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Florida State of Recruiting: Analyzing the final visit weekend before the Early Signing Period

‘Twas the weekend before ESP…

NCAA Football: Florida at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The middle of December is upon us, which means significant movement in the college football recruiting calendar. The transfer portal “officially” opened on December 5, though dozens of prospects had already made their intentions clear. Following last weekend’s official visits, only one more visiting weekend remains before the Early Signing Period (December 21-23 this year).

Mike Norvell and the Florida State football coaching staff have accumulated 16 commitments from high school prospects along with 4 transfers, former Penn State running back Caziah Holmes, former Miami (FL) defensive tackle Darrell Jackson, former South Carolina transfer tight end Jaheim Bell, and Division II All-American tight end Kyle Morlock.

The Three Stars are here to tell you what to watch for on FSU’s final official visit weekend before the Early Signing Period. We will keep the list of expected official visitors for the weekend running as we get updates and are able to share.

December 16-18 expected visitors

  • 5-star WR Hykeem Williams (FSU commit)
  • 4-star DT Keith Sampson Jr. (FSU commit)
  • 4-star DE Lamont “Boots” Green Jr. (FSU commit)
  • 4-star WR Vandrevius Jacobs (FSU commit)
  • 3-star DB Ja’Bril Rawls (FSU commit)
  • 3-star DB Kenton Kirkland (FSU commit)
  • Transfer portal DT commit Darrell Jackson (Miami Hurricanes)
  • 4-star WR Andy Jean (Florida Gators commit): That Jean is officially visiting FSU this weekend is a testament to persistence from the coaches. Some were skeptical of Jean’s unofficial visit for the Seminoles’ victory over the Gators, but he showed up again the day after to spend time with the staff. That parlayed into this weekend’s OV, where the Seminoles will try to strengthen their class while hurting UF’s. Jean is a polished deep threat with strong route-running skills who I feel is definitely a take if he wants in, but would he take the spot of a current commit, or would FSU take four prep WRs? It’s worth monitoring.
  • 3-star OL Christopher Otto: Otto has long been in communication with FSU OC/OL coach Alex Atkins, as Atkins loves his versatility, high football IQ, and demeanor. Otto won’t be the highest-rated player along the line, nor will he likely have the highest NFL-upside. However, Otto has the tools that many OL coaches covet in prep prospects- a good frame that is more lean than bad weight (6’5”, 290 pounds), versatility to play well on both sides of the trenches (Otto shows good ability to shed blocks when playing defense), ability to finish his blocks and get to the second level, very coachable, and even a background as an accomplished wrestler in high school. Otto has previously visited the Princeton Tigers, Stanford Cardinal, and Syracuse Orange. If FSU pushes for him, he’ll be a Seminole.
  • Transfer DT Braden Fiske (Western Michigan Broncos): Fiske is piling up major offers as the most popular defensive tackle in the transfer portal, and for good reason. At 6’5, 300 pounds, he’s a proven run-stuffer who can also get to the quarterback in a hurry. Fiske has career totals of nearly 150 tackles to go along with 100 QB pressures (yes, 100!), 27.5 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks. He’s a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility remaining. He has a relationship with FSU TE Wyatt Rector from when the two were roommates at WMU, which helped facilitate Fiske’s initial interest in FSU. Notre Dame, who officially hosted Fiske on December 2 and is much closer to his hometown, should be considered the favorite to land him right now. FSU will have to hit a home run, and maybe then some, to earn his commitment.
  • Transfer OL Casey Roddick (Colorado Buffaloes): Roddick caused a stir a week or so ago when he’d marked Tallahassee as his location on social media. While that soon disappeared, Roddick will appear on campus this weekend following last weekend’s official visit to the NC State Wolfpack. The 6’4”, 310 pound Roddick spent five years with the Colorado program, redshirting his first season before earning 26 starts and seeing time in 38 total games over the next four seasons, primarily playing offensive guard. In early 2021, Roddick tested positive for COVID-19, which led to a diagnosis of myocarditis. Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart wall, and has been found as a cause of death for athletes who were otherwise healthy. Roddick overcame his health scare and was named a team captain in 2022. He is a remarkable man and would be a welcome addition to the Tribe.
  • Transfer OL Keiondre Jones (Auburn Tigers): Jones is, quite simply, a mass of humanity. The 6’4”, 340 pound lineman has already visited the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Pittsburgh Panthers, and the UCF Knights. Florida State will get the last crack at the former Tiger this weekend. Jones had two strong seasons as a starter on the Auburn offensive line in 2020 and 2021 before having a rough 2022 campaign that saw him relegated to being a backup. There could be numerous reasons for this as Auburn’s 2022 season was... complicated, to say the least. If anything, it would be fascinating to see what Alex Atkins and Josh Storms could do with Jones, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining as a grad transfer. If Storms can help Jones reshape his body and Atkins can sharpen Jones’ technique and instill more confidence, the results could be, ahem, massive.
  • Transfer CB Fentrell Cypress (Virginia Cavaliers): I’m not going to sugarcoat this. Cypress is, in my humble opinion, the most important transfer portal prospect this cycle for FSU. That the Seminoles coaching staff was able to get Cypress to Tallahassee this weekend is a big feat in itself, with DC Adam Fuller leading the charge. Cypress is wanted by many schools like the Ohio State Buckeyes, Tennessee Volunteers, and Ole Miss Rebels, and previously took a visit to the UCLA Bruins. “Deuce” was a second-team All-ACC selection this past fall and led the ACC with 14 pass break-ups. He is a plug-and-play starter at corner and can be trusted on an island. He is likely viewing next season as a “money year” and is among the top defenders in the ACC. This would be a crucial addition to a defensive back room that needs leadership, production, and consistency.

Notable names not visiting

  • 3-star WR Darren “Goldie” Lawrence (FSU commit): Hmmmmm. Lawrence was scheduled to visit this weekend but that is now off, supposedly due to school commitments. This is one to monitor, especially with FSU hosting another talented WR in Jean this weekend. It may turn out to be nothing but Lawrence is a name we’ve been watching as someone who may be nudged elsewhere. It also depends on how many high school wide receivers FSU wants in this class. Stay tuned.
  • 4-star JUCO OL Keyshawn Blackstock: It looks like Blackstock has decided to focus on other programs where he is essentially guaranteed a starting spot, which might not be the case at FSU. That Blackstock, the top interior JUCO lineman with nearly 50 offers, was originally scheduled to visit this weekend and has now cancelled speaks much more to the transformation of the OL corps than anything FSU may have done wrong.

We’ll be sure to update this list if/when changes occur. Get caught up on the latest Florida State Seminoles football recruiting news and pick the brains of our recruiting staff in our official FSU recruiting thread.