Jaleel McRae: “Teams are gonna be scared to play us.”

Florida State’s spring game gave a bevy of talented prospects their first chance to see the Seminoles in action. It also allowed recruits to get more of a feel for the coaching staff, players, and school. Four-star linebacker Jaleel McRae arrived in Tallahassee without an offer. After garnering one during his meeting with Willie Taggart, he felt like it was time to do something.

McRae and his teammate, four-star OG Dontae Lucas, both decided to pledge to FSU. The duo currently plays together at IMG Academy and are now recruiting some high-caliber recruits from the school to become `Noles with them.

The New Smyrna Beach native was originally a Florida fan and committed to the Gators in February 2016. However, after the coaching change in Gainesville he elected to reopen his recruitment. McRae fell in love with Florida State on a visit and they’ve been the favorite ever since.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound prospect is projected to be a versatile big-hitter at the next level. McRae plays with an edge to his game and he’s never afraid to try and knock you out. He’s been recruiting for FSU pretty heavily and even said that he knows for a fact more players that were committed to Florida are gonna be Seminoles.

McRae is ranked as the No. 113 overall prospect and the No. 7 OLB by the 247 sports composite rankings. FSU has 10 commitments in their 2019 class which ranks them No. 2 in the country. Check out our full interview with McRae below.

NoleGameday: You committed to FSU on the same day that you received the offer. Was that always the plan or did it just feel right?

Jaleel McRae: “Going into the weekend, I didn’t know I was gonna commit, I knew I was gonna get the offer. I was sitting in the room with coach Taggart and during the meeting, he was talking business. I grew up a Florida Gator fan. I didn’t really like FSU growing up but I liked the campus. Now that I’m a recruit you can end up anywhere. During the meeting I just fell in love with coach Taggart, I always liked the school, so when he told me I got the offer it just felt like it was time. When I committed to Florida, I committed to the coaching staff. This time I committed because of the school at Florida State.”

NoleGameday: What was the reaction like when you committed?

McRae: “The coaching staff was very happy to have me and I’m happy to have them as my coaches starting in December. The players were very excited. I know Cyrus Fagan and AJ Westbrook. I’m pretty sure they were excited about me committing. I’m just ready to get up to Tallahassee and start working in the spring. This group coming in 2019 is gonna bring multiple national championships in Tallahassee.”

NoleGameday: Did you know about all of the other guys who were pulling the trigger?

McRae: “When I got there Maurice Goolsby hit me up and told me he was on his way. I told him do something when he was coming up and he agreed it was time to do something. He was committed with me when I was at Florida so I’m glad to have my brother back. We just flipped the rivalry. We got more Florida commits, they gonna join the family. I know for a fact we got more people coming that were committed to the Gators.”

NoleGameday: You also visited for junior day. Was that when FSU really started to get on your mind?

McRae: “Most definitely. Right after that day, I fell in love with it. I felt like Florida State was the right place to go. Going forward to the spring game I was feeling it. Especially when I got the offer from coach Taggart. I fell in love with it even more. Like I said I felt like Florida State was the right choice and we going to have the Seminoles back on top again.”

NoleGameday: Who was the most influential Coach in your recruitment? 

McRae: “Coach Woodie. When I went up to Florida State for junior day I made a connection with him. I sat in the team meeting room and made a connection with him right away. We talk about every day. Now that I’m committed I’m just ready for him to coach me and I’m really excited to learn more about football and the linebacker spot. I’m just ready to be coachable so I can learn a lot.”

NoleGameday: What did you think of FSU’s performance during the spring game? 

McRae: “I liked it. They have some work to do but you know everyone’s not perfect in the spring. The offensive line, that’s why we’re gonna bring in some offensive linemen, seemed like some were hurt. That’s why my boy Dontae is gonna come. And we got some more offensive linemen in the back pocket over here. I can’t put them out. Just know when the offensive linemen come out teams are gonna be like they were back in the day when they were scared to play Florida State. Teams haven’t really been scared to play FSU for the past 2-3 years. We’re gonna get Florida State back to where teams are afraid to play us, especially Florida.”

NoleGameday: How do you think you fit in amongst their current linebackers?

McRae: “I’m gonna go in and most definitely compete. Now that I’m at IMG Academy I’m learning what it’s like to compete for your spot. I’m gonna go into Florida State and compete. If I don’t play my freshman year I’m gonna lead my teammates and encourage them. I know my time is gonna come at Florida State. Whenever my time comes, just know I’m gonna shine.”

NoleGameday: How do you think Raymond Woodie will be able to develop you?

McRae: “Coach Woodie told me on junior day ‘I expect my players at a high standard’ going in I know for a fact I gotta be on the ball. Especially in the classroom, he expects a 3.0. That’s big for my family because my dad always told me ‘what if football goes away’ so he’s always telling me that 3.0. That’s number one. If you don’t have the grades you won’t step on his field. That’s number one with every coach over there. I talked to each and every one of them and the first thing they talked about was the grade point average you have to have to step on the football field. I know coach Woodie will be a father figure for me and my parents can sleep at night knowing I’m safe in Tallahassee.”

NoleGameday: How would you describe your commitment?

McRae: “Are you locked in as a Seminole or are you still going to take official visits elsewhere? I’m gonna talk to coach Taggart about that and see what he says. Just enjoying the process, this is the only time I can do this. But that’s my head coach. I’m gonna talk to him to see if I can. If he agrees then I’ll take some official visits but Florida State is my number one team. I’m not looking to go anywhere else. Florida State is where it’s at right now. I’m just excited to get back to Tallahassee and start working. Win a national championship.”

NoleGameday: Are you selling Florida State to any recruits right now?

McRae: “I’m really trying to get Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Cali. I’m gonna recruit him hard and let him know we really want him in this Tribe19 class so we can get everything back rolling. We’re gonna have Florida State back to where they’re supposed to be and teams are gonna be scared to play us.”

NoleGameday: What are your predictions for Tribe19?

McRae: “Multiple national championships.”

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