Willie Taggart has brought with him to Tallahassee what has worked for him at each stop of his coaching career. The culmination of the summer recruiting cycle going into fall camp was FSU’s “Saturday Night Live” elite camp held this past weekend.
It was a big, ballsy event to match UF’s “Friday Night Lights,” Miami’s “Paradise Camp,” Alabama’s summer cookout and other similar events meant to attract the commitments of the top of the top athletes who were invited.
We found out that even after a 7-6 season, FSU is still a draw. Across the board, FSU clearly had higher rated prospects coming in from all over the nation. There were just over 100 athletes who attended, receiving a chance to be coached-up on a more personal level by Taggart and staff.
Much was made of what it was or wasn’t going to be, but my overall assessment of it was a smashing success that will get better with time.
— Denny Thompson (@denny_thompson) July 29, 2018
The energy was the biggest thing that I heard.
FSU was able to evaluate talent and replicate a game day atmosphere that gave recruits an idea of what to expect if they line it up inside of Doak on Saturdays. It wasn’t as well-attended by fans as was hoped, but I’ll address that and my critiques of the event in a minute. Still, almost every athlete who left the actual football portion of the event raved about how different it was than other camps they’ve attended.
This was more than an opportunity to compete with other top athletes. It was an opportunity to see how FSU is trying to brand the family concept and really push how FSU can impact the student athlete from an all-around standpoint.
Something lost in FSU’s athletic success is how well it’s student athletes have done both on and off the field. I personally know two Rhodes scholars in All-American track athlete Garret Johnson and former Tennessee Titan Myron Rolle. Former starting center David Castillo is one of many who are very successful in a number of professions. They were able to be great athletes and amazing students.
These are among the benefits of Florida State that stand out to top prospects like Nakobe Dean. His mom pretty much gushed over the event stating that, at this point, if it were up to her, he’d sign to FSU.
Which brings me to the next major key to the Taggart recruiting strategy: involving the entire family in recruiting process.
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