Florida State recruiting: QB target planning to return for spring game
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4-star QB Sam Howell preps for second FSU visit in 2-week span
One of the main priorities for Florida State coach Willie Taggart and his staff in the 2019 cycle is to fill the major hole at quarterback.
With limited depth at the position, the Seminoles likely will be in the market for two touted passers in this class. But, the first step toward that will be to get one top target committed early that can help recruit and shape the class.
Currently, the top 3 names for the Seminoles are 4-star San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon quarterback Jayden Daniels, 4-star Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell and 4-star Bridgeport (Ct.) Avon Old Farms quarterback Taisun Phommachanh.
All three players made it to Tallahassee over the last month, and all three remain high on the staff’s wish list.
However, one member of that trio appears to be in line to return for the spring game next weekend.
Howell will return to Tallahassee for the second time in less than a month, according to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. Howell was on campus the last weekend in March.
Taggart and offensive coordinator Walt Bell are leading Howell’s recruitment for the Seminoles.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing how the players are flying around the field and seeing how Coach [Willie] Taggart has it going,” Howell told Wiltfong. “Me and Coach Bell have a great relationship. I really like what he does on the offensive side of the ball. That’s probably what fires me up the most about them.”
This news is a major development for the Seminoles and their hopes to get one of their top targets on board soon.
The 6-foot-1, 217-pound Howell rates as the nation’s No. 4 pro-style quarterback and the No. 152 player overall in the 2019 cycle, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Over the last three seasons, Howell has passed for 10,175 yards with 109 touchdowns and 33 interceptions while rushing for another 2,229 yards and 43 scores.
Among the other schools pursuing Howell include Clemson, N.C. State, North Carolina, Ohio State and Tennessee.
Given that he’s making his second visit to Tallahassee in such a short span, him leaving Tallahassee as a member of the Seminoles 2019 class next weekend is not out of the question.
Seminoles offer blue-chip DE
Florida State has had a revolving door of visitors throughout the spring, and the coaching staff has continued to emphasize getting top targets to campus while the Seminoles go through spring practice.
Over the weekend, Florida State had another talented visitor make his way to Tallahassee. As a bonus, he plays a position where the Seminoles want to add quality and quantity in the 2019 cycle.
The Seminoles hosted 4-star Tucker (Ga.) defensive end Derrick McLendon on Friday. The visit resulted in him earning an offer.
— D.MAC 🎒 (@DMAC1513) April 7, 2018
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound McLendon rates as the nation’s No. 22 weakside defensive end and the No. 328 player overall in the 2019 cycle.
The Seminoles already have a pair of commitments from 4-star strongside defensive ends Mike Morris and Quashon Fuller. McLendon projects as a weakside pass rusher, and that spot is where the Seminoles would like to load up in this cycle.
McLendon revealed a top 5 of Florida, Georgia, LSU, N.C. State and Tennessee last month, according to Rivals’ Chad Simmons. However, he left room for the Seminoles to enter the picture if they offered.
After the visit, McLendon confirmed that the Seminoles are now among his group of finalists, as detailed by Noles247’s Chris Nee.
Morris had previously indicated plans on making a decision before his senior season.
Now that Florida State is in the mix, getting him to return to campus before the end of the summer becomes paramount if the Seminoles want to land the Peach State defender.
Seminoles commit visits SEC power
While the Seminoles were hosting one defensive end target, one of their prized defensive end commits was taking a visit elsewhere.
The 6-5, 250-pound Morris, whose father played for the Seminoles, committed to Florida State in February 2016. Despite that pledge and the fact that he’s a legacy recruit, he’s left the door somewhat open to other programs.
His latest trip came over the weekend when he checked out Tennessee.
— Mike morris (@Mikemoris87) April 5, 2018
Morris rates as the nation’s No. 18 strongside defensive end and the No. 223 player overall in the 2019 cycle. Over the last few months, Morris has visited programs such as Clemson, Miami, Michigan and Oklahoma.
Morris was last on Florida State’s campus in January, when he met with Willie Taggart and the new Seminoles staff.
— Mike morris (@Mikemoris87) January 12, 2018
It appears as if he will go through the process and weigh his options carefully, which means his recruitment isn’t over.
Still, as long as the Seminoles continue to recruit him hard, it’s difficult to envision him landing elsewhere when it’s time for him to make a final decision.
Top 2020 RB visits Florida State
This weekend also saw Taggart and his staff host players from future classes.
One such target that figures to be a priority is 4-star Chester (Va.) all-purpose back Chris Tyree.
The 5-9, 175-pound playmaker rates as the nation’s top all-purpose back and the No. 31 player overall in the 2020 class, according to 247Sports. He’s the No. 2 player overall from the state of Virginia in that cycle.
Over the last two seasons, Tyree has rushed for a combined total of 1,829 yards and 17 touchdowns while adding another 13 receptions for 209 yards.
Tyree had a comprehensive visit that saw him spend time with Taggart and his staff while also getting to see the team take part in a scrimmage, according to Nee. That helped the Seminoles make a lasting impression and will help their cause in positioning themselves for a future return visit.
Among the other schools he’s visited during the spring include South Carolina and Virginia Tech. Those programs, along with Georgia, Penn State and West Virginia, are among his early contenders.
However, now that he’s made it to Tallahassee and feels comfortable with how he fits into Taggart’s offense, the Seminoles have a chance to move into his lead group of schools if they continue to aggressively pursue him.
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