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Florida State of Recruiting: Breaking down FSU’s transfer portal haul on defense

Reloading.

Tuesday, we looked at Florida State football’s transfer portal additions on the offensive side of the ball. Today, we switch over to defense, where the Seminoles have seemingly plugged quite a few holes, although some questions remain heading into spring.

  • DE Marvin Jones Jr.

Jones will look to follow the blueprint created by Jermaine Johnson, evolving from a rotational player in Athens to a bona fide star in Tallahassee. Time will tell whether he can achieve that same level of success, but the Seminoles are elated that he’s coming to Tallahassee to try.

He has two seasons of eligibility remaining and figures to be in the mix for a starting position next season as FSU looks to replace Jared Verse.

  • DE Sione Lolohea

QB DJ Uiagalelei actively assisted the staff in recruiting Lolohea to Tallahassee. 2023 was his best campaign to date, as he earned second-team all-conference honors. Lolohea chose the Seminoles over Lincoln Riley’s USC Trojans, who also received an official visit.

  • DL Tomiwa Durojaiye

At 6’4 278 pounds, Durojaiye has the athleticism to play multiple positions along the defensive line. He has a nice array of moves in his bull-rush technique and has shown the ability to shed blockers.

Durojaiye should be in the rotation once he learns the playbook and is expected to be a contributor. With three years of eligibility remaining, FSU loves his potential to eventually be developed into a starter.

  • DT Grady Kelly

This past season for the Colorado State Rams, Kelly finished with 35 tackles (25 solo), including 6.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. After entering the transfer portal, he received offers from the Arizona State Sun Devils, Boston College Eagles, Indiana Hoosiers, Kansas Jayhawks, Maryland Terrapins, Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota Golden Gophers, North Carolina Tar Heels, and Texas A&M Aggies, among others.

  • LB Shawn Murphy

From his 247Sports bio as a recruit:

Has build to play inside linebacker. Can add thickness throughout frame and play at 235 pounds. Hard-working with inner drive. Plays with chip on shoulder. Physical, menacing player in the box. Shows suddenness to get to ball carrier. Plugs gaps with ferocity. Devastating hitter between the tackles. At his best when playing downhill. Sifts through garbage at line of scrimmage to locate ball carrier. Shows stack-and-shed ability. Relentless in his pursuit. Physical superiority shows at high school level. Excellent run blitzer. Verified testing of plus 4.8 in 40 brings speed questions. Has to continue to work on hip flexibility and lower body looseness to aid in change of direction. Has to work on coverage skills, including opening his hips and depth drop.

  • LB DJ Lundy

He had committed to next play for Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes, even being announced as part of the once-again Big 12 program’s signing class with a page set up on the team’s official website.

Lundy has played in 42 games during his time in Tallahassee, seeing the field early as part of the Seminoles’ rebuild under Mike Norvell. Alongside 170 tackles (75 solo, 95 assisted), 2.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, one forced and recovered fumble, the Ocilla product also scored three touchdowns (two recieving, one rushing) over his Florida State career while lining up at fullback.

  • DB Earl Little Jr.

A redshirt freshman with three seasons of eligibility remaining, Little has the versatility to play either safety, nickel, or cornerback and will be a welcome and talented addition to the defensive back room. With FSU being in much better shape as a program now, his former high school coach Patrick Surtain serving as DB coach, and his best friend Marvin Jones Jr. having signed on to become a Seminole, all signs pointed toward FSU finally getting Little in the fold once he announced he’d be transferring.

In the end, the coaching staff got it done, and those of us who badly wanted to see Little Jr. in garnet and gold will get our wish next season.

  • DB Davonte Brown

At 6’2 185 pounds, there’s a thought Brown will play safety in Tallahassee. He’ll be mentored by FSU defensive backs coach Patrick Surtain, his former high school head coach.

Brown was a bona fide starting cornerback for the UCF Knights for his final two seasons in Orlando, making him a popular portal target the first time he entered. Last season for the Hurricanes, he was part of an uneven defensive back unit and totaled 10 tackles (eight solo) in 11 games of backup duty. According to Pro Football Focus, his best attribute this past season was tackling.

Listen below, or you can check us out on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your shows.

Florida State Recruiting Class of 2024

(click on names for links to commitment articles)

High School Signees

QUARTERBACK: 4 star Luke Kromenhoek (GA)

RUNNING BACK: 4 star Kam Davis (GA)

RUNNING BACK: 4 star Micahi Danzy (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Camdon Frier (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Lawayne McCoy (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star BJ Gibson (GA)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Elijah Moore (MD)

TIGHT END: 4 star Landen Thomas (GA)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Jonathan Daniels (FL)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Tye Hylton (FL)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Manasse Itete (CA)

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Jayden Todd (GA)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star DD Holmes (DC)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star D’Nas White (NC)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Jamorie Flagg (FL)

LINEBACKER: 3 star Jayden Parrish (FL)

LINEBACKER: 3 star Timir Hickman-Collins (SC)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 5 star Charles Lester III (FL)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star Jamari Howard (FL)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star Ricky Knight III (FL)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star Cai Bates (FL)

KICKER: 3 star Jake Weinberg (FL)

Transfer portal commitments

EDGE Marvin Jones Jr (Georgia Bulldogs)

QB DJ Uiagalelei (Oregon State Beavers)

WR Jalen Brown (LSU Tigers)

DB Earl Little Jr (Alabama Crimson Tide)

DT Grady Kelly (Colorado State Rams)

ATH Jaylin Lucas (Indiana Hoosiers)

DB Davonte Brown (Miami Hurricanes)

WR Malik Benson (Alabama Crimson Tide)

DL Tomiwa Durojaiye West Virginia Mountaineers

DL Sione Lolohea Oregon State Beavers

OL Terrance Ferguson Alabama Crimson Tide

RB Roydell Williams Alabama Crimson Tide

OL Richie Leonard IV Florida Gators

Florida State of Recruiting: The Three Stars podcasts:

(1/16/24): Breaking down FSU’s transfer portal haul on offense

(1/15/24): Mike Norvell spurns Alabama, NCAA sanctions, #Tribe24 updates

(12/22/23): Breaking down #Tribe24 — favorite signees, player projections, biggest misses