Head of the Class: Defense

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program and has been in the limelight since the late 90’s when you had to call a landline number to actually get the scoop on major prospects. As time has gone on fans want to know more and more about how the coaches rank prospects on their board and which ones are actually “takes” so they can brag or talk trash to their rival fanbases.

Here I will give you a little peek as to who the coaching staff is making a priority this cycle on the defensive side of the football.

The prospects won’t be ranked in any way as I will just go position by position while giving you the top targets at each level of the defense.

Defense Tackle

Jalen Carter

The athletic defensive tackle who goes to Apopka High school is a priority target this cycle. He’s an excellent weight lifter who will be competing in the 2A State finals later this year. He goes both ways in high school which shows you how athletic he is. His game actually has some Corey Durden in him if you want a comparison to the current roster. Odell Haggins is on him like white on rice and Carter definitely feels the love from FSU. Carter is also considering the other in-state schools along with Auburn and Georgia.

Timothy Smith

The bluechip tackle from Central Florida is a major target for FSU as well. He’s a prototype defensive tackle who can stop the run and has the hand speed and body fluidity to rush the passer as well. He visited FSU for the spring game and the ‘Noles are in a good spot here headed into the summer months. This will be a Big 3 battle for the talented lineman.

McKinnley Jackson

I know… I know… he’s from Mississippi. But the interest that Jackson has shown in the FSU program can’t be ignored and Odell has sunk his teeth into this one. He’s visited FSU multiple times over the past two years and just seems like the next bluechip out of state pull for Odell. A lot of people freaked out over him visiting Ole Miss for the spring game for FSU… but that was his first time visiting the in-state school in over a year. He’s visited FSU three times in the same time frame and will undoubtedly be back again this summer. This speaks volumes. In terms of scheme fit, I love him as a penetrating nose tackle in a 3-4 and even as an end in the same alignment. Don’t count this one out yet guys.

Defense End/Outside Linebacker

Chantz Williams

One half of the most important package deal of the cycle is Chantz Williams. The Oakleaf pass rusher has a game that reminds me of former FSU stud Brandon Jenkins and we all know FSU needs pass rushers. For much of the new year, FSU seemed to be in a holding pattern with him even though they landed in his Top 5. That was until he visited for a spring practice and loved every second. Now FSU is right where they need to be headed into the summer. Expect him at Saturday Night Live as FSU continues its push. This will be a Big 3 battle along with Georgia and Alabama. Would be a huge get in all facets here. Expect the season to play a huge part in this decision, though that’s the case for every prospect on this list.

William Anderson

The wiry pass rusher hails from the same school as #Tribe19 signee Kevon Glenn and has already visited this spring for a Junior Day. He has a little bit of Brian Burns in his game and FSU wants him very badly. The SEC does as well with schools such as Alabama, Auburn, and LSU going after him with the same tenacity as FSU. Expect Glenn to get him back in over the summer as FSU continues to build a relationship with the South Georgia pass rusher.

Jaylen Harrell

Not to be confused with recent commit Jalen Harrell, this version has the pass rush and versatility that FSU craves at the position. Jaylen hails from Tampa Bay and is another in-state pass rusher the ‘Noles don’t want to miss out on. He’s a 6’4 235 prospect who has excellent pass rushing potential with the frame to set the edge in the run game as well. He visited earlier this year for a Junior Day and the Noles are pushing here. This is shaping up to be an FSU-Miami battle.

Inside Linebacker

Antoine Sampah

The hard-hitting prototype linebacker from Virginia remains a high priority for FSU. Clemson has clear lead here but if he holds off on committing and makes an expected multi-day visit to FSU this summer then all bets are off. Raymond Woodie is still in constant contact with him and Sampah even tweeted out that they had an excellent conversation a couple of weeks ago. FSU won’t just concede a talent like this to Clemson but they have to get him on campus this summer. The other school in the mix here is Penn State.

Jaiyon McCluster

The stout inside linebacker from South Central Florida remains the biggest in-state want at the position for FSU. He plays both Runningback and inside Linebacker for his team which aids him in reading gaps along the line of scrimmage as well as having the hip flexibility to not be a liability in coverage. He’s a constant visitor for FSU and even though Miami is selling playing time I continue to love FSU’s chances here. Expect him back multiple times this summer.


Jahquez Robinson

The Jacksonville based corner is committed to Alabama but that hasn’t stopped FSU’s pursuit of him in the slightest. He has prototypical length and is physical at the line of scrimmage. He’s visited this spring already and FSU wants him back on campus in the summer. Florida along with Alabama are the main players here.

Kendall Dennis

Hailing from the same school as Brendan Gant is Dennis, a speedy corner who makes plays on the ball with consistency. FSU was the first big D1 offer for him and make no mistake they still want him in this class. He’s been on FSUs campus already this spring and has consistently named FSU his leader. With only a couple of spots left in the defensive back class, I expect FSU to try to close the deal during the summer.


Avantae Williams

The Oregon commitment is still a high priority target for the staff as he’s the perfect Free Safety- type that FSU craves. He’s also versatile enough to play a slot corner role and have an impact as a return man. Though committed to Oregon he’s visited them zero times since then. He’s visited both Florida and Georgia this year and FSU hopes to get him on campus this summer so they can officially throw their hat in the ring.

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