Florida State recruiting mailbag: Can Willie Taggart find coast-to-coast products the way Jimbo Fisher did?

Have Florida State football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. You can tweet @Sanjay Kirpalani or @NolesDieHards with your questions. Join us every Friday for the Florida State DieHards recruiting mailbag to discuss Seminoles recruiting. This week, we discuss Florida State’s geographic approach to recruiting, the must-get recruit of 2019 and which coaches will help recruiting efforts in South Florida the most.

First up this week, Jeff Burrow asks whether Willie Taggart and his staff will continue to focus their efforts nationally on the recruiting trail.

Jeff, first let’s clear something up on the 2018 cycle. Sixteen of the 21 signees came from Florida and Georgia; two came from California; and Maryland, Ohio and Washington had one each.

I believe Taggart simply recruited the players he had the best chance of landing because of the relationships he had built with prospects at his previous stops, most notably Oregon.

As for the 2019 class and beyond, I expect Taggart’s strategy to be to find the best available talent — but with an early focus on building the roster with Florida standouts. After all, that’s how Bobby Bowden built the program in the first place. A close look at Jimbo Fisher’s early classes will show important wins for in-state mega recruits such as Lamarcus Joyner, James Wilder Jr. and Timmy Jernigan among others.

As they both filled out the roster with home-grown blue chips, they eventually branched out and found success in territories scattered around the nation. After all, Florida State is a national brand, as Taggart has already proved in his short time in Tallahassee.

I expect Taggart to follow a similar blueprint and emphasize landing Sunshine State talent in his first few cycles.

Next, Glenn Rainey asks who is the singular make-or-break recruit in the 2019 cycle.

Glenn, I’m going to cheat a little bit and say simply a quarterback. Any quarterback.

Before I answer the question fully, however, let me explain.

It’s no secret that top-rated classes often have a ringleader, but those classes that are truly special usually have a highly rated quarterback at the top.

The Seminoles did not sign a quarterback in the 2018 cycle and have only three passers on scholarship entering the 2018 season. Signing two quarterbacks in 2019 is probable for Florida State, in fact.

Now, I know you were looking for a name. So I’ll go with the first 2019 passer Taggart offered: 4-star San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon quarterback Jayden Daniels. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound passer rates as the nation’s No. 5 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 260 player overall in the 2019 cycle, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

According to MaxPreps, Daniels threw for 5,139 yards with 62 touchdowns and 5 interceptions as a junior. He added another 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground.

Daniels appears to be a great fit for Taggart’s wide-open, up-tempo attack. While landing him from California might seem like a long shot, the Seminoles did get two players from there in the 2018 cycle. Considering the depth chart and his fit in the offense, the Seminoles’ chances could improve if they are able to get him on campus in the spring.

Finally, Robert Milsap asks about which coaches on Florida State’s staff can help the Seminoles recruit successfully in talent-laden South Florida.

Taggart has assembled a strong staff of recruiters who are capable of recruiting all over the country. There are a couple of them, specifically, who could fit the bill of handling the biggest recruiting hotbed in the nation.

Linebackers coach Raymond Woodie, who has been with Taggart at each of his coaching stops, is a Florida native who was a high school head coach for 13 seasons in the Bradenton area. Additionally, he had success recruiting in Dade and Broward counties when he was at South Florida. Those experiences should help him be a factor now that he’s with the Seminoles.

But Florida State’s biggest asset in South Florida will be tight ends coach Telly Lockette. He was a highly successful prep coach at Miami Central High School, where he coached former Seminoles stars such as Devonta Freeman and Dalvin Cook. Prior to that coaching stop, he was the offensive coordinator at Miami Northwestern High School.

That experience and his ties in the area should give him a ton of clout with prep coaches, players and parents in the future for Florida State.

The post Florida State recruiting mailbag: Can Willie Taggart find coast-to-coast products the way Jimbo Fisher did? appeared first on Diehards.

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