Now is the time of the year that college football fans let 17- and 18-year-olds control their life: The games are done and it’s the final few weeks before National Signing Day.
As usual, the state of Florida is one of the biggest hotbeds in terms of recruiting. Timing, trends and synergy effects each prospect, as well as location and dynamics of the coaching staffs. I’ve had conversations with top prospects in the Jacksonville area right before they signed and it can be difficult to make a decision. But I always remind them that no matter what, you’ve won: You’re getting an opportunity that few get. I tell my athletes that nothing tastes better than signing day cake.
I’m not good at this recruiting news thing, but I’ve talked to sources who follow this and this is what I found out. What is really concerning is the amount of prospects who already have signed to go out of state or could go out of state. Seemingly every major program in the nation has Florida prospects on their recruiting boards.
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As recruiting hits the final stretch, there are plenty of big Florida fish left on the board. Here is a rundown of some of them.
CB Patrick Surtain Jr.
He is a five-star prospect from Plantation American Heritage who visited LSU over the weekend; he is scheduled to visit Alabama this coming weekend, then probably will shut his recruitment down and make his choice. I’m hearing that he will pick LSU.
CB Tyson Campbell
Campbell is the corner on the other side of the field from Surtain; he also is a five-star prospect. He visited Georgia over the weekend, and will join Surtain on an official visit to Alabama this coming weekend. Miami, Georgia and Alabama are the major players in this. Right now, I would say that he’s bound for UM.
OLB/DE Andrew Chatfield
He’s a four-star prospect from American Heritage. He welcomed in FSU linebacker coach Raymond Woodie after receiving a very late offer from the Seminoles. (Let that sink in, FSU fans: A top talent in the nation, from Florida, and he didn’t get an offer until the new staff arrived.) Chatfield, who was once an Ohio State commitment, took an official visit to Miami over the weekend. We’ll see if Woodie can get Chatfield on campus; if he does, this will be a battle to see how strong this staff is on the recruiting trail. As of now, I have Chatfield leaning toward Miami until further notice.
WR Warren Thompson
Thompson is a four-star prospect from Seffner Armwood. He is an important recruit for Willie Taggart and this staff. He was committed to Taggart at Oregon, but he no longer is committed to Oregon and with the recent departure of Auden Tate, Thompson becomes an important recruit for the Seminoles. He officially visited FSU before the early signing period and will visit Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. With the relationships that have been built, I’m putting Thompson as a lock to the Seminoles.
DE Malcolm Lamar
He also is a four-star prospect from Armwood who used to be committed to Oregon. He is comfortable with Woodie, and as with Thompson, lock him in as a Seminole.
DT Dennis Briggs
Briggs, a four-star prospect from Kissimmee Gateway, once was an Oregon lean, and then looked like a layup to Florida State once Taggart got there. But that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Briggs visited Miami over the weekend, and is scheduled to go to South Carolina this coming weekend and to Florida State on January 26. There’s a lot of smoke with Miami. But perhaps Woodie and defensive tackle coach Odell Haggins can swing this back into FSU’s favor.
OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
He is a five-star tackle from Tampa Berkeley Prep who is considered a national top-20 prospect. As of now, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida and Alabama are getting the official visits. Greg Frey was his recruiter at Michigan, and Frey now is at Florida State. Perhaps Frey and FSU can throw a Doug Flutie “Hail Mary.” As of now, my prediction is Petit-Frere will end up in Gainesville.
OT William Barnes
Barnes is a four-star recruit from Apopka High. This recruitment will go down to the wire, and Florida and Auburn will battle it out. In the end, Florida signs Barnes.
WR Jacob Copeland
He’s a four-star prospect from Pensacola Escambia. He has had an entertaining recruitment on social media. He committed to Florida, then decommitted when Jim McElwain was fired, but the Gators remain in the mix. He visited Tennessee before the early signing period, and has visits scheduled to Texas A&M (this coming weekend), Alabama (January 26) and Florida (February 2). I’m told he’s a Tennessee guy.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/taggart-fsu-recruiting-big-time-florida-prospects/