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Florida State Recruiting: Saturday Night Live Updates

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FSU has already had a number of elite players RSVP.

Updates

Check in a few times Saturday for updates and stay with us for Sunday coverage. The actual on-field events are from 4-6ish, so don’t expect a ton of updates except for arrivals news until then.

7/29 10:15 a.m. — Kids are leaving campus after having breakfast with the staff. Commitments could come this morning, when the players get back home, or in the coming weeks. I’ll have a full recap up this week, but FSU hit a major home run with this camp. A homer they had to have.

This article on 5-star guard Kardell Thomas is a must-read. Here are two money quotes.

“I’ve been talking to coach Woodie for about four months now. He’s been telling me to come to Florida State. I wasn’t really trying to hear that, I’m not going to lie. The first time I came here it was so boring, no disrespect to the last staff, but it was so boring, I was like I’m never coming back here again. Coach kept telling me it was different, I finally came and I see what he means,” Thomas said.

And

“This is the only school that can compare to LSU on everything for me. The way the staff treats you, it’s 50/50 (with LSU), it’s that real.”

Thomas still considers himself committed to LSU, but FSU gave him something to think about.

“Most definitely. It matched LSU, no school had ever matched it, FSU matched it.”

Does Thomas feel like he has another decision to make?

“Most definitely. It’s going to come down to signing day.”

7/29 8:30 a.m. —

  • Charles Cross loved his visit and him committing this morning would not be a surprise at all.
  • Ja’Marquis Johnson (2020) enjoyed the visit but did not commit
  • Zane Herring (2020) loved the visit but will commit after his junior season.
  • Kalen Deloach had a lot of great things to say (story coming Saturday night or Sunday morning). He is committing in a week or two between FSU and Auburn.

7/28 5:30 p.m.— We are officially underway at Saturday Night Live. More than 30 of FSU’s current players have been spotted; it’s significant that they’re choosing to spend their last weekend before camp at a recruiting event.

Willie Taggart chopping it up with Akeem Dent:

while Deondre Francois was spending some time with 5-star Kayvon Thibodeaux:

Right around 3000 fans present so far for tonight’s event.

7/28 4:25 p.m. — Safe to say the players and the recruits are hyped about Plies being on campus:

Speaking of stars 5-star cornerback commitment Akeem Dent has arrived.

7/28 3:00 p.m.— The gates are opening at Saturday Night Live and more talented recruits are arriving. Four-star defensive back commitment Travis Jay is on campus. 5-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux may have to rebook his flight, for good reasons:

Khris Bogle just wrapped up his visit; FSU is working to build a relationship with him. 2020 offensive tackle Zane Herring is on campus. Texas A&M outside linebacker commit Tarian Lee, the local product from Godby is also on campus.

7/28 1:00 p.m. — Four-star safety target Brendan Gant has arrived in Tallahassee. The former Alabama pledge is considered to be a Florida State lean. Four-star corner-back target Kaiir Elam is now in Tallahassee after spending Friday night in Gainesville. 2020 wide receiver Ja’Marquis Johnson out of Georgia has arrived. Three-star commitments Renardo Green and Tru Thompson have also arrived for SNL.

7/28 12:00 p.m. — Three-star offensive tackle target Charles Cross has arrived; He’s one of the top targets on FSU’s board. Three-star offensive guard Jamari Williams is here with his teammate, the aforementioned Khris Bogle. 2020 QB Gregory Span and 2020 WR Ryan King have also made it to campus. Four-star defensive end commitment Curtis Fann has also arrived.

7/28 10:15 a.m. — Four-star defensive tackle commit, Quashon Fuller, has arrived, while four-star defensive end target, Lloyd Summerall, is expected to be at Miami’s Paradise Camp. A big addition could be on the way later on as rapper Plies has tweeted that he may be in Tallahassee for the event, Plies is a nationally known rapper with a huge following in Florida (particularly South Florida) and is a big fan of Willie Taggart:

FIve-star Kayvon Thibodeaux is here and FAMU is breaking out the welcoming committee:

Four-star defensive end, Khris Bogle, top-ranked defensive end in Florida will be in Tallahassee instead of Miami’s Paradise Camp.

7/28 7:30 a.m. — Some big time names have already arrived, including LB Nakobe Dean, OG Kardell Thomas, DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, and George Pickens. Thibodeaux is the No. 1 player in the nation and had flight trouble, so he missed his visit to UF. But he will be in Tallahassee for two days. LB Kalen Deloach, RB Tye Edwards, LB Derrick Hall, and QB commit Sam Howell are also here.

Additionally, LB Quavaris Crouch is not coming due to some personal reasons, but he is absolutely expected back on campus this fall. 2020 WR Malachi Wideman is also not expected to make it. And LB Lee Kpogba also cannot make it, though he is expected to be down for a visit this fall.

Full list of expected attendees as of Friday is below.

Original

With the NCAA recruiting dead period lifting on July 24, many programs are trying to get elite prospects on campus one last time before football season starts.

Florida State is one of the programs leading the charge.

It’s throwing an event called Saturday Night Live, and it will be on Saturday, July 28, from 4-6 p.m. Florida, Alabama, Georgia and other programs are also having events that weekend, which puts an even bigger emphasis on getting elite players to campus.

This will be both a camp and a recruiting event.

There will be some evaluation being done at the camp. The staff might want to find out which player has better ball skills, or is faster, etc. But it is not a typical camp setting, seeing as almost everyone invited to this showcase event already holds a Florida State offer. At a typical Florida State camp the staff would be looking for players it should offer, but with most of the players already holding offers, the staff can focus more on recruiting.

Getting an invite has been very difficult. The event, for all intents and purposes, is invite only in an effort to prevent high schools from taking busloads of kids up, many of whom have no chance to play college football at FSU, or anywhere for that matter. With those sort of players not attending, it’s easier to focus on recruiting.

Sources tell me that getting approval to invite a prospect was very tough. Assistant coaches would have to go through recruiting coordinator David Kelly or head coach Willie Taggart in order to prevent the invites from getting out to unwanted prospects.

In all, over 100 invites went out. Recruits received an envelope with a golden ticket inside. Whether kids born after 2000 understood the reference to Willy Wonka is unknown, but the graphics still look slick.

Florida State’s staff wants fans to show up and show out for the event.

Last year at Oregon, Taggart and staff had a reported seven thousand fans show up. The weather in July in Oregon is much nicer than in Tallahassee, but several thousand fans are still expected to show up to see the recruits.

Elite recruits attending

I have either confirmed these names with the player directly, source, or both. I expect this list to change a lot in ways both good and bad.

  • QB: Commits — Sam Howell (FSU commit)
  • RB: Targets — Tye Edwards
  • WR: Commits — Maurice Goolsby (commit) Targets — John Dunmore, T.J. Jones.
  • TE: None (Goolsby might end up as a tight end)
  • OL: Commits — Targets — Charles Cross, Kardell Thomas, Howard Allen.
  • DL: Commits — Tru Thompson, Quashon Fuller, Curtis Fann, Derick McLendon, Derick Hunter. Targets — Kayvon Thibodeaux, Lloyd Summerall, Tyler Davis.
  • LB: Commits — Targets — Nakobe Dean, Derick Hall, Kalen Deloach, Jordan Richo, Lee Kpogba (WVU commig), Travon Thomas (the Miami Edison HS player, not the Louisiana HS player)
  • DB: Commits — Akeem Dent, Travis Jay, Renardo Green. Targets — Brendan Gant, Raymond Woodie, Tyrique Stevenson, Kaiir Elam,
  • 2020: Commits — Demorie Tate, Keyshawn Greene, Jadarius McKnight Targets — Zane Herring, Justin Flowe, Willie Taggart Jr., Arian Smith, Harrison Bailey, Lawrance Toafili, Malachi Wideman, Sa’Vell Smalls, Ja’Marquis Johnson, Jaquavion Fraziars, Jaquelin Roy, Joel Williams
  • 2021: Commits — None Targets — Carlos Del Rio, Bryce Langston, Trevonte Rucker

Not sure/Not attending/Other

  • LB Quavaris Crouch might ride down with Sam Howell, since they live about 30 minutes from each other. I’m working to confirm.
  • OL Evan Neal told me he is staying home that weekend and will not visit any school.
  • RB Trey Sanders will be at Alabama, but might be able to hit up FSU on the way up or back.
  • WR Jadon Haselwood told me he will be at Miami’s Paradise Camp and not at FSU. He is a Georgia commit. He has since been listed on UGA and FSU lists by various social media, so we’ll see where he ends up.
  • WR George Pickens (Auburn commit) wasn’t sure where he would visit, if anywhere.
  • As of Friday morning, FSU is no longer expecting the IMG Academy guys. IMG is finishing up summer class and doesn’t want any of its prospects to leave campus. This is why guys like Evan Neal and Trey Sanders said they couldn’t go anywhere, and it looks like they were right. The IMG guys would include Dontae Lucas, Charles Turner, Jaleel McRae, and Michael Redding.

Analysis

FSU seems to be off to a strong start, assuming these targets show up. It’s far too early to call the list a success or failure given the fluid nature of recruit RSVPs. But it is safe to say that if this exact list of RSVPs showed up the event would be a success.