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How next class might line up defensively
Earlier in the week, we gave our first projection for how Florida State’s 2018 recruiting class will look on National Signing Day on the offensive side the of the ball.
Now, it’s time to take a look at how things could play out on defense, where the Seminoles currently have 11 commitments.
There are a couple of those 11 pledges who are still being heavily courted by other programs and could be threats to flip elsewhere later in the process.
For now, we’ll make projections on how things stand at this moment.
Where could additions be made? Let’s look at which targets could end up in the class and project how things may shake out.
Defensive tackle (1): 4-star Robert Cooper (Snellville, Ga.)
We kick things off with one of the aforementioned players you can put on flip watch. Robert Cooper visited Georgia last week and has plans to visit Alabama at some point later in the year.
South Gwinnett 4-star DT Robert Cooper did make it to UGA today. He can bench press 225 about 33 -35 times. pic.twitter.com/VI0vi6AArb
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) October 14, 2017
He’s been committed to the Seminoles since June 2016, but the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs have not given up on him and both appear to be giving him something to think about with respect to his commitment.
He has yet to make it to Tallahassee this season, but it’s likely that Florida State will get an official visit at some point in the next few weeks or months.
This recruitment will likely go down to the wire, with the Seminoles hoping that the relationship they’ve built with Cooper throughout the course of his recruitment helps them win out for his services in the end.
His projection is to stay in the class at this time, but this recruitment will be one to watch moving forward.
Defensive end (4): 3-star Dennis Briggs (Kissimmee, Fla.), 3-star Patrick Joyner (Homestead, Fla.), 3-star Stacy Kirby (Orlando, Fla.), 3-star Chaz Neal (Zephyrhills, Fla.)
Stacy Kirby and Chaz Neal have both been firm commits, but the Seminoles have work to do seal up Patrick Joyner’s pledge.
That work begins with an official visit this weekend.
Florida State beat out Miami for Joyner in April, but the Hurricanes offered the South Florida pass rusher in May and have gotten him on campus three times since the beginning of September.
The news coming out of Joyner’s visit this weekend could provide some clues as to which direction his recruitment turns. For now, we will leave him in the class. Another note on Joyner is that he could actually end up playing outside linebacker in Tallahassee, but the Seminoles have to shore up his commitment first and figure out his position later.
The addition I’ve projected is another battle that has been brewing between the Seminoles and the Hurricanes over Dennis Briggs.
Briggs has been a frequent visitor to Tallahassee this year and his decision may come down to his preference of position. Miami likes him as an interior lineman while Florida State wants him on the edge.
This is a toss-up that I have Florida State winning out in the end — although it is far from a certainty and simply a projection at this point.
Outside linebacker (2): 3-star Amari Gainer (Tallahassee, Fla.), 4-star Quay Walker (Cordele, Ga.)
Amari Gainer is a Tallahassee product who has been one of the Seminoles most vocal recruiters in the 2018 cycle, so his presence is a stabilizing force in this group.
The Seminoles are still recruiting 4-star linebackers Channing Tindall and Quay Walker — who is currently committed to Alabama.
Despite being committed to the Crimson Tide, Walker has been on the Seminoles campus twice since August—with his most recent visit coming for the Seminoles game against Miami. Auburn, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are among the other schools still recruiting Walker. Nothing is imminent with Walker backing out of his commitment, but distance and need are a couple of factors that could help the Seminoles win out in the end.
Tindall has Florida, Georgia and South Carolina also among his lead group of suitors with the hometown Gamecocks being the heavy favorites to land him when all is said and done. Florida State hopes to get him on campus before a decision is made.
Florida State wants to add another linebacker to this group, but at this moment, it’s not certain that will be the case. Projecting Walker is a gamble of Florida State landing a late flip at a position of need, but there’s a lot to shake out here down the stretch.
Inside linebacker (1): 3-star Rosendo Louis (Deerfield Beach, Fla.)
Getting Rosendo Louis’ commitment in August was a big deal because it takes the pressure off the staff in case the linebacker class ends up with just Gainer and Louis.
Louis is a prototypical thumper in the middle who is the perfect complement to Gainer (and Joyner should he line up at linebacker and assuming he ends up in this class).
The staff is active with one other inside linebacker: 4-star Dax Hollifield. The Shelby (N.C.) native took an official visit to Florida State last month for the Seminoles loss to N.C. State.
North Carolina, South Carolina, Stanford and Virginia Tech are among the other schools in the mix with Hollifield also.
At this time, I believe the Tar Heels hold the inside track to keep Hollifield in-state.
Corner (3): 4-star Houston Griffith (Bradenton, Fla.), 4-star Anthony Lytton, 4-star Asante Samuel Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
After Houston Griffith committed earlier this month, it gave the Seminoles a trio of corner pledges who all rate among the Top 100 overall prospects in the country.
Anthony Lytton and Asante Samuel both appear to be firm in their pledges, and it’s conceivable that Florida State’s class could be done with these three commits.
Joseph was a long time pledge to LSU who took an official visit to Florida State for the Miami game after opening up his recruitment earlier that week. The Seminoles are now among his top 3 schools with Alabama and LSU. I still expect the 2 SEC programs to battle it out for his services in the end.
Surtain and Campbell are more interesting and their recruitments could have more twists and turns. LSU has long been the presumed leader with Surtain with Florida State right behind the Tigers. However, the other teams in his top 6 — Alabama, Clemson, Florida and Ohio State — may have a greater shot to make a move in the coming weeks and months.
Campbell appears to be a long shot for Florida State altogether, as schools such as Alabama, Georgia, Miami and Ohio State appear to be the main schools in the mix for him at this time.
Safety (2): 3-star John Huggins (Daytona Beach, Fla.), 3-star Israel Mukuamu (Bossier City, La.)
The Seminoles safety class appears to be set with John Huggins and Israel Mukuamu.
Both players are still taking visits, but at this time, I would expect both players to stick with their initial pledges.
The Seminoles might bring in a player such as 3-star Joseph Foucha for a visit, but unless a defection happens with either Huggins or Mukuamu, I’d be surprised to see a third safety end up in this class.
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