December 12th Recruiting Recap for FSU

Despite Florida State wrapping up its regular season schedule things haven’t slowed down at all for Mike Norvell and staff. There’s bowl practice to be conducted, recruiting visits (both in-home and on-campus), and early signing day is quickly approaching too. It’s going to be a whirlwind but also a critical month for this staff.

As for recruiting, FSU hosted some important visitors this weekend from both the high school and transfer portal ranks. In this article, we’ll recap who was on campus as well as some notes on their visits while waiting to see how it all plays out and if there’s a commitment in store for the Noles.

TE Kyle Morlock

FSU hosted the 6-foot-7 245-pound tight end transfer from Shorter University this weekend. This was his second time in Tallahassee after taking an unofficial visit to attend the Florida game.

Morlock, a division II All-American, had 30 receptions for 446 yards and 6 touchdowns during his 2021 season would be a nice addition for the Noles who need to not only upgrade the position but also replace outgoing veteran Cam McDonald.

In post-visit comments, Morlock mentioned getting to spend time with quarterback Jordan Travis whose announcement to return for 2023 surely had to help here. He also got to spend time with tight ends coach Chris Thomsen as well as head coach Mike Norvell.

Morlock likes what FSU has planned for him and those close to his recruitment seem to feel good about where FSU stands. He still has visits scheduled with Auburn, Illinois, and Tennessee but hopes to decide in the next week or two.

Tennessee will likely be the biggest threat here, Morlock has visited them before and it is closer to home with him being from Blairsville GA, just a few hours outside of Knoxville. On a side note, I’m sure it was no coincidence with not one but two tight ends on campus that FSU great Nick O’Leary was in town this weekend. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out, but I get the feeling FSU is in the driver’s seat here.

Shorter TE Kyle Morlock
Shorter TE Kyle Morlock (pic via his Twitter)

TE Jaheim Bell

Kyle Morlock wasn’t the only tight end on campus this weekend highlighting the priority FSU is putting on upgrading the position. They also hosted South Carolina transfer Jaheim Bell who’s more of a versatile player than a traditional big-bodied tight end.

During his career at SC, the 6-foot-3 232-pound former 4-star recruit racked up 55 receptions for 752 yards and 7 touchdowns. He had an impressive 85.7% reception rate, above average PFF grades in ’21 & ’22, and is currently the #1 ranked tight end in the portal.

Bell played high school football in Valdosta which is right up the road from FSU and should help in his decision being so close to home. We do know he likes how FSU will feature him in this offense at multiple positions, Bell even played in 4 games as a running back for South Carolina. This is the versatility we talked about earlier.

However, Bell has kept things low key requesting not to have photos taken or anything which I kind of like. I’ve talked about before how we often see transfers are more about business than the glitz and glamor side of recruiting. From what I gather FSU is in a good position and Bell has already received predictions to land in Tallahassee.

In a bit of an odd twist, on Sunday Bell’s merch website was seen featuring FSU-inspired gear for sale already. It got so much traction that he made a comment on social media about his site being hacked. I’m not sure how much to read into it but I can say as someone who runs a website, it feels unlikely that someone designed FSU gear specifically for him, hacked his website, and then listed it just like all his other merch…

FSU gear in Jaheim Bell's store

I’m not saying it’s impossible and if so would be one of the stranger recruiting developments I’ve seen. It was probably an accidental early push to the live website. I just hope it catching attention on social media doesn’t backfire with a guy who doesn’t seem to want the attention. Either way, I still think FSU is the front-runner for Bell currently and would be a nice get for the Noles if they land him.

OL Jeremiah Byers

FSU hosted 6-foot-5 315-pound UTEP offensive line transfer, Jeremiah Byers, Jeremiah Byers on an official visit this weekend. Byers was a first-team all-conference player last season with an impressive PFF grade of 81.2 and only allowed 8 total pressures and 1 sack all last season.

He has almost 2,000 snaps of experience during his career and would be a good addition for FSU who will be looking to replace a few pieces that are departing from the interior offensive line.

It appears that Byers enjoyed his time on campus and bonded with Alex Atkins. The strides Florida State’s offensive line has made and the development of players under Atkins should be huge selling points here.

We already know about Atkins’s elite recruiting ability, so you have to feel good about anyone he goes after landing at FSU. However, Byers has recently picked up additional offers from some big-name power 5 programs so there will be competition. FSU should be in a good position with Byers, but we’ll have to wait and see if he decides to take a few more visits before he makes a decision.

LB Kamren Robinson

Class of 2023 Virginia commit Kamren Robinson was on campus to visit FSU this weekend. The 6-foot-2 215-pound linebacker out of Tappahannock, VA seemed to enjoy his time in Tallahassee.

His post-visit comments reflected how much he enjoyed his time with linebackers coach Randy Shannon and head coach Mike Norvell. He also enjoyed some of the unique bonding activities like the cooking competition and was also impressed by the facilities at FSU.

Robinson may have come away from this visit impressed by what the Noles have to offer but a possible flip will have to wait as he is taking a visit to South Carolina this weekend before he makes a decision and technically is still committed to UVA.

I do think when you look at the three programs involved it will end up being a decision between FSU and USC but UVA is still the closest to home and has great academics. Kam mentioned that he’s going to take his visit to South Carolina and then try to boil everything down to make a decision. Sometimes recruiting can be a confusing nut to crack with kids being a prisoner of the moment, but if you like to read tea leaves, I’ll just leave this message that he posted here…

Kamren Robinson IG post
(Pic via Kam Robinsons IG)

DE Ruben Bain

One of the bigger targets on campus for FSU this weekend was 6-foot-2 250-pound 4-star Edge defender Ruben Bain. Bain is going to be a tough haul hailing from Miami which is the other school FSU is competing with for his commitment.

Bain has been on campus multiple times at FSU, but no visit may have been more crucial than this one with his commitment date just around the corner on December 16th. Bain commented post-visit about how much he liked Mike Norvell’s consistent energy and the time he spent watching film with defensive ends coach John Papuchis. He’s big on player development and one would have to think with Florida State’s run of success at the defensive end position that would be a huge selling point.

In true Norvell fashion, no detail was left unchecked. FSU celebrated his mother’s birthday which was a few days before the visit and left a personal touch on the visit.

Bain does have a few familiar faces to turn to at FSU in former Miami Central high school teammates Maurice Smith and Daughtry Richardson. Bain mentioned that FSU was currently in his top 2 alongside Miami who is currently projected to land his services. This one feels like FSU did everything it had to, but he may just be too hard to pull out of the 305.

However, one thing to keep in mind in the current landscape of college football, with the portal no recruitment is over even after a decision is made. If Bain does choose Miami, there’s always the possibility he could end up at FSU down the road if the wheels keep falling off at Miami…even though after 2022 I’m not sure they have any wheels left to fall off.

Visit pics via Bains IG story

DB Conrad Hussey

Florida State hosted 6-foot 185-pound 4-star defensive back, Conrad Hussey, this weekend. Hussey is currently committed to Penn State but could certainly be on flip watch as he hails from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida giving FSU a decided geographical advantage. One other advantage is that Hussey grew up a fan of the Noles too.

His post-visit comments indicate that he was a big fan of the family atmosphere at FSU and mentioned how most of the conversations weren’t even about football. He also liked what FSU had to offer by way of academics and was able to connect with fellow St. Thomas Aquinas alum Julian Armella. Hussey is still committed to Penn State which is a good program and James Franklin is a good recruiter so this one won’t be an easy flip.

However, with no other visits planned currently (including to PSU) and a commitment date of December 21st, it feels this will come down to FSU and PSU with FSU getting him on campus last. This is certainly a player that could be on flip watch for the Noles.

Conrad Hussey inside Doak Campbell Stadium
Conrad Hussey inside Doak Campbell Stadium

DB Davonte Brown

Florida State got a two-for-one special this weekend while hosting UCF transfer defensive back Davonte Brown on an official visit and getting his younger brother Damari Brown (a four-star DB) on an unofficial visit as well. There’s no guarantee the two would be a package deal and Damari is currently predicted to land at Miami, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the Noles chances to land both.

The 6-foot-2 185 -pound corner has almost 1,900 snaps of experience and recorded 30 total tackles, 2 interceptions, and only allowed a 48.1% reception rate in 2022. He also had an impressive PFF grade of 82.3 in 2021.

The good news for FSU is they have a secret weapon in Tatum Bethune to take point on the recruitment. Bethune was a teammate of his at UCF before transferring to FSU and that will certainly have an influence here, especially with Tatum already announcing he’ll be back for 2023.

Bethune relayed how happy he was with the decision to become a Seminole and how the staff has helped him develop. Brown commented on how he can see himself in this defense the way Adam Fuller likes to use his DBs. He feels that man coverage, press style play are what he does best.

Brown has other programs that are interested, but FSU certainly made a good impression, and with an ace up their sleeve in Tatum Bethune you have to feel good about where the Noles stand with him. He would be a welcomed veteran addition to help sure up this secondary for next season and could also give them an edge in his younger brother’s decision.

Damari & Davonte Brown
Damari & Davonte Brown

DB Edwin Joseph

Last but certainly not least was 6-foot 182-pound four-star defensive back Edwin Joseph out of Hollywood, FL. This was Joseph’s third visit to FSU and in his own words probably the best of all being an official visit.

He was not coy when commenting about loving everything about the visit and where the Noles stand in his recruitment stating they were at the top of his list where they had been for some time now.

Current 5-star FSU commit Hykeem Williams was also getting involved by checking in with Joseph throughout the weekend. Joseph has been impressed with the Noles improvement on the field and has a good relationship with FSU defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson.

With no other visits currently planned and a decision coming next week this one feels primed to go in favor of the good guys, but only time will tell as some recruiting services still show Miami as the favorite. However, Joseph did reference FSU’s 45-3 beatdown of the Hurricanes just maybe in a little softer wording than that.

Edwin Joseph, Conrad Hussey & Damari Brown during FSU photo shoot

Wrapping up

This was a big weekend for FSU but it’s just the beginning. The FSU staff will be hitting the road this week to complete some in-home visits as they also prepare to host more recruits next weekend as well. 

I feel this staff does a good job of getting kids on campus and making a good impression. We know Norvell has always been detail-oriented and the program has a family-first approach. The recruits enjoyed things like seeing the team practice inside Doak Campbell Stadium as well as a trip to Norvell’s house to play a little basketball. 

One thing I’ve often talked about is their ability to get big-time recruits on campus but there still being some hesitation by the players wanting to see FSU make progress on the field. With FSU having a turnaround season in 2022 and being set up for what appears to be a big 2023 season FSU should be able to start landing more of these guys. 

Also, consider FSU is now able to get a seat at the head of the NIL table and this could translate into some recruiting success. While only time will tell, FSU seems to be in a good position for some of these guys and could make for some interesting decisions coming up. We’ll be back in touch with any developments as they occur but for now, we’ll wrap it up here. Thanks for reading and Go Noles!!

Enjoy this article? Share it on social media so others can too! We thank you for your support.

PTS podcast logo

Be sure to check out the Plant The Spear Podcast for those who bleed garnet and gold!