Sanjay Kirpalani/DieHards
Florida State coach Willie Taggart and his staff have a need for linebackers in the 2019 cycle, but the class has an intriguing building block to work with in 4-star commit Jaleel McRae.

Florida State recruiting: LB Jaleel McRae’s commitment pays dividends

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Former Gators pledge gives Seminoles a building block for LB class

Florida State enters the 2019 cycle in desperate need of help at linebacker.

With seven scholarship linebackers on the roster heading into the 2018 season, and four of them entering their junior season, it’s imperative coach Willie Taggart and linebackers coach Raymond Woodie restock the roster with quality and quantity by the time February rolls around.

Florida State likely wants to add at least three linebackers in the current class.

The class gained a building block in April when 4-star Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy linebacker Jaleel McRae committed to the Seminoles.

The in-state standout is one of the top defenders from the Sunshine State in the 2019 class, and he’s a teammate of fellow Seminoles commit and 4-star guard Dontae Lucas.

In the latest edition of our series looking into each of Florida State’s current commitments, we put McRae into focus, analyze his skill set and what his commitment means for the Seminoles class.

Commit date: April 14, 2018

Position/overall ranking: No. 7 outside linebacker, No. 122 player overall

Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 230 pounds

Other schools considered: Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Mississippi State, North Carolina and Texas A&M

Recruitment Overview

McRae landed his first offer from N.C. State in the summer of 2015, but the first big break in his recruitment came the following spring when in-state power Florida jumped in.

McRae didn’t hesitate. He committed to then-Gators coach Jim McElwain on the spot in Feb. 2016.

His recruitment was pretty quiet until McElwain’s departure at the end of the 2017 season. He decommitted from the Gators shortly after McElwain left. The Gators and new coach Dan Mullen were able to get him back on campus. Georgia Tech was another school that got a visit.

However, McRae attended Florida State’s junior day in February and returned for the spring game in April. It was at that point, the Seminoles staff officially offered him and he wasted little time accepting.

Impact of commitment for FSU

We’ve covered the need element that the Seminoles have at the linebacker spot in this class.

McRae is an athletic and versatile defender who is projected to be an outside linebacker at the next level. As 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong detailed, McRae has played safety and receiver during his prep career.

With that experience, it’s natural that one of his primary strengths is being comfortable defending speedy athletes in space. He also displays great instincts and he doesn’t lack physicality in his game despite being relatively new to the position.

He is adept at blitzing off the edge and wreaking havoc in the backfield when he aggressively charges the line of scrimmage.

There are nuances and techniques McRae will have to learn to become a more complete linebacker on the college level. However, he brings an enticing skill set with him to Tallahassee that will give the staff a great deal to work with.

Current recruitment status: Solid commitment

McRae has been solid with his pledge since he joined the Seminoles commit list a couple of months ago. He has been active and vocal on social media in helping to recruit for the Seminoles.

He hasn’t taken any visits to other programs since committing. All signs point toward McRae landing in Tallahassee at the conclusion of his prep career.

Miss a previous edition? Find every daily Florida State DieHards recruiting notebooks right here.