Florida State is one of the few schools out there with a legitimate claim to the title of “DBU,” or Defensive Back University. It routinely signs and develops the position at a high rate, from five-stars like Jalen Ramsey, to former three-star recruits like Terrence Brooks.
FSU loses seniors Nate Andrews, Trey Marshall, Malique Jackson and Ermon Lane to graduation after the 2017 season. It will also be losing Derwin James (announced) and almost certainly Tarvarus McFadden to early NFL draft declarations. The Seminoles should be looking to sign five defensive backs in the 2018 class.
Anthony Lytton, Upper Marlboro (MD), Cornerback
Lytton is widely regarded as one of the five best corners in the country. At 5’10 and 173 pounds, he does not have great size, but does have excellent feet and tenacity. Lytton is considered extremely solid.
Asante Samuel Jr., Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, Cornerback
Samuel is considered a top-100 prospect nationally and has shown himself to be an elite cover corner with great feet and technique. He’ll need it, being only 5’9.5.
Florida State is looking to add 2-3 more defensive backs to its class. At this point, it is chasing studs.
Patrick Surtain Jr., Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage, Cornerback
Surtain Jr. is the best cornerback in America, and for my money, the safest bet to be a stud, regardless of position. Size (6’2), speed, technique, instincts, and potential, he is the total package. LSU, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Miami are also involved. FSU has to get him back on campus if it wants a shot.
Isaiah Bolden, Zephyrhills (Fla.) Wesley Chapel, Cornerback
Bolden is a 6’2 DB who could end up at cornerback or safety. Bolden committed to FSU, flipped to Oregon, and is now open again. Florida State and Bolden are still friendly, especially with Willie Taggart being hired as head coach.
Nadab Joseph, Miami (Fla.) Norland, Cornerback/Safety
Joseph is a long, very athletic corner who is working on his technique. He was formerly at Champagnat Catholic. Joseph has been committed to LSU, and is now committed to Alabama. But the tall prospect has long been connected to FSU.
Brendan Radley-Hiles, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, Cornerback
Radley-Hiles is a California native and was a longtime Nebraska commitment, before backing off his pledge. Radley-Hiles is now high on Clemson and Florida. FSU is trying to make a move here.
Jaiden Woodbey, Fontana (Calif.), Safety
Woodbey is one of the higher rated safeties in the nation. A current Ohio State commit, he is not expected to end up in the Ohio State class, and Oklahoma and USC are making moves.
Devon Matthews, Jacksonville (Fla.) Ribault, Safety
Matthews is an Indiana commitment and does not have an offer as of yet, but after a major senior season, he could be in line to receive one.
Divaad Wilson, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern, Cornerback/Safety
Wilson was a Florida commitment, but is now open and FSU offered this week.
-Visits: At the defensive back position, Florida State has Bolden and Samuel Jr. scheduled to visit, and there is a lot of smoke about potentially getting Joseph, Woodbey, and Radley-Hiles up this weekend, as well. A complicating factor to note is that this is one of FSU’s graduation weekends, so hotels are booked far in advance.
-Hello: FSU has offered Brendan Radley-Hiles, Wilson, and Woodbey.
Israel Mukuamu, Bossier City (Fla.) Parkway, Safety
Florida State landed the 6’4 Mukuamu, who moved from South Carolina to Louisiana recently, over offers from South Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma State. He is a prospect who blew up over the summer.
Mukuamu left for South Carolina, and FSU does not seem to have a foot back in the door.
John Huggins, Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland, Safety
Huggins loves Florida State, and Florida State loves his aggressive, physical style. But when he tried to commit in June, he was told to wait and improve his grades. He did so via some credit recovery courses, and FSU accepted his commitment in July.
It seems like Huggins is in line for a ratings bump soon, based on what he did at Miami’s camp.
It’s still not clear is Huggins will qualify, if FSU wants him back, or if he wants back in.
Houston Griffith, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, Cornerback/Safety
Griffith profiles as someone who could play the Star position for Florida State, a hybrid between the cornerback and safety spots. Florida State values versatility in its defensive backs and Griffith is a smart, versatile player. At 6’0, Griffith has good size as well. Nebraska is the top competition, but FSU has done very well at IMG Academy.
Griffith has since committed to Notre Dame.