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Traditional signing day outlook

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Last Friday college football’s second annual early signing period came to a conclusion and one’s opinion on where the Seminole’s 2019 recruiting class stands may sway a great deal depending on who you ask. Number wise the ‘Noles finished this year’s early signing period with a top 15 class after signing a total of 14 players with an average rating of roughly around 90 percent. With that being said, statistically this is a five year low in recruiting for the ‘Noles, and that alone immediately raises concerns.

Looking back at the ESP alone yes there are reasons to feel somewhat agitated. Mistakes in key areas paired with bad luck and finishing 5-7 certainly diluted the expectations Taggart and this staff brought into Tallahassee at the beginning of the year. Missing on Florida native Will Putnam was huge, and losing blue-chip defensive linemen to A&M only adds fuel to the fire. Although the recent commitment from Louisville transfer quarterback Jordan Travis bolsters the ‘Noles depth at the position, losing out on Sam Howell in a relatively weak QB class with Francois almost destined to transfer is never a good look. Nonetheless, missing out on your two most important areas of need for high school bodies (both QB and OT) are disappointments, point blank.

Despite the frustrations from early signing day lingering over into the dead period, Florida State somewhat seemed to address specific areas of need after inking guys who are expected to become early contributors to the program with names such as  Donte Lucas, Kalen DeLoach, and JUCO OT Jay Williams. However, when examining this 2019 class for Florida State as a whole, you begin to speculate on the amount top end talent in this class that has yet to sign their national letters of intent. Therefore with that speculation comes the question; where do the remaining committed prospects stand with the longevity of this FSU class?

Akeem Dent: Dent should be a familiar name to most FSU fans. The five star defensive back, who is the brother of walk-on defensive back Adarius Dent, has been committed to the ‘Noles since July of 2017. Prior to the early signing period, Dent was on campus for an official visit where this FSU staff attempted to get the West Palm Beach native to shut down his recruitment and sign early. That as we all know did not happen.

Dent sticking to his word and signing on the traditional signing day isn’t a shocker to many, nonetheless giving schools such as Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee some time to gain momentum is never pleasing. With that being said, however, the amount of opportunities Florida State has to offer the talented DB I feel confident at the time saying that the ‘Noles will land their highest rated commit of the 2019 cycle.

Nick Cross: Without a doubt, safety was a position where Florida State struggled at in 2018. Cross, the number five safety in the 2019 class can immediately bolster a unit that struggled desperately with grasping the mental responsibilities of Barnett’s base quarter system just much as they did physically. At one point in his recruitment, UGA started to gain some late momentum on the four-star prospect.

However Mel Tucker, who was Cross’ primary recruiter for the Dawgs, taking the Colorado job certainly aided in FSU’s favor. As with the Maryland rumors, I think it will be interesting to see if the hiring of Elijah Brooks (Cross’ high school football coach) has any effect on his commitment to Florida State. Nonetheless, in my opinion, I think the DeMatha Catholic product eventually ends up a ‘Nole when it is all said and done.

Brendan Gant: Seminole fans have all of the rights to believe that the Lakeland, Florida prospect will sign his NLI with Florida State on traditional signing day. The 6’2 190-pound dynamo, who was once committed to Alabama, announced his verbal pledge to the ‘Noles after a couple of twists and turns that ultimately concluded following his unofficial visit to FSU’s “Saturday Night Live” camp.

His relationship with Head Coach Willie Taggart dates back to his tenure at South Florida, and his longtime connection to Florida State via Odell Haggins played a crucial role in Gant’s pledge to the Seminoles. Furthermore, his relationships with current FSU commits such as Jaleel McRae, Akeem Dent, Renardo Green, and Quashon Fuller just adds icing to the cake. This kid is all garnet and gold.

Travis Jay: Back in March of 2018 Willie Taggart and this FSU staff landed one of the most underrated recruits at the time when Travis Jay announced his pledge to the ‘Noles. Jay, a 6-1 185 lb dual-sport athlete hailing from Madison County High (about 45 minutes east of Tallahassee) was a top priority for this staff early in the cycle due to his unique traits that project well at the next level. His length, ball, skills, and ability to change directions complimented by a relentless competitive edge is exactly what Taggart needs to suit up in the garnet and gold over the next few years of his contract.

And at this point in his recruitment, it seems as if that’s how things will pan out. Jay mentioned to 247Sports’ Luke Stampi that he still hears from a handful of SEC programs such as Auburn, Alabama, Florida, and even Charles Kelly stopped by to check in on the four-star prospect. However, if I recall correctly, Jay told Wayne McGahee of the Tallahassee Democrat back in July that Florida State is home, and repeatedly stated: “I am coming here, I’m not going anywhere.” Like I said about Gant, this kid is all Seminole.

Quashon Fuller: Fuller, a highly touted defensive end hailing from Fort Myers, Florida has been one of the more interesting recruits to follow during the 2019 cycle. The 15th ranked strongside defensive end in the class of 2019 has been committed to Florida State for nearly 21 months, but that has not stopped him from enjoying the process. The 6-3 270lb All American has been highly active on social media promoting a variety of offers and visits from schools such as Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and most recently Auburn.

If there was one commit aside from Dent that I thought showed a possibility of decommitting from this class after the ESP I always assumed it would be Fuller. He has been straightforward about his pledge to the Seminoles, and at one point even described himself a little shaky on where he stands with the Seminoles”. That’s never promising with a kid who’s as highly active with the process as Fuller. After a social media stew with some current UF players and fans, I would assume Florida is out of the picture here. Although his high praise of Auburn as a “defensive lineman’s dream” and the connection he has established with Derrick Brown makes me a little wary about a potential flip by Auburn; especially since Mike Locksley (Fullers Primary Recruiter in Tuscaloosa) took the Maryland head coaching job. Watch out for a late push by the two schools from Alabama.

 


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