Florida State's 2016 Big Board: Defense

Florida State is in position to make a run at the No. 1 recruiting class in 2016

Florida State signed another excellent class on Wednesday, but the coaches have already turned their efforts to the 2016 class and so shall we. As of right now, FSU will have at least 17 scholarships available before attrition next season, but we expect the class to have a full 25 available after attrition.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher indicated that he held some scholarships back in 2015 for the 2016 class, but would like to have even more considering the amount of elite talent interested in FSU in this class.

"We don't have large numbers next year," Fisher said. "We don't have a lot of seniors. We’re based on whether juniors come out. So I'd rather hold those scholarships and have another great class next year."

Florida State is in great position to start the season with seven juniors currently committed, five on the defensive side of the ball. While this list will change, here is the list of 2016 defensive recruits that Florida State fans should know. We will keep it updated throughout the year.

Defensive End

Seniors: None

Needs: 3

Although they have sufficient numbers for 2015, FSU has a big need at this position in 2016. Luckily for the Seminoles, there are quite a few elite defensive ends with FSU high on their boards.



Robinson is a freak athlete and projects as an elite edge rusher. Brown is a hybrid defensive end and linebacker and can play either at the next level. After his latest visit to Tallahassee he classified his commitment to Florida State as solid and was doing some recruiting for the Seminoles. Thomas is arguably the best defensive lineman in Miami. having recorded 20 sacks and 28 tackles for loss last season.

On the Board:



Shavar Manuel is ranked as the No. 3 overall recruit in 2016 by Scout and he has transferred to IMG Academy for his senior year, where he will be surrounded by FSU commitments. Woods is a very interesting prospect that has the frame to be a defensive tackle at the next level. Kelly is an elite national prospect that has taken a visit to Florida State and will return for a game this fall.

Defensive Tackle

Seniors: 3

Needs: 2-3

FSU is loaded on the defensive line for the next couple years but will need to replace several outgoing bodies after 2015.


The Noles already have one of the best defensive tackles in the country committed in Cedrick Wood. The local prospect has been committed to Florida State for nearly a year at this point, and his commitment is firm.

On the Board:

Dexter Lawrence is at the top of the board for FSU and has high interest in the Seminoles thanks to new defensive ends coach Brad Lawing. During the 2014 season Rochester named a top two of Auburn and Florida State, but Georgia has surged to the front. Florida State needs him to get back on campus this summer.. Camp is an interesting prospect that is getting a major bump in the rankings soon. He attended the Junior Day at Florida State and was the best interior defensive lineman at the Orlando Nike Camp. He will need a great Jimbo Fisher Camp to earn an offer.


Seniors: 2

Needs: 4

With two seniors departing, the departures of E.J. Levenberry and Kain Daub, and Matthew Thomas possessing the talent to leave early, FSU needs three at minimum and will aim to sign four here.


Rice is a relative unknown at this point, but his film is very good, and it says a lot about his ability that Florida State staff felt good enough about him to take him a year early. He reminds us of Telvin or Terrance Smith, as he brings very good length and natural coverage ability to the linebacker position while still playing with a nasty edge, and we expect him to climb in the rankings as a senior.

Horton is another Miami kid, but needed some time at a JUCO to develop. This take is a bit interesting given the timing, but Florida State has a major need at linebacker and he can come in and contribute immediately.

Couch is a freak athlete and is the type of long, rangy prospect that Florida State covets. He can play on either side of the ball, but projects as a linebacker in Tallahassee, where he might be the most athletic prospect at that position since Lawrence Timmons.

On the Board:

Joyner is the big out of state fish at this position and is currently rated as the No. 3 outside linebacker prospect in the country, possessing excellent length and speed, though less fluid than someone like Couch. Joyner will be an extremely tough pull, but Jay Graham has been on him for quite awhile. He also has a relationship with new Seminole defensive ends coach Brad Lawing, who recruited him at Florida. Florida State has seen a number of out of state linebacker offers come through recently and that includes the last two on the list. Lamar has plans to visit Florida State.


Seniors: 3

Needs: 3-4 (at least 2 CBs)

Florida State brought in a large safety class in 2015 but has signed only three corners the last two cycles, so that will be the priority in the secondary for the Seminoles in 2016.


Cook is an extremely long prospect and projects at the Star position in the FSU defense. He's a versatile athlete who will be able to line up all over the field and is one of the top safety prospects in the country.

Levonta Taylor is one of the best athletes in the country with explosive speed and suddenness and plays with an edge. Florida State doesn't take corners under 6-foot unless they can absolutely ball, which says all you need to know about Taylor, who reminds us of a more explosive Greg Reid or a bigger Tyrann Matthieu.

Meyers picked up an offer at camp and it've very easy to see why. He has the size at 6-foot and the athleticism to play major college football.

On the Board:

Florida State already has one elite corner in this class as well as another very good one. They will be looking for another from this group. Trayvon Mullen is at the top of the CB board along with Nigel Knott and Saivion Smith. Knott visited Florida State for the June Jimbo Fisher Camp and was outstanding. The staff is all in on him and so are we.

Florida State is also very interested in Chauncey Gardner who had the Seminoles in his Top-3 before he committed to Florida. Jayvaughn Myers is an interesting prospect as he has good size and is very athletic, but very raw. He's the half brother of 5-star receiver Nate Craig. Carlos Becker is another interesting corner prospect. At 6-foot-3 he has the size that Florida State covets, but is still very raw in his technique.

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