Update (12/12, 9:33 am EST): Okay, so we have a correction to make. FSU switched planes on us and did not head to Tulsa last night. Instead, they flew out of California for New Orleans, where they landed at 2:43 am CST, evidently to go see WDE target Derick Hall in Gulfport, MS this morning. There is a follow-up plan for this aircraft (a twin-jet Hawker Beechcraft 4000) to depart for Miami at 4:30 pm CST. We’ll keep you posted.
Update (12/11, 10:23 pm EST): The jet was on the ground in California from 3:00 pm to 7:07 PST and is once again airborne and headed back east. Its next stop will be in Tulsa, OK, for what looks like refueling purposes. We’ll see where it heads after that— south to Houston, southeast to Tallahassee, or to another destination.
Update (12/11, 3:37 pm EST): Well, whatever that foray to New Mexico was, it didn’t last long. The jet stayed in Las Cruces from just 12:46 pm until 1:36 pm MST, and is presently in the air again, bound for Los Angeles county, where it is scheduled to arrive at 2:59 PST. This is a trip to see five-star recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux. The NM stop should not have been for fuel, as a Houston to LA flight is well within this aircraft’s range. A stop that brief was most likely to drop someone off or pick someone up.
Update (12/11, 1:39 am EST): After spending a second-straight evening in Houston (which has not been normal, as noted in the previous update), a flight plan has been filed for this aircraft to depart Houston at 11:06 am CST. Its destination: Las Cruces, New Mexico. We’re not sure what this means, but it’s possible that the plane may be being used by someone other than FSU staff.
Update (12/10, 7:37 pm EST): Florida State coaches are going in-home with bluechip Houston cornerback prospect Marcus Banks tonight, so the jet remains there after arriving last night. That’s a lot of time to spend in the area for one recruit. As of now, no flight plan has been scheduled for further travel. If the plane stays in Houston overnight, it’ll be the first time this month that the aircraft has been in the same city for two consecutive nights.
Speculation regarding Florida State’s next offensive coordinator has dominated FSU football news of late, so we’ve decided to look to the skies for answers— specifically, examining flights tied to Seminoles football. And there are some interesting observations to be made regarding one specific aircraft, recruiting, and Houston OC Kendal Briles. The latter, of course, has been strongly tied to the vacancy in Tallahassee.
And the former — a twin-jet Cessna Citation II — has been quite a few places that ’Nole head coach Willie Taggart has been recently. It was in Savannah on Dec. 4 when Taggart caught up with Kalen Deloach, in Charlotte when Taggart saw Sam Howell on Dec. 5, in San Diego when Taggart visited Jay Williams on Dec. 6, and in Orlando for the state championships on Dec. 7.
And now it’s in Houston.
Today, the jet flew from Tallahassee to Jacksonville (where Taggart and Briles were rumored to have met). After 2 hours and 45 minutes, the jet then flew back to Tallahassee, stopped for 26 minutes, and then departed for Houston, leaving TLH at 5:57 pm EST and landing in HOU at 7:43 pm CST. Now, it should be noted that FSU is recruiting Marcus Banks out of Houston, and will be visiting him on Monday. Also, every flight this aircraft makes does not necessarily involve Taggart.
That said, we’re not drawing any definitive conclusions here. So the question becomes: is this FSU traveling to recruit its new OC, or new players? Or, perhaps, both?