There’s a lot of general excitement surrounding Florida State football with Willie Taggart entering his first year on the job.
And while a lot of that is centered around the No. 11 recruiting class he just signed, how he handles the already-stockpiled talent will be even more imperative in the early going. Despite coming off a tumultuous 7-6 season, Taggart inherits plenty of talent from Jimbo Fisher and, in particular, it’s the redshirt freshmen who stand to have the biggest impact on Taggart’s program.
Florida State redshirted 12 players of their No. 6-ranked, 24-man recruiting class in 2017 and they’ll all be coming off their redshirt year eager to prove that they belong and hoping to climb the depth chart. And here are the three redshirt freshmen most likely to make an impact for the Seminoles in 2018.
Tight end Alexander Marshall
With Ryan Izzo on his way to the NFL, Florida State returns 2 receptions at tight end between upcoming sophomore Tre’ McKitty and upcoming junior Gabe Nabers (though he’s more of a fullback or h-back). That paves the way for Alexander Marshall to earn some significant playing time coming off his redshirt year.
Originally a 3-star recruit from Bridgton Academy in Maine (of all places), Marshall is listed at a towering 6-foot-8, so he can provide some immediate value in the red zone with that height. And with Taggart’s power-running spread, he’ll almost certainly find himself on the field often in larger sets.
McKitty is the more dynamic athlete, but if Marshall can provide value in the red zone and as an extra blocker he’ll be on his way to a fine career with the Seminoles.
Defensive tackle Ja’len Parks
Ja’len Parks is a former 4-star recruit that was ranked inside the top 150 players in the country by the 247Sports composite rankings, so he’s got plenty of talent and he’ll get his first real opportunity to showcase that in 2018.
Florida State lost Derrick Nnadi and Jalen Wilkerson along the defensive line. And while they’ll still return a lot of talent, it’s always best to have a deep rotation up front and Parks’ emergence would give them at least eight defensive linemen that they’re comfortable with after using nine in their rotation in 2018.
Wide receiver Tamorrion Terry
It’s no secret at all that wide receiver is going to be an issue for the Seminoles in 2018 after losing Auden Tate early to the 2018 NFL Draft from a unit that was already pretty thin on playmaking ability to begin with. That’s why Taggart recruited the position so aggressively in the Class of 2018, signing five at the position.
However, Tamorrion Terry has had a year on campus and a year in the weight room after entering the program with a promising 6-foot-4, 208-pound frame. And none of the five wide receivers incoming are enrolled yet so he gets a headstart on the rest of the pack in spring football.
If he can show what he can do with some added strength and speed during the spring, he could slide into the Tate role as a bigger outside threat capable of providing matchup problems for the smaller cornerbacks in the league, particularly in the red zone.