Florida State is in position to sign another Top-3 class, their third in the last five years. The Seminoles currently sit fourth in the Scout.com team recruiting rankings behind Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. If the Seminoles want to jump into the Top-3 they will need some of the big names still on the board to fall, and to hold on to their current commitments. Here is how the NoleDigest Staff predicts Florida State will round out the class.
5-star DE Josh Sweat
5-star WR George Campbell
5-star S Derwin James
4-star WR Da’Vante Phillips
4-star RB Jacques Patrick
4-star S Calvin Brewton
3-star QB De’Andre Johnson
3-star OT Ethan Frith
This is an extremely good group of early enrollees, with at least four players expected to be able to make an early impact as true freshmen (Campbell, James, Phillips, Patrick). These early enrollees put the FSU roster at 67 players, giving them 18 more spots, assuming no offseason attrition (unlikely).
5-star CB Tavarus McFadden
4-star LB Lorenzo Phillips (JUCO)
4-star DT Darvin Taylor
4-star OT Abdul Bello
4-star LB Sh’mar Kirby-Lane
4-star OC David Robbins
3-star TE Jalen Wilkerson
3-star OT Cole Minshew
3-star S Arthur Westbrook
3-star WR Nyquan Murray
3-star LB Brian Bell
That gives Florida State eleven solidly committed recruits in addition to the eight EEs. They will be looking to bring in between 15–18 recruits (not including EEs) this cycle, so at least four spots remain open, though they have space for as many as seven if high-hanging fruit wants in the class.
The Toss Ups
5-star CB Minkah Fitzpatrick:
Fitzpatrick is a current Alabama commit that Florida State has made a major push for lately.
Wayne’s Pick: FSU (51%)
Alabama has a ridiculous secondary class coming in and it could push Fitzpatrick to Florida State. A big factor is that Fitzpatrick is from New Jersey so it's just a matter of where he feels the most comfortable. Rico McGraws recent decommitment from the Tide could hurt the Noles here.
If not FSU then: Alabama
Jason’s Pick: Alabama (60%)
Recruiting rule: Don't count on a kid to flip if he hasn't decommitted this late in the process, especially if he’s from out of state. FSU isn't out of it, but the historical percentages are not in FSU's favor here.
If not Alabama then: FSU (40%)
4-star DE Terry Beckner Jr.:
Wayne’s Pick: FSU (55%)
Florida State is doing everything they can to bring Beckner into this class, and so far it seems to be working. The home state Missouri Tigers will get last crack at Beckner this weekend, and things could change.
If not FSU then: Missouri (40%) or Ohio State (5%)
Jason’s Pick: FSU (60%)
Beckner has been in the class since his visit, but FSU still has to hang on against a strong run from the home team, who wouldn’t even be in consideration if distance weren’t a factor. Beckner would be an ideal fit in FSU's defense at the 5/3 technique, and FSU has made it clear how much they want him.
If not FSU then: Missouri (30%)
4-star QB Deondre Francois:
Francois is currently committed to Florida State, but Florida has made a strong push since Jim McElwain took over.
Wayne’s Pick: FSU (55%)
Francois has been committed to Florida State, but recently took an official visit to Florida. A lot of drama from Francois on twitter as he tweeted that he decommitted from FSU twice and then deleted the tweets. He tweeted out that he his twitter account was hacked and that he remains committed to FSU, but that’s a lot of smoke for no fire. Florida State is holding on for dear life, but they’re still holding on.
If not FSU then: UF (45%)
Jason’s Pick: FSU (60%)
I know his Twitter account was supposedly hacked, but there’s too much smoke for FSU to feel secure here. He could play earlier at UF, but FSU offers a better scenario for him to succeed if he wins the job.
If not FSU then: UF (40%)
4-star DE Shelton Johnson:
Johnson is currently uncommitted and looking at Florida State and Miami.
Wayne’s Pick: FSU (85%)
A solid pass rusher that Florida State desperately needs, Johnson is likely going to be in this class. Florida State will have to hold off Miami who has made Johnson a priority.
If not FSU then: UM
Jason’s Pick: FSU (70%)
Another good fit for FSU's defense with his length on the edge. Should be in the class, but Miami has made a solid run at him.
If not FSU then: UM (30%)
4-star WR Auden Tate:
Tate is currently committed to Florida State, but Jim Harbaugh and Michigan have put the pressure on.
Wayne’s Pick: FSU (95%)
This would be a much closer battle if Tate hadn't taken his Michigan official visit prior to the Harbaugh hire. In the end Florida State is the choice.
If not FSU then: Michigan
Jason’s Pick: FSU (90%)
Tate has thought about UF and Michigan after the coaching changes, but I think he stays solid to FSU and offers another big vertical threat to an offense that lacked that in 2014.
If not FSU then: Michigan (7%)
4-star RB Jordan Scarlett:
Scarlett is currently committed to Miami, but Florida State has turned up the heat on his recruitment. Florida Is also heavily in the mix.
Wayne’s Pick: Miami (40%)
This one is going to come down to the wire with Miami edging out Florida State and Florida. Florida State could jump into the drivers seat with a great official visit.
If not UM then: FSU (30%) or Florida (30%)
Jason’s Pick: Miami (50%)
Scarlett should have been in this class, but Miami recruited him harder earlier in the process, and FSU will have to pull out the stops on his visit this weekend. FSU still could land him, but I'm betting on Miami right now.
If not UM then: FSU (40%)
4-star CB Davante Davis:
Wayne’s Pick: Texas (65%)
Florida State was thought to be the leader for Davis for a while before he picked Texas initially. Now that Davis has opened the door slightly the Seminoles could be getting back into it. In the end i believe he sticks with his Texas commitment.
If not Texas then: FSU (35%)
Jason’s Pick: Texas (85%)
Same recruiting rule as Fitzpatrick, though Davis is from Florida, could help a little. Don't think it's enough, and he's not as much of a priority as Fitzpatrick anyway.
If not Texas then: FSU (15%)
3-star QB Kai Locksley:
Locksley has been committed to Florida State, but Texas has made him think twice.
Wayne’s Pick: Texas (51%)
Texas is going to get the last word with Locksley and he really enjoyed his Texas visit. In the end i think he flips unless Texas is able to flip 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray from Texas A&M.
If not UT then: FSU (49%)
Jason’s Pick: Texas (51%)
Locksley really wants to play QB, and Texas has made him a priority at that position while FSU has two other recruits at that position if Francois sticks. He is reminiscent of former FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel athletically, but he’s more natural as a passer than Manuel was coming out of school. If Francois stays in the class, there’s a good chance he flips to Texas unless Texas flips Kyler Murray.
If not UT then: FSU (49%)
5-star DE Byron Cowart:
Cowart is currently uncommitted and considering Auburnand Florida.
Wayne’s Pick: Auburn (75%)
Armwood. I don't think this happens, but there's always the Antone Smith chance.
If not Auburn then: UF (24%) or FSU (1%)
Jason’s Pick: Auburn (70%)
Nope. Armwood. Chance he winds up at UF, but I'm betting on Auburn here.
If not Auburn then: UF (30%)
5-star CB Iman Marshall:
Marshall has been a longtime Southern Cal lean, but Florida State has made a serious run at him.
Wayne’s Pick: USC (85%)
This was always going to be a tough pull, and in the end the lure of the Southern Cal program is too much. Florida State has only pulled one recruit from California since Jimbo Fisher came on staff and he transferred after two years.
If not USC then: FSU (15%)
Jason’s Pick: USC (75%)
FSU has a puncher's chance with a kid who isn’t a typical recruit, but it's really difficult to pull a kid USC wants from their back yard. Bet on the home team, but don’t be surprised if FSU lands him, either.
If not USC then: FSU (25%)