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Blue-chip linebacker Amari Gainer signs with Florida State

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The four-star linebacker took advantage of the early signing period to make it official with FSU.

Student Sports

After being one of Florida State’s most vocal leaders on the recruiting trail, Amari Gainer officially signed with the Seminoles during December’s Early Signing Period and has enrolled early at FSU.

A Tallahassee native, Gainer has been the heart and soul of FSU’s recruiting class this year, sticking with his commitment through the coaching change and frequently interacting with other recruits on social media. The 6-2, 204-pound linebacker is currently ranked as the 18th outside linebacker recruit in the country, per the 247Composite rankings.

Gainer was one of the first recruits that Willie Taggart visited after taking the head coaching job at Florida State, which made sense as Gainer is only a short drive from FSU’s campus. The four-star recruit took official visits to Ole Miss and Texas, but stuck with the hometown team in the end. Now, he’ll wait to see who else will join him as a Tallahassee resident, which will be determined on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

Here is what we learned about Gainer after watching his film:

At 6-3, 205-pounds, Gainer is a tad light for a linebacker but has the frame to potential bulk up to 220 or 230 pounds. His high school used him in a variety of roles, from rushing the quarterback to covering in space as a nickel back.

The first thing you notice on film is his quickness. Gainer is always the first one to react to the ball, whether its coming off of the edge or reading where a quarterback is throwing it to. When he rushes off the edge, he displays good flexibility to bend around blockers to make a play in the backfield. It’s not a stretch to imagine Gainer in a Jacob Pugh-type role for Florida State as a linebacker/defensive end hybrid.

When Gainer drops into coverage, he does a good job of keeping his eyes on the quarterback. At the high school level, he is able to take advantage of his quickness to make tackles for loss, either tracking down screen plays or taking down the quarterback on a scramble. If he’s able to retain his quickness while adding muscle, Gainer could also develop into a solid inside linebacker for the Seminoles.

Regardless, don’t expect Gainer to step in and take major snaps right away. He’ll be a key special teams contributor in year one, but keep an eye out for him in situational pass rushing roles as well.