Florida State recruiting: Breaking down the defensive tackle board
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Seminoles in hunt for nation’s top defensive tackle
In the 2018 cycle, Florida State signed four defensive linemen with a focus on edge-setting defensive ends.
In the 2019 cycle, coach Willie Taggart and his staff will look to sign another big crop of defensive linemen. However, this class should see a bigger focus on the interior since the Seminoles brought in only one defensive tackle in the 2018 class.
With longtime Seminoles defensive line coach Odell Haggins being the lone holdover from Jimbo Fisher’s staff, the defensive tackle position is the one spot on the roster that won’t have to deal with significant change.
That should benefit the Seminoles’ recruiting efforts at that position, as Haggins represents one of the nation’s top recruiters and developers of talent over the last two-plus decades.
Florida State already has a commitment from 3-star Loganville (Ga.) Grayson defensive tackle Tru Thompson, but the Seminoles would like to add a few more bodies at that position before this cycle concludes.
Which players are the Seminoles looking at and where do they stand with them?
Let’s take a look at where the Seminoles are with defensive tackles entering the spring.
Current best bet(s) to end up in FSU’s class: Ishmael Sopsher, 5 stars
Landing Ishmael Sopsher will be a tall order for any school, considering he’s in LSU’s backyard. The Seminoles are not his leader nor has he given any indication that he’s leaning toward ending up in Tallahassee.
However, he’s likely the player that the Seminoles have invested the most time in and have built the strongest relationship with to this point. Another way to put it is that he gets this spot by default.
The defensive tackle board is evolving and there should be clarity over the next few months. However, the Seminoles — thanks to the efforts of Haggins — should be in the mix with Sopsher until the very end.
Other targets to know: Jaquaze Sorrells, 4 stars, Tyler Davis, 4 stars, DJ Dale, 3 stars
Sorrells is a former Florida commitment who is versatile enough to play defensive end. The Seminoles have yet to get him on campus, but that visit should happen over the next few months. Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Miami, Texas A&M and Oregon are among the other schools involved with Sorrells.
The Seminoles have some work to do in order to move up Davis’ list of favorites as well. Florida, Miami and Ohio State are among the schools trending with him. The Gators and the Hurricanes already have gotten him to visit within the last two months. The Seminoles would need to get him on campus soon if they hope to be a factor.
Top 5 in no specific order!🏈🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/spCYRlea7G
— Dj Dale (@ddale44) April 5, 2018
A top out-of-state option could be 3-star DJ Dale. The Seminoles offered him in February and hosted him on campus a few weeks ago. The Seminoles put their best foot forward on that visit, and it helped them earn a spot in his recently released list of top 5 schools. He’s also visited Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Tennessee in recent weeks. At 6-foot-2, 330 pounds, he projects as a space-eating tackle who could be a force against the run.
Next who could receive an offer: Tymon Mitchell, 4 stars
Tennessee hasn’t been a territory that Florida State traditionally hits in recruiting on an annual basis.
However, the Volunteer State has produced its share of talent in recent years, and the Seminoles did land Jalen Ramsey out of the Nashville area in the 2013 cycle. That turned out well for both parties.
Willie Taggart and his staff have offered a handful of Tennessee targets in the 2019 class, and another target to keep an eye on could be 4-star Nashville (Tenn.) Franklin Road Academy defensive tackle Tymon Mitchell.
The Seminoles are already recruiting his prep teammate and 4-star receiver Lance Wilhoite. The 6-3, 285-pound Mitchell currently holds 20 offers with programs such as Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt among the schools pursuing him.
Should the Seminoles need to explore more options at the position, Mitchell would seem to make sense from a talent and geographical standpoint.
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