Florida State head coach Mike Norvell and his coaching staff went into the Early Signing Period with the utmost confidence after a 9-3 regular season finish, which included victories over LSU, Miami, and Florida.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles suffered a major recruiting blow during the 2022 recruiting cycle during the Early Signing Period when No. 1 ranked prospect Travis Hunter flipped from Florida State to Jackson State. But the Seminoles looked to change the narrative this time around.
The day started well for Florida State as they officially signed 14 of their 15 commits and all six transfer prospects. They also added two recruits in their class: Four-star defensive back Edwin Joseph and three-star offensive tackle Christopher Otto.
But let’s address the elephant in the room: Four-star defensive end Keldric Faulk.
Faulk had been committed to the Seminoles since July 5th. However, that did not stop the talented pass rusher from visiting the home-state Auburn Tigers. Even with Auburn’s struggles on the field, which included firing head coach Bryan Harsin after 21 games, Faulk visited the campus four times since September.
Florida State could sense the growing connection between Faulk and Auburn, but the coaching staff did not give up its pursuit of keeping the highly-touted prospect in the class. They immediately scheduled an unofficial campus visit the weekend before the Early Signing Period. However, as soon as the visit concluded in Tallahassee on Sunday morning, he made a surprise unofficial visit to Auburn that afternoon.
Worry began to creep in as the Tigers started to gain momentum with head coach Hugh Freeze now at the helm and closer proximity to home (Highland Home, Alabama is an hour and 30 minutes from Auburn, Alabama). On Wednesday afternoon, Faulk made his intentions known that he would be flipping his commitment from Florida State to Auburn.
How Should FSU’s Recruiting Class Be Graded?
Florida State acquired multiple prospects that fit a variety of needs such as five-star wide receiver Hykeem Williams, four-star wide receiver Vandrevius Jacobs, four-star offensive tackle Lucas Simmons, four-star defensive linemen Keith Sampson Jr. and Lamont Green Jr., four-star linebacker Blake Nichelson, among others.
However, the Seminoles failed to acquire a few coveted recruits that went elsewhere such as five-star running back Cedric Baxter Jr. (signed with Texas), four-star wide receiver Andy Jean (signed with Florida), four-star linebacker Kamren Robinson (signed with Virginia), and four-star cornerback Damari Brown (signed with Miami).
Florida State’s recruiting class was not expected to possess a large number of recruits. Transfer portal prospects were seen to be the priority once again as they look to sign around 8-10 transfers before the 2023 season begins.
However, the failure to close on a talented prospect such as four-star defensive end Keldric Faulk leaves a bad taste in the Seminoles’ fans’ mouths as they hope to replace the likes of current defensive end Jared Verse (if he decides to depart for the NFL) as well as four-star linebacker target Kamren Robinson, who chose to stick with his commitment to the Virginia Cavaliers.
Side note for another target: According to Marcus Benjamin of Rivals.com Canes Country, four-star Penn State safety commit Conrad Hussey will not be signing on Wednesday afternoon. His final three schools are Miami, Florida State, and Penn State.
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