Florida State recruiting: QB recruiting options in wake of Justin Fields’ commitment to Georgia
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Will Seminoles find another 2018 QB or wait until 2019 cycle?
A big domino fell in the recruiting world on Friday when 5-star quarterback Justin Fields committed to Georgia.
Florida State was at one point a favorite to land the nation’s top overall prospect, but the Bulldogs were able to regain the momentum in his recruitment entering the season and never looked back.
The question for the Seminoles becomes what happens next at quarterback and what does it mean to the 2018 class to see Fields head elsewhere?
The Seminoles’ options at quarterback are somewhat limited in the 2018 cycle for a number of reasons.
For starters, there are fewer than four months until the second and final signing period in February. Florida State has offered seven quarterbacks — Fields included — in the 2018 cycle, according to 247Sports. Each is committed elsewhere.
Another option for Florida State is to open up its board and offer other quarterbacks.
It’s worth noting that coach Jimbo Fisher has traditionally preferred to have quarterbacks throw for him before extending an offer, but with the summer camp season in his rear view, that luxury won’t be afforded to him if he chooses to expand his wish list with 2018 passers.
As detailed by Chris Nee of Noles247, there are a few players who Florida State has yet to offer who could be targets in this scenario.
Among that group include 3-star Tennessee commit Michael Penix, 3-star recruit Riley Smith and 3-star prospect Carter Bradley. As Nee noted, both Penix and Smith have attended camp at Florida State and the staff is familiar with both.
The other option for Florida State would be to use that scholarship on a position player and wait until 2019 to go after a quarterback. If the Seminoles choose that route, there would be greater pressure to land their top target.
At this stage, it appears as if the main passer that Fisher and his staff covet in the 2019 cycle is 4-star and current Texas A&M commit Grant Gunnell. The 6-foot-6, 212-pound Texas standout rates as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style passer and the No. 30 player overall in the 2019 cycle.
When he chose Texas A&M in June, it’s widely believed that Florida State finished as the runner-up in his recruitment. Another interesting connection in his recruitment is that the Seminoles hold a commitment from 4-star receiver Jalen Curry — a prep teammate of Gunnell’s at St. Pius X High School in Houston.
In addition to Gunnell, the Seminoles have offered only three other quarterbacks in the 2019 class. If he’s firm in his pledge to the Aggies, the Seminoles could expand their board there also.
The next few weeks should provide some clarity on which route the Seminoles choose to go in trying to find a quarterback of the future.
Alabama commit among visitors for Miami game
Florida State hosted a loaded crop of visitors for its rivalry matchup against Miami.
One major last-minute addition was 4-star linebacker and current Alabama commit Quay Walker.
While the 6-4, 220-pound standout has been committed to the Crimson Tide since June, he’s taken visits to schools such as Auburn, Florida State and South Carolina since that period.
📍 check the location….
— Q U A Y ' (@QuayWalker4) July 28, 2017
The Seminoles could use a versatile edge defender such as Walker, who is talented and skilled enough to line up as a traditional defensive end or play standing up as a bigger outside linebacker.
As a junior, the nation’s No. 6 outside linebacker and the No. 127 player overall in the 2018 cycle recorded 109 tackles — including 19 tackles for loss and 8 sacks.
However, there’s a matter of getting him to reconsider his original commitment before things can develop any further.
In the meantime, it’s a good sign for the Seminoles to get him on campus. If he returns in the future another visit, regardless of whether it’s an official or unofficial visit, that’s when his recruitment could intensify down the stretch.
2019 pledge visiting elsewhere this weekend
Another player who was in Tallahassee last weekend was 2019 4-star safety pledge Kenyatta Watson II.
The 6-2, 177-pound Grayson High School Loganville (Ga.) player has been committed to the Seminoles since April, but he’s been active in taking visits to other programs.
He visited Alabama and Georgia in the weeks before visiting Florida State last weekend.
According to EJ Holland of Horns247, Watson will make the trek to Dallas this weekend to see Oklahoma and Texas in the Red River Showdown. As Holland noted, Watson will be there as a guest of the Longhorns.
Texas has yet to offer Watson — who rates as the nation’s No. 17 safety and the No. 284 player overall in the 2019 cycle.
When Watson spoke with Florida State DieHards last month, he explained that he’s strong in his pledge with Florida State because of the relationship he’s established with the Seminoles staff.
— Kenyatta Watson II (@ballhawk36) October 5, 2017
“My bond with them is really good. We talk almost every single week. We keep tabs on each other to see what we are doing and things like that,” Watson said. “Coach [Tino] Sunseri, he’s just a really good coach that I would run into every time I was down there, and we just kept talking and we just developed that relationship from there. Really, they are all just good coaches who are down to earth and good guys.”
Since he is taking visits, the door remains slightly open for other schools to make a push for him.
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