Florida State defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri is leaving the Seminoles to join the Oakland Raiders' coaching staff after coaching the last two seasons in Tallahassee. Sunseri came to FSU from Tennessee, where he had been the defensive coordinator under head coach Derek Dooley, and the Seminoles had been able to hire Sunseri for a bargain price because of his prior Tennessee contract, which ran through the 2014 season.
Sunseri was a major factor on the defensive staff the past two seasons. His experience coaching within a Nick Saban style defense was a major asset as FSU has had younger and less experienced defensive coordinators (Jeremy Pruitt and Charles Kelly) in each of the past two seasons. Florida State was 27–1 in Sunseri's tenure.
From a recruiting perspective, Sunseri's biggest target is already on campus: five-star defensive end Josh Sweat. He was also a key recruiter for several other targets: FSU commit QB Kai Locksley, DE Byron Cowart (who finally dropped FSU from his short list this week), DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, and DE Shelton Johnson. We do not anticipate that his loss will significantly impact FSU's chances with any of these recruits.
With Sunseri's departure coming two weeks before National Signing Day, it is unclear whether FSU will move quickly to hire his replacement or wait until after signing day.
It is also not immediately clear whether FSU will replace Sunseri with another defensive ends/OLB coach (such as Army's Ray McCartney) or reshuffle its defensive staff, perhaps moving LB coach Bill Miller to Sunseri's old spot, Kelly back to linebackers, and bringing in a defensive backs coach like Corey Raymond (LSU) or Terrell Buckley (Louisville). Given Jimbo Fisher's history of hiring assistants, don't be surprised to see an unexpected name surface, either.