Thoughts on Florida State's offensive tackle recruiting situation

Mike Ehrmann

What happens elsewhere in college football recruiting directly affects what happens in Tallahassee. Florida State fans are very interested in the Seminoles' offensive tackle recruiting situation, as well they should be. But they need to pay attention to what is happening at other schools as well.

FSU currently holds one commitment from an offensive tackle in Ethan Frith, out of Mississippi. Frith was an excellent job of scouting by the coaching staff, and they got him to commit early.

Now the Seminoles need two or three more.

The most likely candidates as of this point are Roderick Johnson, a 6'7, 320-pound man out of Missouri, and Frank Ragnow, a tough, athletic player out of Minnesota.

And what happens at both schools certainly impacts the pair.

Johnson has liked Florida State for a while now, and had an excellent visit to Tallahassee a few months back. FSU feels very good about its chances with Johnson. But the truth in college football these days is that for a lot of elite prospects, schools are waiting on Alabama to exercise its right of first refusal.  Alabama is in on Johnson, but already has one elite commitment, and on Friday, looks like it will secure the commitment of the best offensive tackle recruit in years, Cameron Robinson. Robinson, by the way, is from Louisiana and has been recruited by LSU for years.

If Alabama lands Robinson, Johnson would become less of a priority, and the chance that he could see early playing time in Tuscaloosa would decrease significantly. That's a boost to Florida State, who already sits in good position with Johnson. Most consider Johnson one of the 10-15 best tackles in the country.

Ragnow has more options. He was once thought to be leaning to Minnesota and staying in-state. Then, he took a trip to Arkansas and had a blast. At that point, many believed he would go to Arkansas to play for Brett Bielema. Then, he visited Florida State, and FSU feels very good about the visit. Some believe FSU is in the driver's seat for Ragnow. I saw him in Chicago and he's a good player.

Alabama and Florida are both interested in Ragnow, but have not offered. In fact, he reportedly grew up a Florida fan, and there was some trepidation about what would happen if Florida had offered during the visit he took to Gainesville after seeing Tallahassee.

Alabama is almost certainly no longer going to pursue Ragnow after it lands Robinson.

Florida, on the other hand, might. The Gators are after David Sharpe, of Jacksonville. Sharpe is a four-star and most believe he will pick Florida. Florida State offered, but Sharpe showed them little interest. He is also nominally interested in Georgia, and recently, has shown interest in Clemson. Florida State fans are in the awkward position of rooting for the Gators to land Sharpe, so that they don't turn and take Ragnow as a backup plan.

Ragnow also may still have interest in Big Ten schools like Wisconsin and Michigan State, which has a rich tradition of turning out NFL linemen, and are close to home.

FSU is also still pursuing JUCO prospects like Chad Mavety and Dontavius Blair, and will continue to look for others, as they often emerge later in the game. Ohio State and Auburn are the major competition, respectively.

FSU is also continuing to monitor the development of Marcus Applefield, of Weeki Wachee (Fla.). They recently visited his practice, and Applefield expected an offer at that time, but I don't believe that came. It still could, and Applefield is definitely high on Florida State.

As always, recruiting really does change from week to week. All of this intel could be wrong by October. We'll stay on top of the situation.

Interestingly, the tackle situation for 2014 in Tallahassee keeps getting better. 2014 is a draft loaded with offensive tackle prospects, many of whom will be rated higher than Cameron Erving, who is now in his second year starting as a red-shirt junior for the Seminoles. Many believed he would jump to the NFL after 2013, but after surveying the landscape of the draft, he would have to play extremely well to be a top-50, given the competition. Erving is far from a lock to jump to the NFL.

Also, Wilson Bell, the freshman tackle out of Mobile, has been much better than almost anyone expected. Already 6'4 or 6'5 and 310 pounds, Bell is in great shape and looks like he could be a multi-year starter at either tackle position, though he may not get that chance in 2014 if Erving comes back, as right tackle starter Bobby Hart is set to return.

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