Sanjay Kirpalani/DieHards
Florida State coach Willie Taggart and his staff will welcome the top overall prospect in the 2019 class to campus this weekend in 5-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Florida State recruiting: Nation’s top 2019 prospect set to visit FSU

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Kayvon Thibodeaux planning to visit Florida State this weekend

Florida State coach Willie Taggart signed three players in the Seminoles 2018 class who hailed from the West Coast.

That territory was somewhat familiar to him given his previous stops as the coach at Oregon and as an assistant at Stanford when Jim Harbaugh was in charge of the Cardinal program.

Now that he’s in Tallahassee, the Seminoles figure to have a solid presence with top prospects who hail from territories within in the Pac-12 footprint. One top target for Florida State in the 2019 class is 5-star Thousand Oaks (Calif.) Oaks Christian defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound pass rusher rates as the top overall prospect in the 2019 class regardless of position, according to the 247Sports composite. He competed in the Los Angeles Nike Opening Regional camp over the weekend and punched his ticket to The Opening in the process.

According to Gerard Martinez of 247Sports, Thibodeaux plans to make the long trek from the Golden State to visit Florida and Florida State this weekend. He shared with Martinez some key details he will look into with each visit he takes from this point forward.

“I’m real critical about where I’m going to spend my life at, so I’m going to critique how everyone talks and moves at each school,” Thibodeaux told Martinez. “I want to learn everything about each college. Hopefully they put their best foot forward and show me what I need to succeed in life and not just football.”

The Seminoles have a need for pass-rushing, athletic defensive ends in this cycle after loading up on thicker, edge-setting types at the position in the 2018 cycle.

According to MaxPreps, Thibodeaux tallied 99 tackles — including 28 for loss with 20 sacks with 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal — as a junior.

Getting him on campus early is a great sign for the Seminoles and their chances at remaining a factor in his recruitment. He plans to be an early enrollee and take his official visits in the fall.

If his trip this weekend goes well, the Seminoles are hopeful that he would then use an official visit to return to Tallahassee in the fall.

Seminoles to host trio of Peach State targets

Florida State also has made Georgia a priority in recruiting since Taggart took over. The Seminoles signed seven prospects from the Peach State in the 2018 class, and they have remained heavily active in that state with respect to the 2019 cycle.

Two players who the previous staff had been heavily involved with were 4-star Saint Simons Island (Ga.) Frederica Academy teammates Jashawn Sheffield and Jaylin Simpson.

The 6-1, 178-pound Sheffield is one of the nation’s elite receivers and he represents one of Florida State’s top targets at that position in this cycle. Simpson is a two-way standout who is likely to land as a defensive back in college.

According to Josh Newberg of Noles247, both Sheffield and Simpson will make their way to Tallahassee on Tuesday to visit with the new staff for the first time.

Joining Sheffield and Simpson on the trip will be 3-star Savannah (Ga.) Memorial Day School athlete Winston Wright. Boston College, UCF and West Virginia are the main schools involved with the 5-9, 170-pound Wright — who will likely play receiver at the next level.

The Seminoles have yet to offer Wright, but it will be interesting to monitor whether this visit could change things between the two parties.

Regardless, getting more top prospects on campus is something that could be a regular occurrence over the next few weeks.

Seminoles fail to make cut for DB target

One of the main targets Florida State hosted during its first junior day in February was 4-star New Orleans Karr corner Devin Bush.

The 5-11, 190-pound Pelican State defender rates as the nation’s No. 15 corner and the No. 136 player overall in the 2019 cycle.

While he enjoyed his visit to Tallahassee, it appears as if the high of the trip wore off. Over the weekend, Bush announced that he is whittling his list of suitors to five lucky programs.

Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee are the five schools he will focus on moving forward.

While it’s a disappointment for Florida State to be left off his list, the Seminoles have other options at corner.

The main focus for Taggart and defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett is holding on to 5-star West Palm Beach (Fla.) Palm Beach Central corner commit Akeem Dent.

It’s likely that the Seminoles will take two corners in this class.

Some other names to watch include 4-star Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer corner Andrew Booth, 4-star Homestead (Fla.) South Dade corner Tyrique Stevenson, 4-star North Palm Beach (Fla.) Benjamin corner Kaiir Elam, 4-star Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland corner Woodi Washington, 4-star Tampa (Fla.) Chamberlain corner John Dixon and 4-star Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman corner Adonis Otey.

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