Florida State recruiting: Identifying top 2019 target at each position on offense
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In-state skill players highlight biggest wants in 2019 on offense
Florida State coach Willie Taggart knows the importance of the 2019 cycle to the future of the Seminoles program.
After all, this cycle represents the first full cycle that he and his staff will tackle as a group since he took the Seminoles job in December.
A strong close to the 2018 cycle only fueled the expectations for what he and his staff could accomplish when not playing catch-up in comparison to the other powers they compete against on the recruiting trail.
As such, the Seminoles should theoretically be in play for some of the nation’s top prospects in the 2019 cycle.
The Seminoles signed just three players rated among the nation’s top 100 overall prospects in the 2018 class. That number could possibly double or even triple in this cycle.
Which players could find their names at the top of the Seminoles’ wish list at each position? Let’s start with the offense:
Quarterback: Taisun Phommachanh, 4 stars
Quarterback is arguably the primary need in this class for Florida State.
Heading into the spring, three names have emerged as legit targets for the Seminoles in 4-star San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon quarterback Jayden Daniels, 4-star Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell and 4-star Avon (Conn.) Avon Old Farms quarterback Taisun Phommachanh.
The Seminoles likely need two quarterbacks in this class, and their dream scenario would be to land any two of the aforementioned trio.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Phommachanh gets the nod here as the top passer on the board because of his size and potential to improve in college.
Still, I don’t think the Seminoles would turn away either of the other two names should they want to jump on board first with a commitment.
Running back: Trey Sanders, 5 stars
Florida State has a ton of depth in the backfield entering the 2018 season, and the future there remains bright for Taggart and his staff.
Nonetheless, landing a potential successor to sophomore star Cam Akers appears to be the goal in this class.
And among a class deep with options, the clear-cut top target for the Seminoles should be 5-star Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back Trey Sanders.
The 5-11.5, 216-pound in-state standout rates as the nation’s top rusher and the No. 6 player overall prospect in the 2019 cycle, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Sanders has all the tools necessary to become a star in college. He would be a worthy successor to the Seminoles backfield lineage that has seen stars such as Chris Thompson, Devonta Freeman, Dalvin Cook and Akers all excel the last few years.
Tight end: Hudson Henry, 4 stars
The Seminoles would like to add some depth at tight end in this class.
Last month, the Seminoles offered 4-star Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy tight end Hudson Henry — who ranks as the nation’s top tight end and the No. 43 player overall in this cycle.
If that name sounds familiar, it should. He is the younger brother of current Chargers tight end Hunter Henry.
The Henry family has been synonymous with Arkansas and it’s likely that Hudson carries on that tradition. In fact, of all the prospects on this list, Henry should be viewed as the one with the longest odds to land in Tallahassee.
Still, the Seminoles will be among a collection of elite programs around the nation that will try to sway the younger Henry from his home state.
It’s highly likely the Seminoles evaluate other tight ends in the coming months.
Wide receiver: Frank Ladson, 5 stars
Florida State wants to improve its recruiting efforts in-state and a big part of that is re-establishing the program in South Florida.
Perhaps the top prospect in that territory in the 2019 cycle is 5-star Homestead South Dade receiver Frank Ladson.
At one point early in his recruitment, the 6-4, 170-pound Ladson had committed to the Florida Gators before reopening his recruitment in December.
Clemson, Georgia and Miami are the three schools that appear to be out in front with Ladson heading into the spring.
The Seminoles will once again have a big need at receiver in this class so Taggart and his staff will likely be evaluating a lot of prospects moving forward.
However, Ladson figures to emerge as a priority for a staff anxiously looking to upgrade the talent here.
Tackle: Darnell Wright, 5 stars
Another area the Seminoles will expect to sign a number of prospects in this cycle is offensive line.
The Seminoles signed four offensive linemen in the 2018 cycle, with three of those players projected to play inside.
That means tackles are likely to be prioritized in this class.
There are a few names Taggart and new Seminoles offensive line coach Greg Frey are certain to be active with. Among the newest offers handed out by the staff included 5-star Huntingdon (W.Va.) tackle Darnell Wright.
The 6-6, 290-pound lineman rates as the nation’s No. 3 tackle and the No. 20 player overall in the 2019 cycle.
While he may be a tough pull out of West Virginia, Frey figures to cast a wide net in hopes of landing some elite big bodies up front.
Wright has the type of size and athleticism that would make him a natural fit for what Frey likes to do with his tackles.
— Darnell Wright (@darnell_5232) February 20, 2018
Guard/center: Deyavie Hammond, 4 stars
When it comes to scouting interior linemen in the 2019 cycle, Frey figures to be active at one school in particular: IMG Academy.
That’s because the Ascenders have three potential 4-star guards whom the Seminoles are recruiting in the early stages of this cycle.
While Hammond may represent the one of the three that Florida State has the least chances of landing at this stage, the former Alabama commit is another prospect who appears to have the type of skill set to thrive under Frey’s tutelage in college.
The Seminoles have yet to become active with any true centers in this cycle, but that position could come into focus during the next evaluation period.
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