Florida State Seminoles football is bringing in quality recruits during the first ever Early Signing Period, but is light on numbers.
All teams with new coaches were hit hard by the new Early Signing Period rules. FSU has just seven blue-chip commitments, and nine overall, but that number of elite players is right up there with other programs captained by new coaches like Florida, Texas A&M, and UCLA. FSU is the only team with a new coach to have a five-star signee.
Coach Willie Taggart said that he expects to sign 16-18 players, and that he will not sign more just to sign more. That number feels light, and could be expanded with early NFL departures, but there is a method to the madness. Not filling up a roster with too many players who project as backup options is the smart long-term move. It also sets Taggart up to sign a very large class in 2019.
Let’s get into how many players the Seminoles will likely need to sign at each position. This will be updated as roster changes happen. At some spots, reaching for a lesser player to fill a need might make sense. But at other spots, it likely does not.
- RB or WR
- WR D’Marcus Adams (committed, not yet signed)
- WR Warren Thompson (committed, not yet signed)
- WR Keyshawn Helton (committed, not yet signed)
- TE Camren McDonald (committed, not yet signed)
- OL Christian Armstrong (Enrolled)
- OL Christian Meadows (committed, not yet signed)
- OL Jalen Goss (committed, not signed)
- OL Chaz Neal (committed, not signed)
- Wildcard (offense)
- DL Robert Cooper
- DL Dennis Briggs (committed, not yet signed)
- DL/LB Xavier Peters (committed, not yet signed)
- LB Amari Gainer (Enrolled)
- DB Jaiden Woodbey (Enrolled)
- DB Asante Samuel Jr.
- DB Anthony Lytton
- DB Isaiah Bolden
- Wildcard (defense)
Florida State will return three quarterbacks, but attrition of one is possible, though not probable. Schools usually want to carry four, taking a QB seems likely. James Foster remains the top target, and FSU had the final visit.
Florida State will return 14 skill position players (backs, receivers and tight ends) if none leave, but attrition should probably be expected. Teams typically carry around 20, so expect FSU to take at least 5-6 five skill guys, including a back (though it could pass), a tight end, and at least three receivers. FSU currently has commitments from WR D’Marcus Adams, Keyshawn Helton, Warren Thompson and TE Camren McDonald.
Running back is an interesting question. FSU has struggled to regain traction with one-time commit Jashaun Corbin. Tennessee RB commit Anthony Grant is an option, but FSU is not guaranteed to take a back in the class.
WR Tre’Shaun Harrison, from Washington is a strong possibility. Tennessee WR commit Jordan Young, who I profiled here, finally visited the Seminoles.
The Seminoles will return 12 offensive linemen, but attrition of one is reasonable to anticipate. Ideally, a team would like to carry 16 offensive linemen. FSU has four committed in Christian Armstrong (signed), Christian Meadows, Jalen Goss, and Chaz Neal. FSU appears to be done at the position.
Turning to the defensive side of the ball, new defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett will certainly be throwing out some new offers of late.
FSU will return 14 defensive linemen, but attrition of one is reasonable. The Seminoles will look for FSU to sign at least three defensive linemen. Commitment Robert Cooper is already signed. Dennis Briggs, an interior lineman, is a recent commit.
FSU looks to have a chance with Malcolm Lamar and Jamarcus Chatman, swing players who could line up inside or out.
Florida State will return five linebackers, but attrition of one is likely, so expect the Seminoles to sign two in the class. Signee Amari Gainer is already in. Xavier Peters is the latest commitment, though he is a hybrid edge player and not a true LB.
The remaining target, if he can qualify, is James Miller, a teammate of Warren Thompson and Malcolm Lamar at Armwood HS.
The Seminoles will return 10 defensive backs and attrition of one is reasonable, so FSU will need to take at least four DBs. Five-star Jaiden Woodbey signed already, as have four-stars Anthony Lytton and Asante Samuel Jr., and Isaiah Bolden. FSU appears to be done at the position barring any huge surprises.
FSU has three specialists and none are expected to leave early, so don't expect any in the class.
By staying the course, Willie Taggart should be able to balance bringing in elite talent with filling holes, while not wasting too many roster spots on filler which will never see the field in Tallahassee. The 2019 class is expected to be quite large.
This article, originally published in December, has been updated. Due to the early departures of Auden Tate, Ryan Izzo, and Jalen Wilkerson, I have expanded the class by a spot or two.