A much-needed bye week has finally arrived for the Florida State Seminoles, and I can’t think of a better time to take stock of the 2023 recruiting class.
The Seminoles currently hold 16 prep commitments and one transfer commitment for Tribe 23 and as of this writing, are ranked 16th nationally and 3rd in the ACC behind Clemson and Miami (FL). It’s important to note that of the 15 schools currently ranked ahead of FSU, only one has the same number of commitments (Miami FL). Every other school has between 19 and 23 commitments.
Geographically, Mike Norvell and his staff have nine commitments from Florida prospects, two each from Georgia and Alabama, and one each from California, North Carolina, and Mississippi. Positionally, defensive line leads the way with five commitments, while wide receiver holds three.
As a refresher, here are the young men who currently comprise Tribe 23:
RUNNING BACK: 4 star Samuel Singleton Jr. (FL)
WIDE RECEIVER: 5 star Hykeem Williams (FL)
WIDE RECEIVER: 3 star Darren “Goldie” Lawrence (FL)
WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Vandrevius Jacobs (FL)
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Lucas Simmons (FL)
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Roderick Kearney (FL)
DEFENSIVE END: 4 star Lamont “Boots” Green, Jr. (FL)
DEFENSIVE END: 3 star JUCO Jaden Jones (AL)
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Tavion Gadson (GA)
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Keldric Faulk (AL)
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 4 star Keith Sampson, Jr. (NC)
LINEBACKER: 4 star Blake Nichelson (CA)
LINEBACKER: 3 star DeMarco Ward (GA)
DEFENSIVE BACK/ATHLETE: 3 star Quindarrius Jones (MS)
DEFENSIVE BACK: 3 star Ja’Bril Rawls (FL)
DEFENSIVE BACK: 3 star Kenton “KJ” Kirkland (FL)
Transfer portal additions
RUNNING BACK: Caziah Holmes (Penn State)
Positional Breakdowns and Outlooks
- FSU continues to evaluate quarterback options and would like to take at least one for Tribe 23. The high school prospect I continue to monitor is Miami (Fl) commit Emory Williams, as FSU has kept in contact and could make a strong push later in the season. Coaches are still communicating with Ohio State commit Brock Glenn. If you want a wildcard, keep an eye on Iowa State commit J.J. Kohl if Matt Campbell takes another job after this season.
- FSU will also certainly scour the transfer portal for possible additions, especially if Jordan Travis decides not to return for 2023.
- Sam Singleton was my favorite prospect on the running back board throughout the cycle. FSU landing his commitment will add another infusion of talent to the stacked RB room.
- FSU appears to be looking for one more running back to add in this class, even with Penn State transfer Caziah Holmes already on the roster. Utah commit Mike Mitchell has been on the radar for some time and has visited campus numerous times, but it appears his grades are still not at a level where FSU feels comfortable accepting his pledge. West Virginia commitment Jordan Louie has also recently been on campus.
- Texas (and former FSU) commit Cedric Baxter recently visited for the Clemson game and was the recipient of a helicopter visit from Mike Norvell this week. Though Baxter is now expected to take an official visit to FSU, I do not think FSU is a legitimate threat to flip Baxter right now. If the official visit goes well and FSU can possibly get him back in town for a third visit, we can start getting our hopes high.
- I wouldn’t be surprised to see FSU take a hard look at portal running backs as well. It’s also important to note that LB commitment Blake Nichelson is also a talented running back for his high school and could see situational work, similar to DJ Lundy this season.
- Florida State has a very strong wide receiver class right now. The crown jewel of Tribe 23 is (and will continue to be) Hykeem Williams, while perhaps the most underrated commit is Vandrevius Jacobs. Goldie Lawrence has also put together a very strong senior season.
- Depending on attrition from the position unit, Florida State could still add one or two more receivers to the commitment list, bringing in another prep prospect or opting for a portal addition or two to bring more experience to the unit.
- As far as high school targets remaining, FSU remains in regular contact with LSU commit Jalen Brown and UGA commit Raymond Cottrell. Though I don’t see a flip coming from Brown, Cottrell could be a name to watch down the stretch if FSU can get him on campus. Another name to watch is South Florida athlete Edwin Joseph, who could play either WR or DB but is notably being recruited by FSU GA Guy Lemonier (who works with receivers).
- Following the decommitment of Randy Pittman, the only real prep prospect of note is Anthony Miller, Jr. The Seminoles continue to evaluate Miller after a disappointing showing over the summer camps, but if given the green light, expect Miller to jump aboard Tribe 23.
- I think it is far more likely that FSU turns once again to the transfer portal to bolster the TE corps with one addition (possibly two if attrition hits hard). The development of Markeston Douglas has been a clear positive, but the TE room still needs a significant talent infusion while promising younger prospects like Brian Courtney and Jerrale Powers continue developing.
- FSU has two outstanding commitments in Lucas Simmons and Roderick Kearney. Simmons is a prototypical left tackle with a very high ceiling, while Kearney profiles as a punishing guard with all-conference potential. Simmons appears locked in while Kearney continues to be wooed by the Florida Gators, with the Georgia Bulldogs also sniffing around. FSU will need to get Kearney on campus again to hope to retain his commitment and while the Seminoles are still very much in the race, as of today I think it is more likely that Kearney ends up elsewhere.
- The Seminoles’ top remaining target continues to be swing OL D.J. Chester, for whom FSU sits in very strong position. FSU also maintains contact with Key West OL Christopher Otto and just recently offered JUCO interior OL Keyshawn Blackstock. A wild card name to watch would be former target and official visitor Luke Burgess, who committed to Louisville but may become available again if a coaching change occurs. It is also important to watch which prospects could be pushed out of larger classes from top programs to see if FSU could benefit on the rebound.
- FSU will certainly monitor the transfer market and will likely add one or two OL additions from the portal, depending on Kearney, roster attrition, and which portal prospects come available.
- The Seminoles have made significant waves in the recruiting landscape on both sides of the trenches, with defensive line commits making up nearly one-third of the class. Keldrick Faulk is a true beast-in-waiting, legacy Lamont “Boots” Green, Jr., has already racked up 18 sacks in his senior season, and JUCO DE Jaden Jones is among the best junior college prospects this cycle. Keith Sampson and Tavion Gadson are a strong duo of interior DL commits, and are both still being strongly pursued by other programs. Sampson in particular is one to keep an eye on, with N.C. State working hard to keep him home.
- DT Reuben Bain was recently on campus but I believe FSU trails Miami and Auburn in that race, though that isn’t stopping Hykeem Williams from pushing hard. The Seminoles are still trying to bring stud DL Jordan Hall in for an official visit, but FSU is trailing behind SEC powers in that race. The one I’m watching closely is Shymeik Jones. Look for FSU to bring him to campus late in the season or possibly in December, especially is Sampson flips.
- It’s a safe bet that FSU will push to bring in one or two portal defensive linemen, again dependent on attrition and who is available.
- So far, FSU has landed a true difference-maker in Blake Nichelson and a developmental prospect in DeMarco Ward. Nichelson will play early on special teams and perhaps even find himself in the LB rotation in his first season. His athleticism could also allow him to follow D.J. Lundy as a situational running back.
- Randy Shannon continues his communication with Colorado commit C.J. Turner, who is actively attempting to set up a visit to Tallahassee. We’ll see if FSU eventually gives him the green light. The defensive staff is also keeping tabs on Virginia Tech commit Caleb Woodson and Virginia commit Kamren Robinson. Both could schedule late-season visits to Tallahassee.
- I’d personally like to see FSU hit the portal for a third linebacker to add to the class. Numerous portal LBs this past cycle have proven integral to their teams, and FSU could use another Tatum Bethune in a bad way.
- To date, the ‘Noles hold commitments from three DBs. Speedster Ja’Bril Rawls also has a case as the most underrated commit, Kenton “K.J.” Kirkland is a versatile prospect with a high ceiling, and Quindarrius Jones is a superb athlete with strong potential.
- FSU is still in the running for two blue-chip DBs in Damari Brown and Shawn Russ. Brown was an official visitor for the Clemson game who is also coveted by Alabama, Clemson, and Miami, while Russ was on campus for the BC game and is set to announce in early November. The coaches are trying to bring Michigan State commit Eddie Pleasant III in for an official after he took in the Clemson game, and the staff also extended JUCO prospect Reggie Akles his first Power 5 offer.
- Based on the past couple cycles, we should expect the staff to target one or two portal DBs this off-season. I would bet on some attrition coming in the DB corps.
- FSU will need to bring in a kicker prospect this cycle, whether from high school or the portal, and a handful of prep kickers have already visited campus this season. I wouldn’t mind seeing FSU add two kickers, one portal and one prep, if the coaches feel they need to flip the position room.
I’m still quite happy with FSU’s current class and you should be, too. As of this writing, the average prospect rating in the 247 Composite is 90.58, which is a low 4-star ranking. Nine of the 16 prep commits are blue-chip prospects (4- or 5-stars).
In my opinion, only two current commitments are shaky (Kearney and Sampson), though of course that could change as the season rolls on. If FSU is able to keep the vast majority of its current commitments in the fold, it can afford to be picky for the remaining high school targets. FSU won’t waste resources whale-hunting unrealistic targets but it will invest in rounding out a strong 2023 prep class that is above the 50% blue-chip ratio.
My guess is that FSU takes anywhere from 3-5 more high school players (depending on decommitments) and fills the rest of its slots with portal players. Depending on attrition, which I expect to be plentiful this off-season, I could see the Seminoles adding anywhere from 26-30 players in this cycle. We’ll have a better idea of that number following the Early Signing Period in December and bowl season, with attrition after 2023 spring ball giving us the final tally of available scholarships.
Faithful readers, I want to hear what you think as well. In the comments, tell me your thoughts on Tribe 23. Who is your favorite commitment? Most underrated? Who do you want to see FSU close with, and which positions should the staff target in the transfer portal?
As always, Tim, Josh, and I greatly appreciate you reading and interacting with us. Check out the latest Official Tribe 23 Recruiting thread for more.