Florida State is 3-0 for the first time since 2015 and the program is showing real progress under third-year head coach Mike Norvell. The Seminoles are doing exactly what they needed to do to get their foot in the door for some of the nation’s top prospects.
READ MORE: Mike Norvell provides injury updates to Jordan Travis, Jared Verse and others during Monday presser
In 2020 and 2021, FSU dominated the offseason before falling short on the field. This year, the ‘Noles stepped up in big moments and made plays at crucial times to stay undefeated.
Ahead of a Week 4 home contest against Boston College, the coaching staff has a chance to get some wins on the recruiting track.
2023 linebacker Blake Nichelson and 2023 wide receiver Hyeem Williams are both expected to announce their decisions this week. Florida State has been involved with every player for some time.
Nichelson will engage on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 9:30 p.m. EST between FSU, Oregon and UCLA. The Seminoles have been favorites for some time, but the Ducks are making a late push in that recruiting. Oregon welcomed Nichelson for an unofficial visit during their 41-20 win over BYU on Saturday.
Florida State is trying to close things down before the California native decides tonight. General manager of personnel Darrick Yray and linebackers coach Randy Shannon are leading the charge for the Seminoles. Yray hails from the same area as Nichelson and has been tied at the hip with the four-star linebacker during his visits to Tallahassee. Shannon also developed a close relationship with Nichelson.
Mike Norvell has also been quite involved, something Nichelson took note of during his unofficial, multi-day visit to the state of Florida in late July.
“A lot of head coaches, they only talk to you a few times, not really involved with you,” Nichelson told NoleGameday’s Dustin Lewis. “I’ve noticed, as a head coach he’s very involved with everyone and the rookies and kind of just there for you.”
An important factor for Nichelson is going to a school where he feels comfortable with the people and the environment. He seeks a situation where he can develop and play to his strengths.
“I feel like there are several factors, like people. It’s mostly people because coaches will go somewhere else like that, and if you have those people around you like fans and friends, everything that,” Nichelson said. “It’s a big factor because they’ll be the ones who will be with you all the way. Then basically where will be the best for me and my career, like wherever I’m going to grow and grow to be the best possible player.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound linebacker also plays running back at the high school level. He recorded 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble and 3.5 sacks on defense while adding 54 rushes for 872 yards and ten touchdowns along with 9 catches for 164 yards and four other scores on offense.
Nichelson is considered the No. 132 overall prospect, No. 11 LB and No. 11 prospect at California State in the 2023 class according to 247Sports.
Williams will announce his decision a few days later on Friday, Sept. 23 at 2:25 p.m. EST between Florida State, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, Georgia, Miami and Alabama. The three schools with the most momentum appear to be the Seminoles, Aggies and Panthers.
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The Florida native traveled to New Orleans to watch Florida State defeat LSU at Caesars Dome. He was also present for Pittsburgh’s home loss to Tennessee on Sept. 10 and Texas A&M’s win over Miami last weekend. The Aggies pushed hard but Williams left College Station without committing.
The Seminoles gave themselves a legitimate chance to land Williams after displaying improved passing offense and on-court success, something he has said in the past he wants to see from Florida State.
Both Norvell and wide receivers coach Ron Dugans have a good relationship with Williams and his family. Additionally, real freshman linebacker Omar Graham Jr. is one of his former high school teammates and friends. He likes the sincerity of the coaching staff in their approach, which he detailed during a multi-day visit at the end of the summer.
“They’re just real. All the coaches, they’re real, they’re not going to lie,” Williams told NoleGameday’s Dustin Lewis. “So, like, Florida State, all the staff, the players, they’re all working for one thing and they’re going to work.”
Those connections will be key to Florida State’s chances of landing Williams. His relationship with the coaches and players of his school of choice and his comfort will be the difference in his decision.
“Having that connection with whoever I want. Being comfortable,” Williams said. “Having a great relationship with the coaches, the players. Making sure I’ve been there and I’m comfortable there rather than in conversations.”
Based on conversations with people familiar with the decision, Williams is expected to keep things close to the vest ahead of his announcement. He doesn’t plan to let the coaching staff know where he will commit until Friday. They will need to connect to the live stream like everyone else.
This recruiting won’t be complete once Williams chooses a school. It is possible that he will travel to Texas A&M and Alabama as the season progresses. Williams has a scheduled official visit to Tallahassee on Friday, Nov. 25 when the Seminoles take on the Florida Gators. He’ll be at Florida State for an unofficial visit before then, likely when the team takes on Clemson in October.
Norvell and Dugans were in Fort Lauderdale to watch Williams’ game during Florida State’s BYE week. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver caught 40 passes for 750 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. He is considered the No. 26 overall prospect, No. 5 WR and No. 6 rookie at Florida State in the 2023 class according to 247Sports.
The additions of Nichelson and Williams would move Florida State from No. 22 to No. 15 in the team rankings for the 2023 class.
READ MORE: Florida State knocks out Louisville to 3-0 for first time since 2015
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