The Daily Nole

FSU Commitment Analysis: Robert Cooper and Asante Samuel, Jr.

Phil Kelly/FSU athletics

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart and his newly-completed staff are doing all they can to ensure that the Seminoles finish strong on the recruiting trail.

Since being named head coach last month, Taggart has landed four new prospects, including three blue-chippers, according to the 247Sports Composite. Taggart also deserves credit for being able to sign five of the commitments he inherited.

In this piece, we’ll examine a couple of 4-star prospects in defensive tackle Robert Cooper and cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr.:

Robert Cooper, DT

The first player to sign with FSU during the early period last month, Robert Cooper is a load at 6-foot-2 and nearly 380 pounds. The massive prospect from Snellville, Georgia is listed as a top 100 prospect, according to the composite, and the fifth best defensive tackle in the country.

What he brings: Robert Cooper is a relentless player who gets into the backfield with relatively little resistance. Cooper is incredibly strong, so much so that his muscle is visible in his arms despite his 380-pound frame. Despite being so big, Cooper moves extremely well, especially laterally.

One thing that is also noticeable from watching the film on Cooper is how well he uses his arms to shed blockers and make plays. He’s not content just to rely on his girth. When he gets hold of the ball-carrier, even a small portion of him, he usually goes down. Cooper also does a nice job of getting leverage instead of relying on just using his brute strength to get by overmatched blockers.

How he fits: Unfortunately for Cooper, the defensive tackle spot may be one of the deepest for FSU in 2018. Demarcus Christmas and Marvin Wilson will likely be the starters, but Cooper could work his way on to the field. Expect defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins to use a lot of bodies and that could include Cooper.

Wally Aime and Fred Jones will almost certainly provide depth, but aside from those two and Arthur Williams, the number of established contributors is few. Cooper will be competing with the likes of Ja’len Parks, Cory Durden, Darvin Taylor and Cedric Wood. If Cooper is utilized, expect it to come largely in situations where the opposing offenses are expected to run.

Asante Samuel, Jr., CB

Like Cooper, Asante Samuel Jr. has signed his letter of intent to play at Florida State despite a late push from Miami. Listed at 5-10 and about 165 pounds, the St. Thomas Aquinas product is regarded by the composite as the No. 56 overall prospect. He’s also a top 10 prospect at cornerback and from the state of Florida.

What he brings: The son of 4-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel, it’s no surprise that Samuel has a high football IQ. The thing that may stand out about him most is his ball skills as he rarely panics when the ball is in the air, breaks on throws in his direction and has very good closing speed.

Despite his small stature, Samuel is aggressive, physical and unafraid to tackle. He’s scrappy and a very good athlete. If there is a knock on Samuel, it’s that he sometimes fails to wrap up when tackling, electing instead to go for the kill shot.

Samuel is not afraid to challenge bigger receivers and did a great job at the high school level, but could be tested more at the FBS level. An extra 10 or 15 pounds of bulk would serve him well.

How he fits: Like Cooper, Samuel will try to feel his way into the lineup at a position where the Seminoles are deep. The good news is that FSU has traditionally played a lot of bodies in the secondary, although that was prior to Harlon Barnett taking over as defensive coordinator.

The starters for FSU in 2018 are expected to be Levonta Taylor and Stanford Samuels III. Carlos Becker and Kyle Meyers are two experienced players who should provide depth, but Samuel’s biggest competition for reps look to come from his 2018 classmates in Anthony Lytton and Isaiah Bolden. Unless either of those players or redshirt freshman Ontaria Wilson significantly outplay Samuel, it’s hard to envision him being redshirted in 2018.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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