrick, who is about 10 months younger than Taggart, said he still remembers their epic battles on youth ball fields and throughout high school. For some reason, Warrick said, they were always on opposing sides – a trend that would continue through high school.

While Warrick starred at Bradenton Southeast, Taggart was the quarterback at Bradenton Manatee. The competition was fierce, and the trash-talking was non-stop.

“You better believe it,” Warrick said with a laugh. “That’s all we did. We’re from Bradenton. We’re both from 941. We talk trash and we back it up – and we have fun doing it.”

Warrick led Southeast to state championships as a junior and senior, while Taggart guided Manatee to a state title as a junior and to the championship game as a senior.

From there, however, their careers took different paths.

Taggart was passed over by Florida State and other major programs and ended up starring at quarterback for Western Kentucky. Warrick, of course, became a superstar wide receiver for the Seminoles.

Taggart then went into coaching, while Warrick would go on to be the No. 4 pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.

But through the years, Warrick said, the two have always stayed in contact.

“We all kept up with each other,” Warrick said of their childhood friends. “There weren’t that many of us that made it.”

Aside from Taggart’s well-known recruiting prowess, Warrick is perhaps most excited about the offensive fireworks he has seen from his old friend’s teams at Oregon, South Florida and Western Kentucky.

“We’re trying to score touchdowns … immediately,” Warrick said. “And you know he’s going to do well in recruiting. He’s a Florida guy. He knows people around the state. And kids love playing for him. They know he’s going to bring the best out of them.”

Warrick, who has been coaching high school football for the last six or seven years, currently is the receivers coach at Langston Hughes High School in Fairburn, Ga.

“It’s the next best thing to playing,” Warrick said of coaching.

Warrick said he sent a text message to Taggart congratulating him on the job, but they haven’t actually had a chance to speak yet. When that happens, Warrick said, he plans to let Taggart know that he would be happy to do anything he can to help.

If there are any openings on Taggart’s staff, Warrick said he certainly would be interested. If not, he said he’ll still be happy to support the ‘Noles and his old friend.

“He always wanted to be a part of Florida State, and I’m glad he’s part of this ‘Nole Nation now,” Warrick said. “It’s all about timing. Timing plays a big role in everything. God does everything for the right reasons at the right time. And Florida State is Florida State.

“Once a ‘Nole, always a ‘Nole. That’s just how I feel.”

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Talk about this story with other Florida State football fans in the Tribal Council