Dozens, if not hundreds, of college coaches at every level of football have descended on Florida State for spring training over the past few weeks, not only to get a fresh look at top talent, but also to determine where their program may fit. the best of the best.
Rivals.com has also been hitting the road lately, with new analysis and discussion of the best in the state who just produced the most NFL draft picks. Many of the best of the class of 2024 remain on the undeclared scoreboard, with official visits and pre-season decisions on the horizon. Many battles feel linear, while others are closer calls at this point.
Focusing on the latter, here are five battles we’re watching more closely than ever as multiple programs continue to push their offseason.
While Florida has been generating buzz recently with Trader and teammate Jeremiah Smith confirming each of the official visit plans to The Swamp, it’s Florida State that has a better shot than many assume. Yes, hometown Miami, as well as Ohio State, have each increased their odds of landing the two-way star over the past six months, but predictions for either may be premature for the moment.
The Seminoles hold the most benefit of the doubt in the Sunshine State right now. At the position Trader prefers, wide receiver, the perception of the program also sets the tone against his state rivals.
Of course, Ohio State is enforcing that pace nationally, and Smith is pushing Trader to join him in Columbus, but a decision isn’t expected here for several months, as other programs also attempt to campaign for a late review.
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The Oklahoma native refers to the Sooners as home and after his first spring game at Norman as a rookie, there’s a narrative that the race for the top 15 rookies overall is all but OR to lose . However, Stone stands as one of the most traveled and open prospects among the national elite, as she has no timetable for a decision and continues to explore several programs under high consideration for more visits.
Florida, Miami, Oregon, Michigan State and Texas A&M are among the programs trailing in this one, with a list of official visits reopened in June yet to be determined outside of a return to Norman at the middle of the month. If there’s a program that could benefit from an indefinite schedule that could push Stone toward an in-season or even playoff decision, keep an eye out for the Florida Gators. No head coach connects with Stone more than Billy Napier Right now.
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The move from mid-Atlantic to central Florida has sparked renewed interest in the SEC country for Seaton. The Big Ten programs swamped his recruiting early on and many remain under high consideration, but there’s a feeling Texas A&M, Florida and Ole Miss will take a closer look — especially without rushing into a commitment decision.
Seaton plans to take the bulk of his official visits in the fall, with a promise closer to the end of the year, so there is still time for many jockey programs for position and to compete beyond the longtime contenders Georgia, Alabama, Michigan and others.
The hybrid defenseman, who holds his own as a wide receiver on Friday nights, leaned early on Georgia as his recruiting blossomed, but a lot has changed since then. Now he works with a top group from Miami, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State and Auburn — but Patterson is adamant that this is his best group as opposed to an endgame group.
As the official visits prepare, the emphasis is on his mother forming her own impression of the programs he has already seen. The initial program worth watching outside of the top group is Alabama, which has been pushing more consistently lately. Coaching changes and a very open schedule with a decision not expected any time soon could leave room for more movement once the summer is over. Georgia isn’t 100% out of the race yet, either.
Another perceived longtime favorite has serious competition with one of the emerging center prospects nationally. Florida State, which signed friend and former Zandamela teammate Lucas Simmons in the 2023 cycle, remains in top form to keep the Mozambique native in the state in which he is ending his prep career, but this is not is not finished. The program potentially pushing FSU the most is USC, which had coaches to see him back on the job during the week, with Oklahoma also built to last in this recruiting. Official visits to all three, each already scheduled for back-to-back weekends in June, will help the versatile talent cut the hair between the trio. If more trips are to be arranged, Georgia, Miami and Oregon could catch up in due course, given that Zandamela wants to verbally commit before the start of his senior season in August.