Florida State recruiting: 4-star LB target Dax Hollifield sets official visit
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Priority target expected for Miami game
Every year, at least one home game on Florida State’s schedule lines up to bring recruits from all around the country to Tallahassee to witness the atmosphere inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
This year, that game appears to be Sept. 16 against in-state rival Miami. With the game already scheduled for a primetime audience (7 p.m. ET, ABC), it makes sense that coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff would try to use what figures to be a charged atmosphere as a showcase of sorts for the program.
A number of priority recruits are expected in for the game, with confirmations seemingly coming in by the day. Another name can be added to the list as 4-star linebacker Dax Hollifield will be in attendance for his official visit, according to John Whittle of The Big Spur.
The nation’s No. 5 inside linebacker and the No. 125 player overall in the 2018 cycle per 247Sports also has trips set to Stanford and Virginia Tech with North Carolina and South Carolina also in the mix to land his remaining official visits.
Although Florida State has a pair of linebackers committed in 3-stars Amari Gainer and Rosendo Louis, Hollifield is a prospect who would be very tough to turn away should he possibly want to commit to Fisher and the Seminoles at some point.
As a junior, the 6-foot-2, 236-pounder recorded a staggering 146 tackles — including 52 tackles for loss — with 18 sacks and an interception, according to MaxPreps.
Adding him with Gainer and Louis would give the Seminoles a linebacker class ripe with athleticism, depth and versatility at a position where they needed to replenish the roster entering the current cycle.
The September visit will represent the first time back on Florida State’s campus for the Shelby, N.C., standout since a visited in April. While the Seminoles probably aren’t in the drivers seat in Hollifield’s recruitment, getting him back on campus could jumpstart a final push that makes his recruitment worth following down the stretch.
Seminoles make short list for 2019 5-star DT
Arguably one of the top targets on the board in the 2019 cycle is 5-star defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher.
The 6-foot-5, 279-pound prospect from Amite, La., was in Tallahassee over the summer to work out during one of Florida State’s summer camp sessions.
Top 12 schools ‼️🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/kBTlnnyLYs
— ishmael sopsher (@isopsher) August 26, 2017
Sopsher figures to be a heavily recruited prospect that a number of programs around the country covet, but the Pelican State defender has already began the process of cutting his list of suitors down.
Last weekend, he shortened his list down to 12: Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Memphis, Miami, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Penn State and Tennessee.
Sopsher rates as the nation’s top defensive tackle and the No. 2 player overall in the 2019 cycle per 247Sports.
As a Louisiana native who has been familiar to LSU coach Ed Orgeron and his staff since the eighth grade, to say it will take a grand effort to get Sopsher to leave his home state may be understating things.
But Florida State may have an ace up its sleeve in longtime defensive line coach Odell Haggins — a coach whose resume in recruiting and developing elite defensive tackles stacks up with the best in the country at his position.
As Josh Newberg of Noles247 detailed, Sopsher enjoyed the experience of working with Haggins one-on-one during his visit in June.
If Haggins and the Seminoles staff can continue to develop that relationship and continue to get Sopsher on campus between now and the time he arrives at a decision, Florida State will have at least a shot to pull off what would be a major coup in landing a potential cornerstone recruit in the 2019 class.
FSU offers 2019 DE
Early last week, Florida State hit the state of Mississippi to offer a two-way standout junior. On Friday, Fisher and his staff returned to the Magnolia State to offer 4-star defensive end De’Monte Russell.
— De'Monte Russell (@monte_russell) August 25, 2017
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect from Provine (Jackson) High School in Jackson rates as the nation’s No. 15 weakside defensive end and the No. 226 player overall in the 2019 class, per 247Sports.
As a sophomore, Russell registered 28 tackles — including 7 for loss — with 4 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble.
Florida State joins SEC West members LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss as the four programs who have jumped in with offers to Russell.
While his production isn’t eye-popping yet, Russell’s athleticism, length and long-term potential for growth are traits that are fueling the surge of interest from colleges.
As more schools watch his film and evaluate him, expect his offer list to swell in the coming months.
Florida State has clearly placed value on rangy, athletic pass-rushers in recent years and Russell seems to fit the bill in what Fisher and defensive ends coach Brad Lawing look for on the edge of the defensive line.
Russell’s recruitment appears to be in its early stages, and it bears repeating it’s extremely tough to pull players out of the state of Mississippi — even if Florida State had success there last year with its recruitment of running back Cam Akers.
But being one of the first few programs to offer Russell could prove fruitful if it leads to a healthy relationship between both parties.
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