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Seminoles make strong impression on key LB target
Despite Florida State’s loss to North Carolina State last weekend, there may have been at least one positive development to emerge from the aftermath of falling to 0-2 on the season.
One of a handful of talented recruits to make the trip to Tallahassee was 4-star Shelby (N.C.) linebacker Dax Hollifield.
The Seminoles have three seniors occupying the starting spots in their defense this season — which highlights the need to restock and replenish the roster at that position in the current class.
Florida State has a pair of linebackers pledged, 3-star in-state defenders Amari Gainer and Rosendo Louis.
They are hoping to add at least one more player to that group, and they were able to get Hollifield down for an official visit last weekend.
The nation’s No. 5 inside linebacker and the No. 125 player overall is a tackling machine who makes plays all over the field According to MaxPreps, Hollifield racked up 152 tackles — including a staggering 52 tackles for loss with 18 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and an interception — as a junior.
It’s that type of production and instincts that have caught the attention of coach Jimbo Fisher, linebackers coach Bill Miller and the rest of the Seminoles staff.
According to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports, the visit went as well as possible despite the outcome of the game.
“I don’t want to say they’re No. 1, but they sure did change [my recruitment] a lot,” Hollifield told Wiltfong. “I loved that place. Tallahassee, Florida State University, that was an amazing visit.”
As Wiltfong detailed, up next for Hollifield are three official visits in October to South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Stanford will get him on campus for a visit in January.
There’s a long way to go in Hollifield’s recruitment, and the Seminoles will hope that the high of his visit is enough to keep them in the forefront of his mind when he arrives at a conclusion in his recruitment.
Florida State has a lot of positives to sell with potential early playing time and that has his attention.
At the very least, it appears as if Florida State will be in the thick of his recruitment until he makes a final decision.
5-star CB working on official visits
Another top target for the Seminoles down the stretch of the 2018 cycle is 5-star Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage corner Patrick Surtain Jr.
The nation’s top corner and the No. 4 player overall in the 2018 cycle recently dropped a list of six finalists that included Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State.
Top 6…… Thanks to all the schools that have recruited me in this tough grueling process…. Very Blessed 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/zmBV5SsiHf
— PS2 (@SurtainJr) August 30, 2017
He already unofficially visited Florida for the Gators’ huge win over Tennessee, and he’s in the process of scheduling more visits.
Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts spoke with his father — former NFL defensive back and current American Heritage head coach Patrick Surtain Sr. — recently. The elder Surtain confirmed his son plans to visit Columbus, Ohio officially with January mentioned as a possible timeframe for the visit.
Florida State is trying to get Surtain back on campus sooner than later. Considering that Surtain is likely to decide on or close to national signing day, a best-case scenario for coach Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles staff would be to host him for an unofficial visit potentially during one of the team’s remaining home dates and then land an official visit from him after the season.
Florida State and LSU have long been considered the two schools at the forefront of Surtain’s recruitment. The Seminoles’ final push to try and land the elite corner will begin with getting him back to Tallahassee in a timely fashion.
4-star WR target visiting elsewhere
On the offensive side of the ball, receiver is another position of need for the Seminoles.
Despite holding three pledges from receivers in the 2018 class already, Fisher and his staff would like to add at least one more playmaker to that class by national signing day.
Among the top options they are pursuing is 4-star Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal receiver Jaylen Waddle.
The 5-9 1/2, 175-pound standout rates as the nation’s No. 11 receiver and the No. 67 player overall in the 2018 cycle.
A prep teammate of 2017 Florida State signee Marvin Wilson, Waddle accounted for 1,659 yards of total offense and scored 35 total touchdowns as a junior.
According to BamaOnline’s Hank South, Waddle will take an official visit to Alabama this weekend for the Crimson Tide’s game versus Ole Miss.
Waddle previously saw the Tide’s win over Florida State in the season opener in Atlanta, and he also took an unofficial visit to Texas earlier this month.
He was expected to take an official visit to Florida State for the Seminoles game against Miami originally scheduled for Sept. 16. That game was postponed to Oct. 7 because of Hurricane Irma. The Seminoles are expected to host him for an official visit, although that date is still to be determined at this time.
Regardless of when that visit could occur, as South notes, Alabama is trending with Waddle at the moment. The Tide will get an opportunity to put more distance between themselves and the rest of his suitors this weekend.
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