Florida State and Willie Taggart hosted their first ever Saturday Night Live event on Saturday evening, exceeding the expectations for the event in just about every way. Competing with the other two members of the “Big Three” (Florida and Miami) who hosted their own recruiting events on Saturday night was a welcome task for the FSU staff, and they answered the call. The talent that came out surpassed both Paradise Camp in Miami and FNL in Gainesville, with numerous five-star recruits, including number one overall recruit Keyvon Thibodeaux, in attendance.
Taggart and his staff made positive impressions with fans, recruits, and parents on Saturday with a palpable buzz in the building from the thousands of fans that braved the Florida heat. 5 star DB Akeem Dent made an appearance, after much speculation that he would skip SNL to visit Alabama. The event is already paying dividends on the recruiting trail, with commitments coming from blue chippers linebacker Kalen DeLoach, safety Brendan Gant, both 4 stars. The Noles also picked up a commitment from three-star offensive lineman Charles Cross, adding needed depth to the offensive line. FSU now sits with the seventh best class in the country according to Rivals, with the potential for more commitments coming.
Four-star quarterback Sam Howell was in Tallahassee on Saturday and did some recruiting on behalf of the Noles. Howell spent a lot of time with the aforementioned Thibodeaux, who raved about his time in Tallahassee. Howell also actively recruited wide receiver George Pickens, an Auburn commit. Pickens and Howell worked well together, making multiple nice connections in the 7v7 portion of the event. There is a lot of work to be done to flip Pickens from Auburn, but Florida State has made a good impression on both of his unofficial visits with an official coming in the fall.
FSU made a great impression on five star linebacker Nakobe Dean, an uncommitted early enrollee target. Dean’s mother, Neketta, who takes a very active role in Dean’s recruiting, had this to say about her son’s visit:
This is by far, the best college head coach that I've ever met. Him and his Staff are REAL genuine everyday people. #MYFAV #WilleTaggart #FSU❤ pic.twitter.com/HwC6H7qtmz
— Neketta (@dabeautiful1uc) July 29, 2018
Many recruits and families spoke on the real, genuine, laid-back nature of Taggart and his staff. This recruiting style has led to family atmosphere surrounding FSU and their football team. Taggart’s staff took the time to get to know the families, going as far as playing cards into the night.
A commitment from Dean would be huge for the staff, considering the noticeable need at linebacker. Quashon Fuller, a recently committed four-star defensive lineman, has also been very vocal about recruiting guys, including Dean. Regardless of whether or not FSU lands any more commits due to this event, it must be called a success. The hype surrounding the program is undeniable, and it is paying off. With three shiny new recruits in the fold, are more on the way? FSU ended the summer recruiting window on a tear, with hopefully more soon come. With the event now over, Taggart and company can head into fall practice feeling comfortable with where the class stands, with nowhere to go but up.