The Daily Nole

FSU Football: 2019 Recruiting Class Predictions V3

Bill Pearce/FSU athletics

Now that the football season is over (at least, for Florida State), fan attention diverts to the recruiting trail, where the one promise of good news remains.

Head coach Willie Taggart and staff are going hard on the trail in hopes of grabbing a top-10 class. Given their results on short notice in 2018, most are expecting an above average close for the cycle.

They do not have unlimited time to do so. The Early Signing Day is now one day away, and FSU has done all it can with its targets who intend to sign over the next three days. This will likely be canary-in-the-coal mine situation.

If the flips start happening and FSU cannot close on certain players, Taggart’s tenure in Tallahassee will be brief. If the opposite happens, he gives himself a chance to build toward his vision.

If you are wondering how the bad season might affect Florida State recruiting, we examined that earlier this month.

This will be our last update to the predictions for 2018. We will attempt to predict how Florida State finishes the 2019 class and provide readers with up-to-date information. We will also provide notes at the bottom that either link to sources or explain what we have heard about the players listed.

Check out our predictions on the Dec. 10 piece here. We also have our Dec. 4 piece here.

Dec. 18, 2018

4-star DT Derick Hunter

4-star G Will Putnam
4-star S Raymond Woodie III
4-star JUCO G Desmond Bland (Will not sign early)
3-star LB Kevon Glenn (Committed Dec. 16)
3-star DT Malcolm Ray
3-star CB Jarvis Brownlee
3-star G Maurice Smith (Committed Dec. 17)
3-star JUCO T Jay Williams (Committed Dec. 17)

Projected Score: 268.30 (11th in 2019)

Notes and Information

  • Derick Hunter has received a string of predictions to Texas A&M recently. We have been consistent with our prediction that he would not end up in the final class. It seems that will come to fruition and he will join Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies.
  • Clemson writers seem to be suggesting that Putnam is all but signed to Florida State. While we should be cautious to call anything in recruiting a “sure thing”, it certainly looks like Florida State will grab one of its top targets for the 2019 class.
  • While we have not put him on the “Subtract” list, quarterback Sam Howell’s decision is still up in the air. There is too much that we do not know behind the scenes to confidently say he will either stay or de-commit. Some are speculating that he has already been told that Kendal Briles will be the offensive coordinator hire for FSU.

Storylines to Watch

Will Akeem Dent sign early?
Florida State had Dent on campus for his official visit and is trying to convince him to sign early. Dent says he is undecided at the moment. While delaying his signing would not be a death knell for Florida State, his recruitment would become much closer down the stretch. It would give other schools more of a chance to get him on their campus and try to sway him from FSU. The Seminoles are hoping to avoid that situation and have him locked down this week.

If Howell flips to North Carolina, what is next?
Fans should realize that Howell is not the type of recruit that could come in immediately and perform like a star. He is not on the level of someone like Trevor Lawrence. That being said, Howell fits Taggart’s system and would be the prime candidate to win the job for the 2020 season. Now that his commitment is up in the air, the situation becomes much more precarious for Florida State.

Howell signing elsewhere means that Florida State might have just one scholarship quarterback on its roster for 2019. Presumably, it would push for a commitment from 4-star dual threat Lance Legendre, who will not be signing early and will announce his decision in February. Legendre could be enticed by the thin quarterback room and a system which utilizes his running ability.

Even then, Florida State would like more than two scholarship quarterbacks. FSU could go one of two ways: the immediate help path or the depth path.

Immediate help likely involves a graduate transfer quarterback. We know that Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts is the top candidate, though he might want a guarantee of starting. Will Florida State be willing to do that with James Blackman on the roster?

For the depth option, one name to keep an eye on is IMG quarterback David Baldwin. He is pretty low on the board and would require two years of development before getting the chance to start — but he is an FBS-level recruit that would guarantee stable quarterback depth for one more year. This path would be the sign that James Blackman is the quarterback for 2019.

How good is the close?
It’s put up or shut up time for Willie Taggart and staff. While there is a signing day in February, most recruits will sign this week, including a majority of the top talents. Florida State is still looking to secure its big targets and fill two of its needs at linebacker and offensive line. If the Seminoles were to miss on someone like Putnam, the margin for error becomes virtually non-existent in the coming months. The Seminole fan base needs good news — now.

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