The Daily Nole

Biggest National Signing Day Takeaways for FSU

Clint Eiland/The Daily Nole

Now that all 21 commits of the 2018 class are set, it’s pretty clear how strong Florida State finished in the 2018 recruiting cycle. The Seminoles addressed almost every need and continued to stack talent at crucial positions. Transition classes are difficult to judge, but first-year head coach Willie Taggart left no doubt about his prowess on the trail.

This 2018 class answered some key questions about the team and brought forth new realities for the 2019 cycle. In continuing our coverage of Florida State recruiting, we’ve come up with the biggest takeaways that fans need to know about this year’s class. Some good, some are questionable, but they’re essential for discussion from here on out.

Wide Receiver is Set

Not only did Florida State fill out its depth chart at receiver, it filled it out with quality talent. A class consisting of two 4-stars and three 3-stars (one of whom should be a 4-star) might be one of the best hauls in recent memory. The group is pretty diverse, mixing in both speed and possession-type receivers, as well as generally athletic playmakers. From a pure recruiting standpoint, it’s even more impressive how the Seminoles were able to grab three of the players very late in the cycle.

Florida State’s offense next year is a big question mark when it comes to both scheme and actual starters. It’s not hard to see a scenario where many of this class’ receivers start to push for starting jobs, or heavy rotation at the very least. Taggart and his staff truly did cover their bases with this position group, and the 2018 team is much more secure because of it.

Secondary Continues to Be Recruited Excellently

It might not have sunk in how well Florida State recruited the 2018 secondary. It received commitments from three defensive backs that were all ranked as top 100 players (Jaiden Woodbey, Anthony Lytton, Asante Samuel Jr.) and added another 4-star cornerback with Isaiah Bolden. That’s incredibly impressive and helps maintain a recent string of high level talent at Florida State.

Defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett already proved he could produce great defenses with average talent, and now he gets top-tier players to work with. Of all the facets heading in to the 2018 season, fans should be least worried about the defensive secondary.

Defensive End Has Depth, Needs Top Talent Next Year

Florida State did the best job it could with defensive ends for the 2018 cycle. The current roster has elite talent on it with Brian Burns, Josh Kaindoh, and Janarius Robinson being starters or contributors next year. The problem was a lack of depth behind them, and the Seminoles fixed that nicely with 4-star Malcolm Lamar and 3-star Jamarcus Chatman.

Obviously fans would like to see elite prospects at every position, but the reality was that the Seminoles had slim pickings due to the coaching change and early signing period. Of the top 10 defensive ends per the 247Sports composite, only two of them did not commit in 2018, and those two committed in early January. There was simply not enough time for Florida State to make an impression.

That will not be the case in 2019. Taggart and his staff now have a full year to recruit defensive ends. They will need to reel in at least one true difference-maker at the position, preferably two.

Quarterback is the Biggest 2019 Need

There is one area where the staff failed in the 2018 class. They were unable to receive a quarterback commitment, with their main target James Foster choosing Texas A&M in a slightly surprising turn of events. One mitigating factor is that quarterback isn’t the biggest roster need for 2018, but it will be the biggest recruiting need for 2019.

Right now, the Seminoles have three scholarship quarterbacks. Depending on what transpires over next season, it’s possible that one could transfer out in search of playing time elsewhere. Keeping up a healthy number of quarterbacks on roster is absolutely essential to stability, especially when one factors in potential injuries. Florida State has the bare minimum right now in this respect.

There’s a strong chance that the Seminoles take two quarterbacks in the 2019 cycle. As long as one of them is a major prospect, they could take a depth option if needed. Still, this is an area where they need to find success in the next recruiting class, or else it will became a major problem in 2019.

Taggart Wants to Change the Perception of FSU Recruiting

In case it wasn’t clear by now, Willie Taggart and his staff approach recruiting quite a bit differently than the previous Florida State staff. They’re constantly on Twitter hyping up the fan base with cryptic tweets, rap lyrics, throwback posts, or generally positive vibes. Instead of ignoring social media and using it as an addition to their jobs, they’re treating it as an integral part of staying connected to the fan base and keeping their notoriety up.

This is part of a general trend where Taggart seems to be purposefully trying to alter the perception of Florida State. Whether he’s recalling the days of Bobby Bowden or trying to institute his own style, he wants to make sure that people know he’s going to be a visible ambassador for the program, in a way that the previous coach didn’t really enjoy doing.

Clint Eiland is the lead writer for The Daily Nole. Be sure to follow Clint on Twitter @ClintEiland and “Like” The Daily Nole on Facebook.

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