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Florida State is among the finalists for 4-star defensive end Derrick McLendon, who plans to make a decision by the end of June.

Florida State recruiting: Major DE target sets commitment time frame

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Derrick McLendon set to decide by end of June

Florida State has a need for athletic, pass-rushing defensive ends in the 2019 cycle.

The Seminoles currently have a pair of 4-star in-state defensive ends committed in Mike Morris and Quashon Fuller, but both of them are bigger ends that bring more power and size to the position.

Coach Willie Taggart and his staff are looking for players in the mold of current junior standout defensive end Brian Burns, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 231 pounds.

The good news for Taggart and his staff is that there appears to be a handful of top targets that are showing strong interest in the program.

One prospect who has been a frequent visitor to campus in recent months is 4-star Tucker (Ga.) defensive end Derrick McLendon.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Peach State defender was on campus over the weekend for the second time in a two-month span for an unofficial visit.

According to Noles247’s Chris Nee, McLendon has narrowed his focus to three schools and will make his decision by the end of this month. The three schools remaining on his list are Florida, Florida State and N.C. State.

McLendon, who rates as the nation’s No. 23 weakside defensive end and the No. 307 player overall in the 2019 cycle according to the 247Sports composite rankings, took an unofficial visit to Florida in April and he’s also scheduled to make an official visit to N.C. State the weekend of June 14.

As detailed by Nee, McLendon did confirm that he already knows which school he wants to attend.

The Seminoles appear to be in a great spot with McLendon heading into the final weeks before his decision.

4-star WR cuts list

While defensive end is one of the primary focuses of the staff on defense, receiver is a position of importance on offense for Taggart and the Seminoles.

Florida State has a commitment from 4-star Dunnellon (Fla.) receiver Maurice Goolsby, but the Seminoles are likely to take at least two more pass catchers in this cycle.

One of the primary targets is 4-star Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna receiver John Dunmore.

The 6-2, 172-pound playmaker rates as the nation’s No. 18 receiver and the No. 107 player overall in the 2019 cycle.

Florida State has been considered one of the schools at the forefront of his recruitment, and the Seminoles made the cut when he trimmed his list of suitors to seven over the weekend.

Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State are the schools that remain in the hunt for Dunmore.

Dunmore was offered by Florida State in February while he was on campus for the Seminoles’ junior day, and he’s referred to that moment as a dream offer.

He also returned for another unofficial visit at the end of March.

The one-time Florida commitment also has taken visits to Miami, Michigan and Ohio State in the last few months.

While Dunmore doesn’t have a time frame yet, the Seminoles still appear to be in solid shape heading into the summer.

QB commit shines at Elite 11 finals

One of the premier events during the summer camp season is the Elite 11 Finals in California.

The 2018 finals were held over the weekend in Los Angeles, with 24 of the nation’s top quarterbacks in the 2019 class competing to earn invitations to The Opening Finals that begin later in June.

Half of the finalists are going after that honor, with 4-star Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley quarterback and current Seminoles commit Sam Howell among that group.

While the finalists won’t be announced until Sunday evening or Monday morning, Howell has been among the players who have stood out during the workout portions of the event.

On Saturday, each of the quarterbacks went through a scripted pro day workout, and Howell was sharp during his time under the watchful eyes of the Elite 11 coaching staff.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound passer committed to Florida State in April, and he’s been the face of the Seminoles of class since.

Howell, who rates as the nation’s No. 4 pro-style quarterback and the No. 99 player overall in the 2019 cycle, could be in line for a ratings bump if he earns an invitation to The Opening and continues to perform well against the nation’s best prospects in his class.

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