- By Bob Ferrante Special to The Post
Florida State coach Willie Taggart says he’s not interested in signing quantity in the 2018 class. He frequently stated Thursday afternoon that he’s looking for “the right guys.”
“We’re going to sign 16-18,” Taggart said. “We got to make sure we get the right guys, not just filling the class just to fill it. That’s not going to help our football program moving forward.”
Taggart said FSU will only have a finite number of scholarships available based on the graduating seniors and the number of underclassmen leaving early. FSU has 11 seniors on the 2017 roster, plus four other spots that will open up — redshirt sophomore safety Derwin James and junior defensive end Josh Sweat will enter the 2018 NFL Draft — while offensive lineman Brock Ruble and tight end Mavin Saunders will transfer.
The Seminoles could also lose more juniors to the draft, including cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, tailback Jacques Patrick and wide receiver Auden Tate. The decisions by those players could allow Taggart to expand the size of the 2018 class.
FSU signed four players Wednesday, including five-star safety Jaiden Woodbey. The Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco prospect was offered by Taggart just a week ago, visited Sunday and signed with FSU on Wednesday. Woodbey grew up following the Seminoles and did the chop at his signing ceremony as he picked FSU over USC and Ohio State.
“This is a dream school for Jaiden,” Taggart said. “He was very, very excited that I reached out to him. He was so excited to get down here and see Tallahassee, see the university, and meet some of our people here. To get someone with that caliber of player in our program is always huge to get going.”
The Seminoles didn’t add any signings as of late Thursday afternoon, but Taggart is looking to add a few more today. A pair of cornerback commitments, Asante Samuel Jr. and Anthony Lytton, have not stated if they will sign today or wait until February. And Taggart could land four-star cornerback Isaiah Bolden, who had committed to Oregon when Taggart was coaching the Ducks.
No matter how many prospects sign in the next four days, Taggart is focusing on maximizing the value of his 85 scholarships.
“When it’s all said and done, we’re going to have ourselves a pretty darn good recruiting class,” Taggart said. “But it’s going to be the right guys, the guys that we want here and the guys that want to be here.”
Noteworthy: FSU also offered a scholarship to a notable name in the 2021 class — Shedeur Sanders of Cedar Hill, Texas, who is the son of former FSU All-American Deion Sanders.
Bowl eligibility questioned: In the weird and bizarre winding road that has been the Florida State Seminoles 2017 season, this latest development almost seems fitting.
According to a report from Reddit, Florida State, despite having the requisite six wins, could actually still not be bowl eligible.
The report is based on NCAA rules that state a win by an FBS team (FSU) over an FCS team (in this case Delaware State) only counts toward bowl eligibility if the FCS team is utilizing at least 90 percent of its scholarship limit.
Florida State beat Delaware State in November by a score of 77-6 for its fourth win before beating Florida and then winning a rescheduled game with Louisiana-Monroe in order to reach six wins.
However, after receiving data from Delaware State, Reddit reports that Delaware State had not awarded more than 90 percent of its scholarships, thus rendering Florida State’s win over them as one that, by rule, does not count toward bowl eligibility.
Given that we’re less than a week away from the Independence Bowl between Florida State and Southern Miss, even Reddit acknowledges that nothing significant is likely to come of this report in terms of the Seminoles actually not playing in the game. But had the report surfaced earlier in the season, Florida State would likely have missed out on a bowl to the three remaining FBS teams who reached six wins but were left out of bowl slots because of the total amount of bowl-eligible teams this season.
Regardless, its quite the scenario, especially considering that Florida State had to win its final three games to secure bowl eligibility, including the rescheduled game against ULM.
SEC Country contributed to this story.