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Florida State linebacker target Willie Gay decommits from Ole Miss

A talented player at a tough spot for Florida State.

Willie Gay, one of Florida State’s top linebacker targets, decommitted from Ole Miss Monday morning.

Out of Starkville (Miss.), Gay committed to the Rebels in June. But with NCAA issues swirling, potential changes rumored to the Ole Miss defensive staff, and the realistic chance of a 6-6 season for the Rebels, Gay has decommitted.

The timing of the decommitment is interesting. Gay took a visit to Michigan over the weekend, and will visit Florida State for the Seminoles’ game against Clemson.

Linebacker has been a trouble spot for FSU over the last few years, thanks in large part to a clustering of bad luck at the position (injuries, dismissals, academics).

Gay is 6’1.5, 215 pounds and already looks like a college linebacker. If he can pick up the mental side of the game as a true freshman, he has the physical tools to play early. He is a four-star recruit and, in my opinion, one of the 10 or 15 best linebackers in the country. Florida State tight ends coach Tim Brewster is his recruiter. Brewster previously coached at Mississippi State, which is also recruiting Gay.

Florida State’s linebacker situation for 2017 and beyond is a mixed bag.

Starters Matthew Thomas and Ro’Derrick Hoskins are both juniors, though Thomas could turn pro, having already missed a season due to academics. Third-year sophomore Delvin Purifoy has not regained form after a devastating ankle/leg injury two years ago. Sophomore Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane is academically ineligible this year, and it’s unknown if he will regain eligibility. True freshmen Dontavious Jackson, Emmett Rice and Josh Brown are promising players.