For many Florida State fans, the inaugural early signing period might have felt like a bust— at least early on.
The ’Noles saw Florida nab Emory Jones, a four-star quarterback who visited both Tallahassee and Gainesville last weekend. Three-star linebacker Rosendo Louis flipped his commitment from Florida State to South Carolina, leaving the Seminoles to be mocked by some national media members after falling below Kansas and Western Michigan in the recruiting rankings. However, when looking deeper into Wednesday’s results, there’s actually significant hope for the future of Florida State recruiting.
Florida State was nowhere near Emory Jones’ radar before Willie Taggart took over. To reduce the Seminoles’ odds even further, new Florida head coach Dan Mullen had been recruiting the quarterback for years and was the first coach to offer Jones a scholarship, while the former was still at Mississippi State. Still, UF wasn’t 100% confident it would land Jones minutes before he made his announcement with the Seminoles threatening and trending late.
FSU fans were waiting for a splash. And a possibility on the west coast kept them waiting as his signing ceremony continued to push later and later into Wednesday night.
Five-star California safety prospect Jaiden Woodbey didn’t even have an offer from Florida State nine days ago. Taggart, in just those eight days between offering and signing the talented prospect, was able to recruit Woodbey cross-country in a place where FSU hasn’t had much success in the past. Since 2010, the Seminoles have signed just two California recruits — tight end Christo Kourtzidis in 2012 and quarterback Malik Henry in 2016.
Florida State was also able to hold its top defensive tackle commit, something former FSU and current Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was unable to do. Taggart and company went in-home with four-star defensive tackle Robert Cooper earlier in December, and he reaffirmed his pledge to Florida State. He made it official during the early signing period. Over at Texas A&M, four-star defensive tackle Bobby Brown decommitted, leaving the Aggies to scramble, as its current 2018 recruiting class lacks a single defensive tackle.
When this class didn’t open up by destroying the college football universe as we know it, many Seminole fans were quick to jump, erroneously, to a doom-and-gloom viewpoint. But FSU held onto the studs it needed, and plucked an elite talent from the opposite coast. Sounds a lot like the recent coaching developments in Tallahassee. And given Florida State’s new hires who have yet to make their full effect felt, the future looks bright for ’Nole recruiting.