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Florida State football, recruiting news: FSU poised to close strong

Your daily dose of FSU football and recruiting news.

Devonta Smith
Dustin Tackett

I wrote Tuesday about the ratings in Florida State’s class. I think it’s a good dose of perspective.

Recruiting notes

  • QB commit James Blackman shutting down his recruitment is good news for Florida State. He has a lot of talent, even if it might take him a bit of time to put it all together. And it helps FSU that he is not going to Florida or West Virginia, both of whom the ‘Noles play in the coming years.
  • RB commit Zaquandre White will welcome Florida State RB coach Jay Graham and HC Jimbo Fisher for an in-home visit Thursday. His official visit to Tallahassee is scheduled for the 27th. Before you ask—yes, I believe FSU signs all three running backs (Cam Akers is already enrolled, and Khalan Laborn is due to visit on the 20th).
  • Amite (La.) receiver Devonta Smith made a quiet visit to Tallahassee earlier this week (Sunday-Tuesday). Most believe Alabama is the team to beat for a variety of factors, but the Crimson Tide cannot take everyone. While Smith is a priority target for Bama, I believe Henry Ruggs is the top wide receiver on their board. Ruggs visited Tallahassee over the weekend. I’m sure FSU will sell that it just lost three starting receivers in Travis Rudolph, Bobo Wilson, and Kermit Whitfield.
  • As far as I know, star safety Maleik Gray, a Tennessee commit from The Volunteer State, is still taking his visit this weekend to Florida State. I believe the ‘Noles have a strong chance to pull off the flip if the visit actually takes place. This is a great weekend for Gray to OV, with so many other FSU commits expected in Tallahassee.
  • Linebacker Levi Jones, of Austin (Texas), told a number of outlets that Florida leads following his visit to Gainesville, but if you pay attention to the crystal ball, not a single person who covers UF has picked him to sign with the Gators. Meanwhile, my FSU sources still believe they’re in a good position, especially getting the final visit on January 27.
  • The only prospect we’ve been mentioning of late who I think can be removed from the board is Dalyn Wade-Perry, the defensive tackle who committed to Stanford (they rarely lose a prospect they really want).
  • LSU people believe the program hit the Marvin Wilson visit out of the park. But, I haven’t seen any of them saying definitively that the Tigers are a lock, or that FSU is out of it.

Great marketing here by FSU:


That is horrible. There’s no way the Gators can go back to him as their starting QB, right?

Speaking of Florida ...

A Gators’ defense that carried the team to consecutive SEC East Division titles lost four underclassmen to the draft, including starting cornerbacks Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson. Defensive line stalwart Caleb Brantley and linebacker Alex Anzalone also depart, leaving new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon to reshape the unit following Geoff Collins' exit to Temple. Florida loves offense and hired coach Jim McElwain because of his background on offense. It's time for that offense to reveal itself, or Florida will not return to Atlanta for the third straight year.

Clemson loses a lot off its offense.

Clemson: This time it’s the offense that will need to be remodeled, beginning at quarterback. While it has been known for some time that Deshaun Watson was going to leave after his junior season, it doesn’t make it any easier replacing the player who ended 2016 as the college game's best. Whomever Dabo Swinney tabs as Watson’s successor won’t have Artavis Scott or Mike Williams to throw the ball to, either. Running back Wayne Gallman is leaving early as well. The Tigers do have the No. 1 quarterback in the 2017 class enrolled early. Watson, who was the No. 1 quarterback in his class, was also a January enrollee and was the starter by October of his freshman season. Will the Tigers be able to duplicate that with Hunter Johnson (or 2018 No. 1 QB and Tigers commit Trevor Lawrence)?

Andy Staples of SI notes an interesting swap.

2. Remember when those two Yankees pitchers traded wives? What happened last week between Mississippi State and Louisville wasn’t as strange as that, but it’s up there. The Bulldogs and Cardinals essentially traded defensive coordinators.

Mississippi State hired Todd Grantham away from Louisville, which then replaced Grantham with Peter Sirmon, the guy Grantham had been hired to replace at Mississippi State. Hopefully, all the parties get what they want out of the swap.

Getting Derrick Nnadi back is huge.