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With the loss of 3-star defensive end Stacy Kirby, Florida State coach Willie Taggart has a lot of work to do to meet a big need at that position.

Florida State recruiting: Seminoles lose another commit at crucial position

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3-star DE Stacy Kirby the latest to defect from 2018 class

Florida State’s 2018 class took another hit on Monday when 3-star Orlando [Fla.] Jones defensive end Stacy Kirby reopened his recruitment.

The 6-foot-3, 248-pound player rates as the nation’s No. 29 weakside defensive end and the No. 570 player overall in the 2018 cycle, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Kirby had been committed to the Seminoles since February and had remained firm in that pledge. Still, he has said he plans to sign with the school of his choice next week in the early signing period and then enroll early.

As for the Seminoles, where do they turn now that their class has one player committed — 3-star prospect Chaz Neal — at a position of such need?

It appears that coach Willie Taggart could hit the reset button on recruiting at the position altogether. One target who could make sense is 4-star Seffner [Fla.] Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar.

The 6-5, 250-pound pass rusher has been committed to Oregon since August, when Taggart was coaching the Ducks. But with Taggart now in charge in Tallahassee and the Seminoles’ need for defensive ends, it could make sense for both parties to come together. Taggart visited Lamar at his home on Monday evening, according to Scout.com’s Corey Bender.

Lamar is the first name that has popped up, but it likely won’t be the last. Ultimately, he could emerge as a crucial target for the Seminoles down the stretch.

Another option Taggart has is to go the JUCO route and target players who could come in and make an immediate impact.

Regardless of how it plays out, the defensive end board is one that fans will pay close attention to in the coming days and weeks.

Seminoles offer 4-star CB Brendan Radley-Hiles

In-state prep powerhouse IMG Academy has been kind to Florida State in recent years. Former Ascenders on the current Seminoles roster include quarterback Deondre Francois, kicker Ricky Aguayo, defensive end Joshua Kaindoh and tight end Tre McKitty.

The 2018 class once featured pledges from IMG standouts in 4-star cornerback Houston Griffith and 4-star offensive lineman Verdis Brown. But both players de-committed amid the uncertainty surrounding former coach Jimbo Fisher.

Still, Taggart figures to make the Bradenton school a priority in the coming weeks. Last weekend, Taggart offered 4-star IMG cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles.

The one-time Nebraska commit is rated the No. 7 corner and No. 47 player overall in the 2018 cycle.

He reopened his recruitment in late October and has used four of his five official visits: Clemson, Nebraska, Oklahoma and UCLA. He is scheduled to see Florida this weekend.

The California native has said he plans to enroll early, meaning the Seminoles likely would have to get him on campus before the early signing period begins on Dec. 20 to have a realistic shot at signing him.

Taggart had offered Radley-Hiles a scholarship early in his tenure at Oregon in January, as detailed by Matt Prehm of 247Sports.

While time isn’t on the Seminoles’ side, it is clear that Taggart isn’t going to let that be a factor in determining whether to invest time into a player he thinks is worthy of pursuing.

Willie Taggart visiting former Seminoles commit

Florida State lost seven commits as a result of the coaching situation. One of the players who opened up his recruitment was Griffith.

The 6-1, 192-pound Chicago native committed to the Seminoles on Oct. 8, following his official visit the weekend they faced Miami, and de-committed on Nov. 29. Taggart, it appears, will make another effort to try to get Griffith to reconsider jumping back into Florida State’s class.

Florida State football-Seminoles recruiting-Houston Griffith
Former Seminoles cornerback commit Houston Griffith is expected to get a visit from Willie Taggart this week. (DieHards/file photo)

According to Tom Loy of 247Sports, Taggart and the Seminoles will do an in-home visit with Griffith next week. Additionally, Loy reports that Griffith is down to Florida State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin, and plans to sign in the early signing period.

When he backed off his commitment, the Irish figured to be the team that stood the best chance to gain his commitment.

Time will tell if the Seminoles can regain the momentum they once had with Griffith. Either way, his decision will come relatively soon.

Willie Taggart does in-home with former Florida State, Oregon pledge

Another prized defensive back who was in Florida State’s 2018 class at one point is 4-star Zephyrhills [Fla.] Wesley Chapel cornerback Isaiah Bolden.

The 6-2, 175-pound Bolden committed to the Seminoles last summer before flipping to Oregon in April.

With Taggart changing his residence from Eugene to Tallahassee, Bolden reopened his recruitment again and appears to be back on the radar for the Seminoles.

Taggart paid Bolden a visit late Sunday evening.

As detailed by Chris Nee of Noles247, Bolden will make his way to Tallahassee this weekend for an official visit. Additionally, Nee noted that Bolden possibly could take advantage of the early signing period and end his recruitment later this month.

If that were to occur, it’s a pretty strong indicator that Tallahassee would be his ultimate landing spot.

Bolden rates as the nation’s No. 24 cornerback and the No. 232 player overall in the 2018 cycle. He has the type of size and athleticism to play either corner or safety in college.

Taggart and the staff could push to lock Bolden up during the visit this weekend and get him into the fold during the early signing window.

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