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Florida State football recruiting: Cornerback, safety

FSU is looking to sign five defensive backs in the 2016 cycle.

Florida State recruiting is off to an incredible start, with 14 commitments and the No. 1 overall ranking in the country. Championship teams in the last decade plus have been made of more four- and five-stars than two- and three-stars, and 11 of FSU's 14 commitments are indeed rated as blue chips. The rest of the ACC has 16 combined. Note that it is very early and early recruiting rankings don't mean much.

One area where FSU needs to hit a home run is defensive back. Florida State returns 12 defensive backs in 2016 and attrition of one or two is reasonable, meaning Florida State is in the market for four or five defensive backs, and more than likely three who can play corner.

Currently FSU has two and both are very good.

The first is five-star cornerback recruit Levonta Taylor, of Virginia Beach's Ocean Lakes High School. Taylor is widely considered one of the five best in the nation. And he recently measured in at 5'11 at Nike's DC camp, running a blazing 4.34 (hand timed, of course) 40-yard dash. The 5'11 measurement is of note because is suggests Taylor might not be done growing.

The second is safety Jamel Cook, of Miami Central. The 6'4.5, 189-pound Cook showed good range at the recent Miami Nike Camp, though he isn't great in man coverage against smaller slot receivers. Based on what I have seen, Cook's four-star rating seems deserved. Cook also seems solid to FSU, as the Seminoles have done extremely well at Miami Central in recent years. Cook told Tomahawk Nation that FSU could see him playing any number of positions, and it will depend on how much he keeps growing and where he feels comfortable.

So FSU still needs three more defensive backs.

One player with an argument for the honor of best corner in the state is Trayvon Mullen, of Pompano Beach (Fla.) Coconut Creek. Mullen is a four-star recruit who should be a five-star in my eyes, with his 6'2 frame, speed and agility. FSU's main competition for Mullen will be LSU, which has a history of pulling elite defensive backs out of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Gators. FSU made Mullen a major priority, visiting him first this spring and sending a message. Mullen has a good relationship with defensive coordinator and secondary coach Charles Kelly. FSU's freshman safety Derwin James was recently tweeting at Mullen.

The other player with an argument for the honor of the No. 1 CB in state is Saivion Smith, of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. Smith recently committed to LSU. The commitment was really a surprise, but Smith, and especially his father really like the Tigers. FSU has not stopped recruiting him, but this won't be an easy flip.

Another prospect to keep an eye on is Carlos Becker, of Kissimmee Osceola. At 6'1.5, 185, Becker will remind FSU fans of P.J. Williams with his length. FSU was one of his first major offers, and UF, Ohio State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisville and Mississippi State soon followed. Becker is likely underrated based on his film and size and I believe he would be a take for FSU if he wanted to come aboard right now.

FSU is also recruiting Nigel Knott, of Madison (Miss.) Georgetown. Knott will receive a visit from FSU tight ends coach Tim Brewster Thursday (Brewster coached at Mississippi State for a time and recruits the state for FSU), and recently said that he was open to being recruited nationally, which might suggest that FSU has a better shot than expected at the top-10 CB recruit who resides deep in SEC territory.

The Seminoles recently pulled the trigger on an offer for Craig Watts, of St. Pete (Fla.) Admiral Farragut. The 6'0 safety holds offers from Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, etc. He is rated as a four-star recruit.

FSU will continue to evaluate prospects throughout the spring and summer, and it has pulled many of its successful defensive backs under Jimbo Fisher after evaluating them at camp.