Sanjay Kirpalani/DieHards
Florida State and coach Willie Taggart made a move with 5-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux after hosting him last weekend for an unofficial visit.

Florida State recruiting: Nation’s top prospect high on Seminoles after visit

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5-star DE Kayvon Thibodeaux planning return trip to Florida State

Florida State enjoyed a memorable weekend as the football program hosted a number of top recruits who were in Tallahassee to witness the Seminoles spring game.

Included among that group of visitors was 5-star Oaks Christian (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound pass rusher rates as the nation’s top overall prospect in the 2019 cycle, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

He arrived in Tallahassee on Friday and left on Sunday, which gave the Seminoles a chance to give him the full experience of what life is like on campus and also to showcase a game-like atmosphere inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

It’s safe to say the Seminoles put their best foot forward in an effort to impress Thibodeaux.

According to Noles247’s Josh Newberg, Thibodeaux confirmed that the visit was “one of the best trips” he’s taken to date.

It went well enough that he’s already planning to return to Tallahassee for the Seminoles season-opening game against Virginia Tech on Labor Day.

That development alone means that the Seminoles are going to be one of the schools to watch in his recruitment as it progresses.

Considering the need that the Seminoles have at defensive end and the favorable first impression they were able to make on him last weekend, the Seminoles have a lot of momentum to build on with Thibodeaux.

DE target trims list

One primary target who was scheduled to make it to Florida State last weekend is 4-star Auburndale (Fla.) Senior High defensive end Lloyd Summerall. He scrapped those plans in favor of attending prom, but it’s likely the Seminoles will get him on campus at some point in the coming months.

The 6-5, 218-pound player rates as the nation’s No. 12 weak weakside defensive end and the No. 188 player overall in the 2019 cycle.

After piling up more than 30 offers heading into the summer, the Sunshine State defender announced over the weekend that he had trimmed his list to 12 schools.

Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, Penn State, TCU, Tennessee and Texas A&M are the schools he will continue to consider.

Florida State hosted him in February for its junior day. Alabama, Georgia and Miami had him on campus recently.

Florida State has a big need for pass-rushing edge rushers in this class, and Summerall is one of the top players on the Seminoles’ wish list.

Georgia and Miami are the two schools that appear to be the biggest threats to Florida State.

Still, the Seminoles appear to be in great shape with one of the top edge rushers in the 2019 cycle and are likely to be in the hunt until the end of his recruitment.

ACC rival lands QB, WR targets

While Florida State enjoyed a banner recruiting weekend with four commitments, their chief competition in the ACC Atlantic Division — Clemson — enjoyed a stellar weekend of its own.

The Tigers also held their spring game last weekend and it paid dividends toward the future of their program.

Clemson matched Florida State’s four pledges, including a pair of targets who were priority recruits in 5-star Homestead (Fla.) South Dade receiver Frank Ladson and 4-star Bridgeport (Conn.) Avon Old Farms quarterback Taisun Phommachanh.

Ladson rates as the nation’s No. 3 receiver and the No. 14 player overall in the 2019 cycle. The 6-4, 170-pound South Florida standout is the top-rated receiver in the state. That hurts the Seminoles, considering that position is one in which they have a big need in this cycle.

Ladson visited Florida State last month, but the Seminoles were behind in his recruitment as schools such as Clemson, Georgia and Miami had built stronger relationships with him.

At one point, it seemed as if Phommachanh was bound to be in the Seminoles class. However, that changed when Florida State landed 4-star Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell earlier this month. Phommachanh, who rates as the nation’s No. 3 dual threat quarterback and the No. 114 player overall in the 2019 cycle, took an unofficial visit to Clemson last weekend and ended up leaving as a member of the Tigers class.

For now, it appears as if the battles between the Seminoles and Tigers will intensify on the recruiting trail for the next few months.

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