Loaded visit weekend has recruits buzzing about Florida State

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It’s safe to say that new Florida State coach Willie Taggart has recruits interested in the future of where the Seminoles program is headed under his direction.

This weekend, the first big visit weekend of his tenure in Tallahassee, was proof of this theory being true as 12 official visitors made their way to Florida State’s campus.

The list was originally supposed to be half as big, but Taggart was able to work his magic and get a number of talented prospects — including 4 of the nation’s top 50 overall prospects in the 2018 cycle — to check out the Seminoles in the final weekend before the early signing period begins.

Let’s take a look at each visitor and break them down into the following categories: solid commits, good bets to sign with FSU, up in the air and long shots.

Solid commitments

3-star Warner Robins [Ga.] OT Christian Armstrong

Armstrong committed to Florida State in the summer and hasn’t wavered through the coaching transition from Jimbo Fisher to Taggart. He is set to sign this week and enroll at Florida State next month.

4-star Snellville [Ga.] South Gwinnett DT Robert Cooper

Cooper committed to Florida State in the summer of 2016, but had schools such as Alabama and Georgia pursue him over the last few months. However, he seemingly shut his recruitment down when Taggart was hired and did his in-home visit with he and his family. The fact that he scheduled his official visit soon after is another he sign he’s locked in with the Seminoles. On that note, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if he signs early this week effectively ending his recruitment.

4-star Fort Lauderdale [Ga.] St. Thomas Aquinas CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Samuel has been committed to Florida State since April. However, schools such as Miami, Ohio State and South Carolina have not given up on him and continue to recruit him. He took an official visit to see the Gamecocks and an unofficial to see the Hurricanes. He could see the Buckeyes in January. That is if this weekend’s visit didn’t help him end his recruitment. He could be another player to watch to see if signing early is indeed an option.


Good bets to sign with FSU

4-star Zephryhills [Fla.] Wesley Chapel CB Isaiah Bolden

Bolden was committed to Florida State early in the process before flipping to Oregon. When Taggart arrived in Tallahassee, he reopened his recruitment and scheduled his official visit to see the Seminoles last weekend. According to Chris Nee of Noles247, Bolden will now decide on Friday between Florida State and Oregon. It would be a surprise if he ended up anywhere else other than Tallahassee at this point.

3-star SW Brevard County [Fla.] Rockledge WR Antoine Green

Green committed to Florida State in the summer before backing off his commitment days after Fisher left to take the Texas A&M job. However, after Taggart visited him last week, he was able to get him back on campus over the weekend. The Seminoles have a huge need at receiver and the fact that Green still has the Seminoles on his mind bodes well for their chances of regaining his commitment in the end.

4-star Seffner [Fla.] Armwood DE Malcolm Lamar

Lamar is currently committed to Oregon and has been since August. But as with Green, Florida State’s need at his position and the fact that he has a bond with Taggart has his recruitment trending toward Tallahassee. Lamar has mentioned the possibility of taking a visit to Florida next month. Either way, the Seminoles appear to be in solid shape with Lamar as things currently stand.


3-star Tampa Bay Tech [Fla.] QB Michael Penix

When Penix decommitted from Tennessee, it seemed like the Seminoles had the momentum in his recruitment. He is still considering Indiana and South Florida, but the fact that he showed up in Tallahassee this weekend might be a tell that he’s headed to Florida State. Could the situation with Emory Jones alter things if he elects to also pick the Seminoles? Jones signs roughly 90 minutes earlier than Penix on Wednesday. As of now, I don’t think that’s the case and I expect Penix to select the Seminoles.

4-star Seffner [Fla.] Armwood WR Warren Thompson

This is another case of not if, but when with regards to Thompson committing to FSU. He committed to Taggart at Oregon and decommitted when he left. The Seminoles have a major need at receiver and I expect Thompson to select the Seminoles whenever he makes a final decision.


Up in the air

4-star Miami [Fla.] Central RB James Cook

Everyone knows the connections with Cook and Florida State. The question becomes why did he show up this weekend on an official visit after being solidly committed to Georgia for months? Is it because Taggart hired former Central head coach Telly Lockette as his tight ends coach or does he have legit interest in rejoining the Seminoles class? Maybe it’s a little of both. Either way, if you followed Dalvin Cook’s recruitment, maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise to see a little drama at the very end of his process. Dalvin flipped to FSU at the end of his recruitment. Right now, it’s tough to read James, but there is at least a possibility his process ends the same way. I would lean that he sticks with the Bulldogs as of now.


4-star Franklin [Ga.] Heard County QB Emory Jones

It’s no secret that Florida State has been in the market to add a quarterback, but Jones — who has been committed to Ohio State since last summer — has been linked to other programs such as Alabama, Auburn and Florida. Taggart was able to get him to cut his visit to Gainesville short and make the trip to Tallahassee to see what the Seminoles have to offer. Jones appears to have the perfect skill-set to thrive in Taggart’s offense, but is it realistically possible for him to select Florida State so late in the process with minimal familiarity with the university and the coaching staff? Time will tell if that’s the case, but it’s clear that Jones is looking around and giving other programs a real chance to win him over. Jones could be the biggest wildcard of the signing period with multiple teams feeling as if they have a chance to land him.

4-star Bradenton [Fla.] IMG Academy CB Brendan Radley-Hiles

Radley-Hiles was offered last Sunday, and Taggart was able to get him to cancel a scheduled visit to Florida and head to Tallahassee for the weekend instead. He’s also considering Clemson, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC. The Seminoles put forth their best effort with Radley-Hiles this weekend and seem to have put themselves firmly in the mix for his signature. However, as is with the case with Jones, you have to wonder if one weekend is enough in comparison to the other finalists on his list that have spent longer periods of time recruiting him. He’s another player that multiple schools could feel good about, but right now, I believe the Sooners could have the inside track to land him on Wednesday.


Long shots

5-star Bellflower [Ca.] St. John Bosco S Jaiden Woodbey

Woodbey is also similar to Jones in that he’s been committed to the Buckeyes for a long period of time, but he’s also looking around at schools such as Oklahoma and USC have been active in his recruitment for months. Before he arrived in Tallahassee, he was on USC’s campus for a visit. The Trojans seem to be the safest bet to flip him. Florida State represents Woodbey’s dream school and his childhood favorite. The fact that he was offered within the last week and made the long trek from California shows that he has legit interest in the program. With that said, it would be somewhat of a shock if he elected to leave his home state for FSU within days after being offered.


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