FSU hopes young blood can rejuvenate program
National Signing Day has come and gone and Florida State head coach Willie Taggart is hoping some young blood will be what he needs to return the Seminoles to prominence.
FSU is coming off its worst season in more than 40 years in 2018, watching a bowl streak of 36 years go by the wayside, along with a run of 41 straight winning campaigns. The Seminoles went 5-7 last season and suffered six losses by at least 19 points.
With spring ball rearing its head and the start of the 2019 season more than six months away, here are five newcomers to keep an eye on for the Seminoles:
Akeem Dent, CB
Florida State wasn't lacking talent in the secondary coming into 2019, but it was an area where the Seminoles woefully underachieved a season ago and Dent could provide immediate help. A South Florida product, Dent is the top-rated prospect in FSU's 2019 class. He was an early commit to the Seminoles but made the late decision to enroll early. At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Dent is an aggressive corner who will only get stronger. Dent is physical in man coverage and also is adept at helping stop the run.
Kalen DeLoach, LB
With the exception of Dontavious Jackson, Florida State did not get much production from its linebackers corps last season. At 6-foot and 210 pounds, DeLoach is a candidate to help change that. DeLoach does have some filling out to do, but has great speed on the outside and has all the tools to become exceptional as a run stopper and in coverage. With FSU still relatively unproven outside of Jackson, expect DeLoach to get reps early on.
Dontae Lucas, G
No position was a bigger sore spot for the Seminoles a season ago than the offensive line. Lucas, a four-star prospect from in-state IMG Academy, is expected to compete for time right away. FSU has a number of bodies on scholarship along the offensive line, but none of those positions seem safe. Guys like Cole Minshew and Landon Dickerson have played meaningful snaps before, but both have battled injuries. Other highly-rated recruits like Jauan Williams and Baveon Johnson have failed to pan out. Lucas, at 325 pounds, possess a ton of raw power and has a mean streak that the coaching staff really likes. Like Dent, Lucas is an early enrollee.
Travis Jay, DB
There's no doubt that Jay can play, but the question for Florida State will be where. Listed as a cornerback, Jay is a big body (6-1, 185) in the secondary and a heavy hitter. Jay can cover like a corner, but he hits like a safety and his ability to do both makes him a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett's Cover 4 scheme. Considering that FSU has just two quarterbacks on scholarship and one as an incoming transfer, there's also speculation that Jay could see some snaps there if anything happens to projected starter James Blackman.
Jay Williams, T
Considering FSU's need for bodies along the offensive line, Williams could be a short-term solution to fix a horrendous problem. A junior college transfer, Williams checks in at 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds yet moves very well on the outside. The fact that he is an early enrollee should give him a puncher's chance at cracking the starting lineup for the Aug. 31 opener against Boise State in Jacksonville.