What a day.
National Signing Day was always going to be eventful for Florida State since the new coaching staff could finally lock up several commitments after being on the trail for the past two. The past several weeks had been filled with commitments from several high ranking players, including a shocking commitment from five-star safety Jaiden Woodbey, that slowly brought a once-forgotten recruiting class all the way up to a respectable 16th.
Then today, Willie Taggart showed why he had earned a reputation as an ace recruiter. The biggest moment of the day was when Tre’Shaun Henderson, a four-star athlete out of Seattle and former Oregon commit, chose to sign with the Seminoles. Henderson projects to be a receiver in college and bolsters an already impressive WR class.
The ‘Noles then flipped former Tennessee commits Anthony Grant and Jordan Young, both dynamic offensive players out of Georgia. Young became the fifth wide receiver to commit to Florida State, which is a good sign after a season where the ‘Noles struggled with depth at that position.
More good news would later come out from the Peach State, where Jamarcus Chatman decided to sign with the Seminoles over Miami, who were favored to sign the three-star defensive end. Another highly touted defensive lineman, four-star end Malcolm Lamar, signed with the Seminoles later in the day, becoming the second Armwood player in a week to become a Seminole, joining four-star receiver Warren Thompson.
A little under two short months ago, just after Willie Taggart was named the new head coach at Florida State, the Seminoles were in a troublesome state with their recruiting. Due to a complete lack of effort over the previous two months by Jimbo Fisher, many recruits decommitted due to uncertainty with the coaching situation, and whether Fisher would stay on as coach. Flash forward to a few weeks later, and Seminoles sat with just eight commitments and sat 66th in the team rankings, around Tulane and Kansas.
Now, the 2018 class was always going to be better than 66th. This isn’t a Herm Edwards situation; Taggart and his staff are excellent recruiters, and once the staff was fully put together, the commits would start to roll in. But getting Florida State up to the top ten on national signing day? That is practically unheard, with a coaching vacancy as unexpected as this, even with the brand that is Florida State.
A lot of credit goes to Taggart, his staff, and also members of the previous staff like Charles Kelly and Rick Trickett, who still were recruiting for Florida State despite knowing they most likely wouldn’t be retained. But a ton of credit should also go to 2018 commit and Tallahassee linebacker Amari Gainer, who was a driving force in keeping members of the class together and helping recruit new members. Without Gainer, the unquestioned leader of #Tribe18, different recruits might not have been persuaded to come to Tallahassee.
There were a few misses on the day, namely four-star quarterback prospect James Foster, who elected to sign with Texas A&M after a later push by the ‘Noles. While it did mean no quarterbacks signed with the Seminoles in their 2018 recruiting class, there isn’t much doubt that next year could see two or three QBs sign with the ‘Noles. Regardless, overall it was a very successful day for Florida State on the recruiting trail. Willie Taggart and his staff can definitely recruit.
Now we must hope they can develop them too.