Chris Heady/Land of 10
Four-star cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles was one of a handful of surprise targets to take an official visit to Florida State last weekend.

Florida State recruiting: Big visit weekend recap

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Last-minute additions highlight first recruiting weekend of Willie Taggart era

Florida State welcomed a major collection of talent to campus over the weekend.

It represented the first time new Seminoles coach Willie Taggart had welcomed a group of recruits to Tallahassee, and the new leader of the program didn’t disappoint in terms of attracting quality and quantity to campus.

In all, 12 official visitors made their way to Tallahassee and the returns could have a major effect on the Seminoles 2018 recruiting class.

However, there were a few surprise visitors who showed up that definitely caught the attention of fans and observers in recruiting community.

Taggart was able to get four of the nation’s top 50 overall prospects on campus—seemingly at the last minute in 5-star Bellflower [Calif.] St. John Bosco safety Jaiden Woodbey, 4-star Miami Central running back James Cook, 4-star Franklin [Ga.] Heard County quarterback Emory Jones and 4-star Bradenton [Fla.] IMG Academy corner Brendan Radley-Hiles.

Jones and Woodbey are both committed to Ohio State and both had official visits scheduled elsewhere that Taggart was able to get them to cut short in order to check out Florida State. Meanwhile, Cook is committed to Georgia and Radley-Hiles was supposed to visit Florida but opted to cancel and check out the Seminoles instead.

Of these names, Cook—who was committed to Florida State before reopening his recruitment and selected Georgia in October—is the only one that was a target for the Seminoles’ previous staff.

It remains to be seen whether or not any of these targets select Florida State, but for Taggart to get them on campus in such a short amount time speaks to his abilities as an elite recruiter.

QB clarity coming?  

One of the first orders of business for Taggart is to figure out what he wants to do at the quarterback position.

Florida State’s recruitment at that position had largely boiled down 4-star Montgomery [Ala.] Lanier standout James Foster.

However, Taggart offered 3-star Tampa Bay Tech [Fla.] passer Michael Penix last week. At the time, Penix was committed to Tennessee. He’s since backed off that pledge and he was on campus in Tallahassee last weekend for an official visit. While Indiana and South Florida are also in the mix, he’s very much a possibility to ink with the Seminoles on Wednesday.

Then there’s Jones, who is a bit of a wild card heading into his announcement, which will also come on Wednesday. He’s committed to the Buckeyes, but he’s also involved with schools such as Alabama, Auburn and Florida.

The Seminoles got the last visit, but he’s also the least familiar with the Seminoles program among the group of his finalists.  Still, he’s got the skill-set necessary to thrive in Taggart’s offense.

Could the Seminoles sign one or both this week? Or do both head elsewhere and will it be back to square one with Foster? It’s likely that if Florida State lands one of the two, the Seminoles will still pursue Foster.

The next few days will be important to see which scenario comes to fruition.

DB target signing early

With so many primary targets on campus, the potential for commitments was ripe.

Even though no one has popped for the Seminoles yet, that doesn’t mean the weekend wasn’t fruitful.

Take the case of 4-star Zephyrhills [Fla.] corner Isaiah Bolden.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound defender initially committed to Florida State before flipping to Oregon in April. When Taggart took the Seminoles job, he subsequently reopened his recruitment and had plans on waiting until National Signing Day to make a final choice.

However, Taggart was able to get him to take an official visit to Florida State last weekend, and it appears as if his recruitment could be headed to its final conclusion very soon.

According to Chris Nee of Noles247, Bolden plans on deciding on Friday between the Seminoles and the Ducks.

With him coming off his visit to Florida State, it appears as if the Seminoles stand a great chance of getting Bolden back into the fold by the end of the week.

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