Florida State recruiting: Previewing loaded spring game visit weekend
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Nation’s top overall prospect highlights visitor list
After weeks of having talented recruits on campus, Florida State will have another big group of prospects in Tallahassee this weekend during the Seminoles spring game.
New Seminoles coach Willie Taggart and his staff have worked tirelessly to build a rapport with top targets in the 2019 cycle, and the fruits of their labor are starting to come to fruition.
The week got off to a promising start when 4-star Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell announced his commitment to Florida State. Howell plans to be in Tallahassee this weekend and will likely turn into a player recruiter for the weekend.
— Sam Howell (@Sam_Howell2) April 9, 2018
The biggest visitor expected is the nation’s top overall prospect in the 2019 cycle — 5-star Thousand Oaks (Calif.) Oaks Christian defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.
But he will not be the only prime target on hand. According to Noles247’s Chris Nee, dozens of talented prospects in the 2019 class and in future cycles are expected to be in Tallahassee this weekend.
Which visits should fans pay attention to and what are some other key factors to watch during the weekend?
Let’s look at that and more in previewing Florida State’s spring game visit weekend.
Visits of note
4-star DE Khris Bogle
Florida State has two defensive ends committed — 4-stars Mike Morris and Quashon Fuller. But the Seminoles still have a need for lighter, sleeker pass-rushing types at the defensive end spot. Florida State will have three of their top pass-rushing targets on campus — 4-star Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Khris Bogle, 4-star Auburndale (Fla.) defensive end Lloyd Summerall and Thibodeaux.
Bogle’s recruitment seems like it could become a showdown between in-state rivals Florida State and Miami. Clemson also remains a factor, but the timing of this visit is critical for the Seminoles. That’s because Miami has been trending because he’s visited the Hurricanes campus numerous times in recent months. The Seminoles get their chance to reverse the momentum in Bogle’s recruitment this weekend.
4-star LB Jaleel McRae
Linebacker is another important need for the Seminoles to fill in the 2019 cycle. This weekend, the Seminoles will welcome a pair of 4-star targets to town — Gulfport (Miss.) linebacker Derick Hall and Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy linebacker Jaleel McRae.
Hall earned an offer from the Seminoles in February, and this will be his first time making it to campus. On the other hand, McRae has yet to earn an offer from the Seminoles despite attending the program’s junior day in February. Should McRae get the offer from Taggart and his staff, it’s possible that a commitment could follow.
4-star WR George Pickens
Similar to the linebacker board, the situation at receiver is evolving. The Seminoles have in-state targets they are heavily pursuing such as 5-star Homestead (Fla.) South Dade receiver Frank Ladson and 4-star Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna receiver John Dunmore. But a handful of out-of-state targets are beginning to emerge as well.
— .1 (@geo_Thagoat) April 10, 2018
Another name added to that list is 4-star Hoover (Ala.) receiver and current Auburn commit George Pickens. The Seminoles offered him earlier this week and he’s scheduled to be in Tallahassee this weekend. If that visit goes well, Pickens could emerge as a serious option for the Seminoles at a position of need.
5-star DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
In terms of the need for pass rushers, we’ve covered who will be in town — Bogle, Summerall and Thibodeaux. Of that group, the Seminoles appear to be in the best shape with Summerall. However, getting an extended unofficial visit from the nation’s top overall prospect is about as good a scenario as a team can hope for at this stage of his recruitment.
— kayvon thibodeaux (@kayvonT8) April 12, 2018
This weekend gives the Seminoles a real opportunity to woo Thibodeaux and position themselves to earn a return visit in the form of an official. They clearly have a need at his position, and the movement among West Coast prospects and Florida State’s program is seemingly gaining buzz with each passing week. Assuming the Seminoles make an impression, they could become a huge factor in his process in the months ahead.
Things to watch
With Howell on board, the Seminoles have the unofficial face of their class, and he will be present this weekend. That factor should provide a huge boost this weekend to help guide the recruits who will be present. Having one of the nation’s top arms as an ambassador could jump-start the Seminoles’ run toward a top-5 overall class.
Another factor that should contribute to the overall atmosphere in Tallahassee this weekend is the number of former players scheduled to appear for the weekend’s festivities. Former Seminoles legends such as Deion Sanders and Charlie Ward are among the past greats who have made plans to be at the spring game. It’s likely that past greats from all eras of Seminoles football will attend.
Anybody In Tallahassee this weekend want to go to @goldencorral with me and @Coreyfuller4 ? I’m serious. I may take 21 people to @goldencorral to eat all u can and talk about sports,life,kids,our country,FSU and ETC. #Truth
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) April 12, 2018
Having that sense of camaraderie on display to the recruits in attendance is likely to create an impressive backdrop that showcases the program.
Finally, after all the buzz about what Taggart and his staff have done off the field, this will be our first chance to see what the Seminoles will look like on the field.
Will the offense be a potent, fast-paced and explosive unit?
Will the defense be an aggressive, attacking group that creates turnovers?
It’s likely that we won’t get the whole picture, with many key players out of Saturday’s game because of injury. Still, it should be enough of a glimpse into what the future of Seminoles football could be like. That likely will be on the minds of the recruits and fans in attendance this weekend.
My best guess would be yes. Identifying which players could pull the trigger may be a challenge, but there could be a few names to keep an eye on.
— Maurice Goolsby (@_magxii) April 10, 2018
Defensively, McRae was previously mentioned as a possibility should an offer come on this trip.
It’s also possible that some players in future cycles will pull the trigger as well. Either way, the chances are high that the Seminoles add players to their commitment list over the weekend.
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