Now that Florida State has its new head coach, the Seminoles can turn their focus on salvaging the 2018 recruiting class.
In the wake of Jimbo Fisher’s departure to Texas A&M, the Seminoles lost seven commitments in less than a week. But with the hiring of Oregon coach Willie Taggart, they can look toward regaining the momentum they once had on the recruiting trail.
Doing that, however, will require a lot of work as Florida State has just 11 commitments and a 2018 class that ranks No. 30 nationally in the 247Sports composite.
So with Taggart now in place, which players will he look to target in the initial stages of his tenure? Here are 10 recruits who Taggart and his staff could potentially look at in the coming weeks:
*Players listed in alphabetical order
4-star CB Isaiah Bolden
Early in his recruitment, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Isaiah Bolden was committed to the Seminoles before flipping to Oregon. Now that Taggart is in Tallahassee, Bolden could re-emerge as a target and potentially take the spot vacated when 4-star corner Houston Griffith de-committed last week. Bolden reopened his recruitment shortly after the news broke that Taggart was leaving Oregon for FSU.
Love me or hate me but I’m doing me at the end of the day pic.twitter.com/3GfJw6CINS
— FREAK. (@isaiahbolden23) December 5, 2017
3-star DT Dennis Briggs
As detailed by Chris Nee of Noles247, Dennis Briggs was high enough on Florida State before Fisher’s exit that committing to the Seminoles was a possibility. Florida State and Miami have been the favorites for Briggs, but Oregon has also been involved with him and was primed to host him for an official visit. Now, Taggart’s arrival at FSU could ensure a smooth transition in his recruitment for the Seminoles.
4-star APB Jashaun Corbin
Jashaun Corbin was committed to Florida State since May before he and prep teammate, 3-star WR Antoine Green, both backed off their commitments to the Seminoles on Sunday. Corbin took an official visit to Oregon on the weekend of Nov. 25 and he has another visit to Clemson set up for Dec. 15. By all accounts, Corbin enjoyed his trip to Eugene and is intrigued by his fit in Taggart’s offense. Now both Corbin and Green returning to the Seminoles commit list is a possibility, assuming the new staff recruits them aggressively.
— Jay_1K (@Jashaun06) November 29, 2017
4-star ATH Marquez Ezzard
Marquez Ezzard was committed to Florida State until he reopened his recruitment in November. Less than a week after that announcement, he took an official visit to Oregon. Given the Seminoles’ need for receivers, there’s a plausible scenario into which the Peach State pass catcher can find his way back into the Seminoles class.
— Marquez Ezzard (@Solid_Quez) December 5, 2017
4-star QB James Foster
Aside from the drama surrounding the Seminoles coaching search, one of the biggest mysteries within the Seminoles recruiting class has been at quarterback. For now, the only name on the radar is James Foster. This could undoubtedly change now that Taggart is in town, especially since Foster did not land an offer from the Ducks. Still, he has the requisite skill set to succeed in Taggart’s offense. For now, need assures his place on this list.
FSU back in the mix #NoleNation 🍢
— James Foster II (@YungSimba4) December 5, 2017
4-star DE Malcolm Lamar
Defensive end is another position that grows in importance following Patrick Joyner’s flip to Miami earlier this week. Malcolm Lamar is committed to Oregon, but he could be a target to stay closer to home considering Florida State’s need and his relationship with Taggart.
5-star CB Patrick Surtain Jr.
Patrick Surtain Jr. has been recruited by the Seminoles for years, but their momentum has slowly subsided given the way the season played out. LSU is believed to be his clubhouse leader, but Alabama has made a strong push. At one point, Florida State was LSU’s closest competitor. Expect Taggart to make another strong push to get the Seminoles in the mix for Surtain’s services once again.
4-star WR Warren Thompson
Before Warren Thompson committed to Oregon in the summer, Florida State was a major player in his recruitment. The Seminoles have remained in the background since his commitment, but with Taggart in charge, the combination of need, proximity and relationships leading to a reunion in Tallahassee makes a ton of sense.
…We riding to the wheels fall off @CoachTaggart 💯
— ST.HOLLYWOOD (@pagnotti5) December 3, 2017
4-star OT Reuben Unije
Another area Florida State needs to address down the stretch is the offensive line. The Seminoles lost a pledge from Verdis Brown and have just two O-linemen currently committed. A potential target that could come into play is Reuben Unije — a prep teammate or Brown. Unije held an offer from Oregon and is an option at the tackle spot that could come into play if the offensive line board expands.
4-star WR Jaylen Waddle
Florida State and Oregon are among the finalists in Jaylen Waddle’s recruitment. He’s taken official visits to both schools — with his Oregon official coming on the weekend of Nov. 24. Alabama is the school to beat, but as stated earlier, the path to finding the field could be easier at Florida State given the Seminoles’ lack of depth. Perhaps the timing could now be right for Florida State to make a serious push with one of the top remaining targets on its board.