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Guard Dontae Lucas will be one of a handful of primary targets coach Willie Taggart and his staff focus on in the early stages of the 2019 cycle.

Florida State recruiting: Top early targets for 2019

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Needs at QB, OL, LB prominent in coming weeks, months

Florida State and coach Willie Taggart have turned the page with their recruiting efforts to the 2019 cycle this week.

The Seminoles will host a junior day this weekend, and they have sent out a number of offers to 2019 prospects in the last few weeks.

With this class representing the first full cycle that Taggart and his staff will have together in Tallahassee, it is an important class for the future of the Seminoles program.

There are a few pressing needs Florida State has to meet in this class, but there’s also plenty of talented prospects interested in the new-look Seminoles under Taggart’s guidance.

How will the early recruiting board look for Florida State in the 2019 cycle?

Here is a glance at some top targets at each position with their 247Sports composite rankings who could wind up being priorities for Taggart and his staff in the spring and summer.

Quarterback

Committed to Florida State: none

Top-ranked offers: Sam Howell (No. 4 pro-style QB), Jayden Daniels (No. 5 dual-threat QB), Taisun Phommechanh (No. 8 dual-threat QB)

In-state offers: none 

Keep a close eye on: Daniels. He was the first passer to earn an offer from Taggart in this class. As a junior, he accounted for 6,431 yards of offense and 77 touchdowns. Daniels had 5 interceptions and completed nearly 70 percent of his passes. Because the Seminoles lack depth, it would not be surprising to see them take two quarterbacks in this class.

Running back

Committed to Florida State: none

Top-ranked offers: Trey Sanders (No. 1 RB), Quavaris Crouch (No. 2 RB), Noah Cain (No. 3 RB)

In-state offers: Sanders, Cain, Nay’quan Wright (No. 13 RB), Peter Hayes-Patrick (No. 29 RB) 

Keep a close eye on: Sanders. Ever since he de-committed from Alabama, Florida State has been considered the team to watch in his recruitment. Sanders rushed for more than 700 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, averaging more than 9 yards per carry as a junior. At 5-foot-11 1/2, 216 pounds, Sanders is a bruising back who can carry a heavy workload in college.

Receiver

Committed to Florida State: none

Top-ranked offers: Jadon Haselwood (No. 1 WR), Dominick Blaylock (No. 2 WR), Theo Wease (No. 3 WR) 

In-state offers: Frank Ladson (No. 5 WR), Maurice Goolsby (No. 26 WR)

Keep a close eye on: Jashawn Sheffield (No. 10 WR). The Seminoles had a huge need for receivers in the 2018 class, and they should continue to aggressively pursue players at that position in 2019 in an effort to even out the roster. Sheffield is a Georgia native who has been on the radar for a long time and grew up a Seminoles fan. The key to watch with him is when he makes it back to campus and how quickly he is able to build a relationship with Taggart and the new staff. Another name to watch is in-state standout John Dunmore (No. 27 WR), who will be on campus this weekend.

Tight end

Committed to Florida State: none

Top-ranked offers: Hudson Henry (No. 1 tight end), Keon Zipperer (No. 2 TE), Austin Stogner (No. 3 TE)

In-state offers: Zipperer

Keep a close eye on: Zipperer. Another position that Florida State would like to reorganize the way it recruits is tight end. A one-time Florida commit, Zipperer fits what Taggart is looking for at the position. He can flex out wide to be a mismatch as a receiver, but he’s strong and physical enough to lend support as a blocker in the run game.

Offensive line

Committed to Florida State: none

Top-ranked offers: Devontae Dobbs (No. 1 tackle), Kenyon Green (No. 2 T), Kardell Thomas (No. 1 guard), Xavier Truss (No. 3 T)

In-state offers: Deyavie Hammond (No. 2 G), Evan Neal (No. 3 G),  William Putnam (No. 16 T), Dontae Lucas (No. 8 G),  Michael Tarquin (No. 30 T), Adrian Medley (No. 67 T)

Keep a close eye on: The IMG Academy trio of Hammond, Neal and Lucas. All are national-level prospects, and the Seminoles have a big need along the offensive line. Hammond recently de-committed from Alabama, and Florida State is among the schools in pursuit. Neal’s cousin, Chaz Neal, signed with the Seminoles in the 2018 class on Feb. 7. Lucas will be one of a handful of elite juniors on campus this weekend for Florida State’s junior day.

Defensive line

Committed to Florida State: Mike Morris (No. 18 strongside defensive end), Quashon Fuller (No. 27 SDE), Tru Thompson (No. 23 defensive tackle)

Top-ranked offers: Ishmael Sopsher (No. 1 DT), Kayvon Thibodeaux (No. 1 weakside DE), Nolan Smith (No. 3 WDE), Zacch Pickens (No. 2 SDE)

In-state offers: Smith, Jaquaze Sorrells (No. 6 DT), Khris Bogle (No. 7 WDE), Derick Hunter (No. 14 SDE), Braylen Ingraham (No. 17 SDE), Tyler Davis (No. 15 DT), Lloyd Summerall (No. 26 WDE)

Keep a close eye on: Sopsher. He is the nation’s top overall prospect in this class, and he’s a player who already has a strong relationship with defensive line coach Odell Haggins. But it won’t be easy to pull him out of Louisiana. Still, expect the Seminoles to recruit him hard until the end of his process.

Linebacker

Committed to Florida State: none

Top-ranked offers: Owen Pappoe (No. 1 outside linebacker), Nakobe Dean (No. 1 inside linebacker), DeGabriel Floyd (No. 3 OLB), Shane Lee (No. 2 ILB), Trezman Marshall (No. 7 ATH/ILB)

In-state offers: Anthony Solomon (No. 10 OLB), Ge’Mon Eaford (No. 14 OLB), Avery Huff (OLB, unranked)

Keep a close eye on: Lee. Inside linebacker is one of the most pressing needs for the defense in this class. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Seminoles try to take two inside linebackers in this class. Lee has the Seminoles among his group of early favorites. Getting him back on campus in the spring will be critical in his recruitment.

Safety

Committed to Florida State: none

Top-ranked offers: Brian Williams (No. 1 safety), Daxton Hill (No. 2 S), Jaylen McCollough (No. 4 S)

In-state offers: Brendan Gant (No. 5 S), Josh Sanguinetti (No. 4 ATH/S),  Tyrique Stevenson (No. 8 ATH/S)

Keep a close eye on: McCollough. Safety is another priority position for Florida State in the 2019 cycle. McCollough is a Peach State standout who is familiar with the Seminoles program and has been on campus on several occasions, with his most recent visit in October for the Miami game. Alabama is considered the top challenger to the Seminoles.

Corner

Committed to Florida State: Akeem Dent (No. 1 corner)

Top-ranked offers: Derek Stingley (No. 2 CB), Chris Steele (No. 3 CB), Andrew Booth (No. 4 CB)

In-state offers: John Dixon (No. 24 CB)

Keep a close eye on: Dixon. More names could emerge here, but Dixon is a talented in-state defender who is familiar with the program and was on campus in October for the Miami game. The staff had a lot of success in the Tampa area last year, and Dixon is one of the top players in the area this year.

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