FSU coach Willie Taggart spoke about the early signing period class.
Wayne McGahee III, Tallahassee Democrat
Florida State entered this recruiting cycle with needs across the board, but three position groups stood out as needing the most help.
Offensive line, linebacker, and defensive backs.
“I think we all know offensive line-wise we needed to fill some holes there,” FSU coach Willie Taggart said.
“And I thought we did a good job so far. And again we’re not finished from that standpoint. I thought linebacker was another area to where we needed to add on to our depth and we signed three guys today and could improve on that as well.
“(The secondary) was an area that we wanted to improve on and, like I said, add to it. Not only add to it, add to some really good football players.”
The Seminoles signed 14 prospects on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday. The offensive line, linebacker, and defensive back prospects took up nine of those spots.
FSU’s biggest miss was at quarterback, where four-star prospect and long-time commitment Sam Howell of Monroe, North Carolina, signed with the home state Tar Heels.
Taggart’s focus, however, was on his three position groups that struggled last season due to injuries and depth issues. The offensive line and linebacker groups also lacked the talent needed to compete at a power program such as FSU.
FSU signed four-star guard Dontae Lucas, three-star JUCO offensive tackle Jay Williams, and three-star guard Maurice Smith on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday.
The Seminoles aren’t done recruiting on the offensive line with those three though.
They’re expected to get good news Thursday with the addition of four-star guard Will Putnam, and will likely add at least two more offensive linemen in February.
Lucas, Williams, and Putnam are early enrollees and all three could make an early impact next season, which is exactly what FSU was looking for.
“I think we all understand how important the offensive line is for us,” Taggart said.
“We all understand that. And that’s going to always be a priority for us. Not just this class but every class that we have moving forward that we recruit. Not only just offensive line, but the offensive linemen that help us win ball games.”
The Seminoles signed three linebackers Wednesday and could look to add a fourth in February.
Four-stars Jaleel McRae and Kalen DeLoach and three-star Kevon Glenn are all very talented players that could come in and immediately compete for playing time.
McRae is a field general that has great football instincts, DeLoach is quick and athletic, and Glenn is an old-school, hard-hitting linebacker.
All three were highly coveted prospects that saw an opportunity at FSU.
“Going through the season and going up against the teams we’re going against, you see how important it is to have linebackers that can run, that are physical and athletic, because they’re going to be put in position where they’re going to have to use those athletic abilities,” Taggart said.
“But they all are great guys, smart guys and tough guys. And I’m looking forward to them coming here and compete and try to earn themselves a spot.”
There’s not a better defensive back class in the country than the one FSU has committed and signed.
Four-star safety Raymond Woodie III and three-star cornerbacks Malcolm Green and Jarvis Brownlee signed with the Seminoles Wednesday.
Five-star cornerback Akeem Dent could sign this week as well or he could wait and sign along with four-star cornerback Travis Jay and four-star safeties Brendan Gant and Nick Cross.
Green and Brownlee are both smaller corners, but play bigger than their size. Woodie could play either corner or safety with his quickness and athletic ability, or he could put on 15 pounds and play linebacker.
“I think all those young men that we signed and gonna sign is going to help us going through our conference and our opponents that we’re going to have to play against,” Taggart said.
“They’re all very talented. And I think we all understand, in college football nowadays, you better be talented, especially on the back end… I like the guys we have and look forward to signing the guys we’re going to sign moving forward to help us get there.”
The early signing period hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the Seminoles
Quarterback was also a position of need and FSU lost Howell to North Carolina. Howell had been committed to FSU since April, but former offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s departure hurt the Seminoles’ chances.
FSU also lost four-star defensive tackle commitment Derick Hunter to Texas A&M.
Still, FSU’s early signing class has a number of talented prospects that can help the program moving forward.
“Today is a good day for the Noles, as we continue to build a football program, got some great young men coming into our program that we’re really excited about,” Taggart said.
“We feel like we addressed some needs that we needed in our program.”