Florida State recruiting: Recapping September on the trail for prospects

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Stay tuned as Florida State marches on the warpath to the top of the recruiting rankings. Don’t miss the coverage from Sanjay Kirpalani and the DieHards.com team. Read his daily notebooks here at 8:30 a.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Seminoles recruiting news.

3 biggest developments for Florida State in September

1. Seminoles lose 2019 commitment

Florida State did not add to its commit list during the month of September, but it did lose a pledge from 2019 4-star athlete Ronald Thompkins.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Loganville [Ga.] Grayson prospect committed to the Seminoles in May, but he made the decision to back out of that pledge after visiting Georgia on back-to-back weekends last month.

On the surface, losing Thompkins — who rates as the nation’s No. 25 athlete and the No. 280 player overall in the 2019 class per 247Sports — is a blow, but not something that would seem to be a make-or-break event for the 2019 class.

However, when you factor in that three of his teammates — 4-star tackle Wanya Morris, 4-star safety Kenyatta Watson II and 3-star defensive tackle Tru Thompson — are also committed to Florida State, it could become an issue if any of his other teammates back out of their pledges.

Plus, the Seminoles are also actively recruiting a pair of his other teammates in 5-star linebacker Owen Pappoe and 4-star receiver Kenyon Jackson.

Right now, Morris, Watson and Thompson appear firm in their pledges, but there is a long way to go between now and when they will actually enroll on a college campus.

Thompkins even noted that he will still consider Florida State moving forward.

But it’s hard to consider the month of September fruitful when the Seminoles failed to add anyone to their commit list and actually lost a key member of a future class. As October begins, the Seminoles will look to reverse course and regain the optimistic outlook that they brought into the season on the field and in recruiting.

2. Big visitors for N.C. State game

The Seminoles season-opening loss to Alabama was filled with elite recruits in the stands, and the Miami game originally scheduled for Sept. 16 was supposed to be another big-time game on the recruiting front.

However, Hurricane Irma forced the teams to postpone the game until this weekend, and in the process, shuffled a lot of visit plans from various recruits.

Instead, the only game played at Doak Campbell Stadium during the month was the Sept. 23 loss to N.C. State.

While the noon kickoff was far from ideal in terms of hosting a lot of marquee visitors, there were three important visits that took place during that game.

The biggest surprise was an official visit from 5-star tackle and current Oklahoma pledge Brey Walker.

The nation’s No. 3 tackle and the No. 18 player overall in the 2018 cycle per 247Sports has been pledged to the in-state Sooners since November 2015 and the visit to Tallahassee seemingly came out of nowhere.

Another official visit of importance came from 4-star linebacker target Dax Hollifield. As Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports noted, the visit went about as well as it could possibly go and the Seminoles should remain a viable threat in his recruitment moving forward.

Finally, one unofficial visit of note came from in-state 3-star defensive tackle Dennis Briggs. The Seminoles continue to battle rival Miami for the right to stand atop Briggs list.

With both Miami and Louisville coming to Tallahassee in October, the Seminoles will have two high-profile matchups that should attract a number of top targets for visits in the coming weeks.

3. Seminoles losing ground in race for 5-star QB Justin Fields?

Entering the season, it could have been argued that Florida State was the clubhouse leader for 5-star quarterback Justin Fields — the top overall prospect in the 2018 cycle.

The Kennesaw [Ga.] Harrison standout was present for the season-opening loss to Alabama.

In the weeks that followed, he took his first official visit to LSU, then visited Georgia in back-to-back weeks and ended his month by visiting Alabama.

Perhaps he would have returned to Tallahassee for the Miami game if it had been played Sept. 16, but instead, the Bulldogs were able to get him on campus and they’ve been the team buzzing with him ever since.

Several other factors have hurt the Seminoles in their pursuit of Fields.

The season-ending injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois and the subsequent rise of freshman James Blackman has complicated the Seminoles depth chart moving forward. Florida State’s 1-2 start has thwarted any momentum the program had entering the season, while Georgia — the primary competitor in the running for Fields — is off to an impressive 5-0 start and looks poised to challenge for its first SEC East crown since 2012.

Those elements won’t be the end all, be all for Fields, but they certainly don’t help Florida State’s case.

Fields could possibly return for the Miami game this weekend or the Louisville game on Oct. 21. Harrison has a Thursday night game the week of the Louisville game, which could make his travel plans a little easier for that weekend.

Regardless, as October unfolds, coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff have work to do to get momentum going in a positive direction with Fields and with the Seminoles recruiting classes in general.

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

The post Florida State recruiting: Recapping September on the trail for prospects appeared first on Diehards.

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