Take Two: Can Taggart scramble to a recruiting victory at FSU?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
As the Jimbo Fisher drama unfolded in the past few weeks and as uncertainty around the program persisted in Fisher’s departure for Texas A&M, Florida State lost a bunch of commitments.
Things finally stabilized to a degree once the Seminoles hired Willie Taggart, a Florida native, away from Oregon, but many questions remain about whether this is going to be a lost recruiting cycle or if Taggart - known to be a phenomenal recruiter - can rebuild this class in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day.
It will be a challenge. Top four-star DB Houston Griffith backed off his Florida State commitment. So did four-star running back Jashaun Corbin, four-star OL Verdis Brown, four-star DB Johnathan Huggins, three-star DE Patrick Joyner, three-star WR Antoine Green and three-star DB Israel Mukuamu, who flipped to South Carolina.
In terms of rankings, with only 11 commitments, Florida State is eighth in the ACC and No. 42 nationally. That’s not so swell, far below normal FSU expectations.
Can Taggart rebuild this class quickly? One of the reasons FSU hired him is because of his recruiting prowess as his first full class at Oregon was one of the best in the nation. Can it happen in Tallahassee right now?
FIRST TAKE: MICHAEL LANGSTON, WARCHANT.COM
“I don't think it's likely ever a lost cause in recruiting for FSU, especially with Taggart already out recruiting. He won't have a new staff until after the Dec. 16 Las Vegas Bowl for Oregon, so that makes it a little more challenging for the Early Signing Period. But the key thing he's doing right now is telling recruits to give FSU a chance. He's extremely popular in Florida. Two years back, I had a lot of kids tell me they wished he was in the Southeast at a big-time program of the Big Three of FSU, UF and Miami, so the excitement has been very high ever since the hire.
“I believe once FSU has the full staff in place in December, FSU will be a major threat all over the Southeast and nationally. Naturally, how good the class will be is the question. But a top 10 class is certainly possible.”
SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM
“The Seminoles can load up again. They’re still involved with enough high-profile kids, and Florida State is still a big enough brand name, so kids are going to be interested.
“Taggart is a very good recruiter. I questioned the slow start he had at Oregon. That was a whole different recruiting landscape for him. He knows Florida, he knows 7-on-7 coaches, he has relationships with a lot of people there already. He’s going to hit the ground running. I don’t think they’re going to finish in the top five, but they can put together a really solid recruiting class.”