Florida State's Jimbo Fisher football camp begins Wednesday, and this is the recruiting event Florida State fans have been waiting for. The Seminoles are looking to sign about 24-27 players in the class (27 only if they have studs beating down their door). Let's go position by position on the offensive side of the ball, review what FSU has, what it needs and then see who from the camp could fill the need. If you have questions about players not mentioned, please do ask.
As we saw with the last camp, FSU is being very selective and stingy with some offers. Having a "road" game at Miami in front of many South Florida recruits, and the uncertainty swirling in Gainesville, may yield opportunities for FSU to be in a position to grab some players it otherwise would not have landed. It needs to have spots open later in the year and not be in a position which forces it to tell numerous commits to look elsewhere.
Florida State is likely to take two quarterbacks. This is a terrible year for QB talent in the Eastern region, and FSU struck out on the targets out West, who all seemed to stay out that way.
Luckily, it already has long-time three/four-star commitment De'Andre Johnson, of Jacksonville First Coast. Johnson did not work out at the June camp, but will be working out this time around. He has been recruiting very hard for FSU.
Two names to watch at this camp: Deondre Francois, and Kai Locksley. Francois, of Bradenton's IMG Academy, and Locksley, of the Gilman School in the DMV, both hold offers. Having seen both, I have to believe that FSU prefers Francois. Francois is set to decide in a few weeks, and most expect the Seminoles to land him over Auburn, Oregon and Notre Dame. Locksley, however, is better set to play another position were he to commit and not stick at QB. Locksley will visit Texas after FSU, and it is important to note that his dad, Maryland OC Mike Locksley, worked with Charlie Strong when the two were at Florida under Ron Zook.
Four underclassmen to watch: Malik Henry, of So Cal, a very good baseball and football player. It wouldn't surprise me to see FSU pitch Henry on the Jameis Winston dual-sport role. I saw Henry when I was in California for the Nike tour and the Elite 11, and he was excellent, but very skinny. I'll be looking to see how much bigger he is seven months later. Also due in is Dwayne Haskins, a QB from The Bullis School in Potomac (MD). Haskins was very good when I saw him in Washington D.C. for Elite 11 Camp. Ohio State is very high on Haskins, who visited Florida earlier in the week. I'm also interested in whether Xavier Gaines, who recently transferred to Lake Wales High School, will show up. He holds an FSU "offer" and hasn't been at any of the events in Florida that I've covered as of yet. Update: QB Jake Zembiec, of New York (6'3, 205) will be attending. Zembiec has 20+ offers, including some big ones like Penn State and Oklahoma State.
Florida State is most likely going to end up taking two running backs. It does not have any commitments from running backs at this point, and one of its top three targets committed to Miami (Jordan Scarlett).
Running back Jacques Patrick, of Orlando (Fla.) Timber Creek, is expected in. Patrick is extremely high on Florida State, and Florida State recruits, both on and off the record, are very, very confident that FSU will land him. Here's my scouting report on Patrick.
I have been unable to reach Johnny Frazier, of North Carolina, so I do not know if he'll be coming down. He was not at any of the 20+ events I covered so far this year, and I do want to see him in person to see if the hype is real (his film is crazy good, but the competition is also poor). He is one of FSU's top targets.
FSU is looking to take at least three receivers. It has one in Nyquan Murray, a slot receiver from Orlando. Murray is expected in and is a friend of Jacques Patrick.
Alabama commitment Calvin Ridley told me at The Opening that he "might" make it, but he didn't know when the camp was, so those plans are certainly not concrete. My scouting report of Ridley is here. I also don't know if Auden Tate, of Tampa Wharton, will make it in. I do know that FSU's staff likes to work with its eventual commits, so Tate making it up would be a good sign.. I consider FSU the favorite to land Tate, the huge receiver who is quickly leaping up recruiting boards.
If FSU doesn't bring in any unexpected visitors, and Ridley/Tate don't show, the 2015 group of receivers at this camp seems very weak, and won't do much to alleviate concerns that FSU is underachieving in receiver recruiting this cycle. Still, it is fairly early and a lot can and does happen. Nobody had eventual 2014 receiver signees Ermon Lane, Travis Rudolph or Javon Harrison in their final classes at this time last year.
Underclassmen to watch: Tavares "T.J." Chase, a recent transfer to Bradenton's IMG Academy. Chase is an FSU-quality receiver in my opinion, and definitely wants a Florida State offer, as he told me during the IMG 7-on championships three weeks ago. Darnell Salomon, of Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic, is also expected in. D.J. Matthews, of Jacksonville, is a national talent in the class of 2017, and FSU is obviously on him as well.
It wouldn't surprise me if FSU has another big-time 2015 talent show.
FSU is looking to take 1-2 tight ends. It already has Jalen Wilkerson, of Georgia, and Wilkerson will be down and working at the camp.
Jonathan Holland, teammate of QB Haskins at the Bullis School, is also expected in. Holland is committed to Penn State as a defensive end, but FSU likes him at tight end. Of course, FSU has red-shirt senior tight end Kevin Haplea in his final year, after transferring in 2012 from Penn State following the Paterno/Sandusky mess.
Underclassman to watch: Isaac Nauta, of Georgia, might be the top tight end in the country and when I spoke with him in Atlanta he was very, very high on FSU and excited about visiting. He already looks like a young college player (6'5, 240ish).
This group is fantastic. FSU already holds two (or three, if grayshirt Ethan Frith makes it back in) commitments for the 2015 class. And it is looking to take 4-6 in my opinion. Commit David Robbins, the interior OL from Maryland will be in town, but Cole Minshew, the OL commit from Georgia, will not as he already camped in June. I know some are wondering about this since he is the teammate of tight end commit Wilkerson. Of course, Georgia is still on him hard and is the only real competition for FSU.
FSU still needs tackles, and this group of tackles is absolutely loaded.
Christian Pellage, a four-star of Brooksville (Fla.) Nature Coast, is expected in town. He is high on Florida State, as well as others, but most believe FSU can pull him eventually. Pellage has added 50 pounds in the last 30 months, and it's good weight. My scouting report on Pellage can be found here.
Also in town will be Abdul Bello, of Montverde Academy. Bello is a physical freak, but is quite raw as he has played only a handful of games of American football after coming over from Africa. He holds an FSU offer despite his unrefined status, because the raw material is way too good to pass up. My scouting report on Bello can be found here.
Jalen Merrick, of New Smyrna Beach, will also be in town. He holds offers from Florida, FSU and Miami, and I want to see him in person, as some believe he will be a tackle, and others a guard. Georgia, South Carolina and LSU are some of his recent offers.
Also in will be Matt Burrell, of C.D. Hylton, in Virginia. Some see Burrell as a tackle, but I think he fits better at guard, though right tackle is not out of the question. I chatted with Burrell at The Opening, and he thought my scouting report on him was fair. Burrell does hold an FSU offer, and Ohio State, Penn State and Alabama are all considered major players as well.
This is a fantastic group of offensive linemen expected, and the Seminoles seem poised to follow up 2014's ridiculous line class (second only to Alabama's) with another very good one. What a difference a few years makes.
Underclassmen to watch: Chidi Okeke-Valentine, of Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic, will also be in town. Valentine is even more raw than Bello, but has even less experience, and is of similar background. Physically, he looks like a beast.
Wednesday, I'll drop the defensive preview, add a few more recruits to the offensive side of the ball, and we'll get this thing kicked off with live updates around lunch.