Florida State recruiting: 5 prospects to know as National Signing Day nears

jaylen waddle-miami recruiting-2018-national signing day

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Names to know as National Signing Day approaches

With February less than three months away, National Signing Day is rapidly approaching.

The Florida State Seminoles enter the stretch run of the 2018 cycle with 19 commitments in their 2018 class, which means there are precious few spots remaining down the stretch.

The 247Sports composite ranks the Seminoles class No. 9 in the country and No. 2 in the ACC behind archrival Miami.

Florida State’s struggles on the field this season could prevent coach Jimbo Fisher from landing what would be a fourth top-5 class in the last five seasons. However, if the Seminoles are to reach that benchmark, they will need to land some of the top targets remaining on their board.

Which prospects potentially make up this list and what are the Seminoles’ chances with them as things stand currently?

Let’s take a look at five prospects to watch in the next three months:

Note: Players listed in alphabetical order

3-star DT Dennis Briggs

  • High school: Gateway (Kissimmee, Fla.)
  • Size: 6-foot-4, 252 pounds
  • Composite ranking: No. 33 defensive tackle; No. 452 overall
  • Other contenders: Georgia, Miami, South Carolina
  • The skinny:  Florida State has three defensive ends currently committed in its 2018 class, but the Seminoles want to add at least one more pass rusher before this cycle concludes. That need could be magnified if Miami is able to flip current 3-star defensive end pledge Patrick Joyner. The Seminoles and the Hurricanes are also battling it out for Briggs — who has visited both schools multiple times and will likely take official visits to both schools following the season. Florida State last hosted him on campus as he took an unofficial visit in September for the North Carolina State game. Miami is recruiting him as a defensive tackle while Florida State likes him as a bigger defensive end. The Hurricanes are the clear favorite on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page, but the Seminoles appear to be more of a factor in this race than those predictions would indicate.

3-star QB James Foster

  • High school: Sidney Lanier (Montgomery, Ala.)
  • Size: 6-3, 210 pounds
  • Composite ranking: No. 14 dual threat quarterback; No. 365 overall
  • Other contenders: Alabama, Louisville and LSU
  • The skinny: After missing out on 5-star prospect Justin Fields to Georgia last month, the Seminoles are back to Square 1 with respect to its quarterback board. However, the one name that has already emerged is Foster. The Yellowhammer State passer recently de-committed from Missouri, and as Sam Spiegelman of SEC Country recently detailed, Foster has Florida State and LSU “tied” at the top for his services. Even though the Seminoles have yet to officially offer Foster, they are likely to host him on an official visit in the near future. Assuming the Tigers don’t close the deal with Foster when they host him this weekend, the Seminoles appear to be the school that could make the most sense to land him in the end. It’s possible that Florida State could opt to skip taking a quarterback in this cycle or the board could open up to include more targets in the coming weeks. But for right now, it appears that Foster is the main target as things stand.

4-star WR Joshua Moore

  • High school: Yoakum (Yoakum, Tex.)
  • Size: 6-1, 168 pounds
  • Composite ranking: No. 17 receiver; No. 82 overall
  • Other contenders: Alabama, Nebraska
  • The skinny: Florida State is desperate to add depth and talent to its receiver unit in this class. That’s why the Seminoles are pursuing multiple pass catchers despite having three receivers currently committed. The Seminoles pursued Moore aggressively until he committed to Nebraska in June. Now that Moore is taking visits and doing his due diligence, the Seminoles have reappeared as a player in his recruitment. He is a versatile playmaker who could line up in the slot or on the outside, which potentially enhances his value in Florida State’s offense. Moore was supposed to take an official to Florida State the weekend of the Syracuse game, but those plans were canceled and he will now reschedule. Assuming Moore follows through with those plans, the Seminoles should have a great shot to land him.

4-star WR Jaylen Waddle

  • High school: Episcopal (Bellaire, Texas)
  • Size: 5-9.5, 175 pounds
  • Composite ranking: No. 11 receiver; No. 67 overall
  • Other contenders: Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State
  • The skinny:  As we noted with Moore, receiver is a big need for Florida State in the 2018 cycle and the Seminoles currently have three pass-catchers committed. Expect Fisher and his staff to try and get at least one more prospect at that spot and Waddle represents one of the top options remaining on the board. A former prep teammate of 2017 signee Marvin Wilson, Waddle is among the most explosive prospects in the 2018 cycle. As a junior, Waddle scored a total of 35 touchdowns in four different ways — running, receiving, punt return and kickoff return. He racked up 1,382 yards receiving while averaging nearly 29 yards per catch. Simply put, he’s the type of player who will keep the scoreboard operator on high alert whenever he touches the football. Alabama, Oregon, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M are among the other schools in hot pursuit of Waddle. He was present for the season-opening loss to Alabama in Atlanta and made his official visit to Florida State for the Miami game. He’s also visited Alabama, TCU and Texas. Similar to Wilson’s process, this recruitment has the feeling of one that could go the distance. Time will tell if the Seminoles can land another potential difference-maker out of the Lone Star State.

4-star OLB Quay Walker

  • High school: Crisp County (Cordele, Ga.)
  • Size: 6-4, 220 pounds
  • Composite ranking: No. 6 outside linebacker; No. 126 overall
  • Other contenders: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina
  • The skinny:  Florida State is also looking at adding another pass rusher in this class — whether it’s at defensive end or at outside linebacker. A priority target for the Seminoles at this time appears to be Walker, who is currently committed to Alabama. The Seminoles have been able to get the Peach State defender on campus twice in the last four months — with his last visit coming for the Seminoles home game against Miami last month. Walker fits the mold of what Florida State likes to do defensively with his versatility, athleticism, length and ability to get after the quarterback. It will be tough to pull him away from his commitment to the Crimson Tide. However, it appears that the Seminoles have done the ground work necessary to be in position to pull off a flip later in the cycle.

Miss a previous edition? Find every daily Florida State DieHards recruiting notebooks right here.

The post Florida State recruiting: 5 prospects to know as National Signing Day nears appeared first on Diehards.

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