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Bigger and Better: FSU focused on size, physicality with 2019 DB class

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At 6-foot-2, safety Brendan Gant represents the type of size Florida State wants in its secondary.
At 6-foot-2, safety Brendan Gant represents the type of size Florida State wants in its secondary. (Nick Lucero/

It might not have been the No. 1 criteria Florida State's coaches considered when scouting defensive backs for the Class of 2019, but it was definitely up there.

After watching FSU's cornerbacks and safeties lose a number of one-on-one battles in the red zone last season, the Seminoles decided they had to get bigger in the secondary. As much as they liked the talent of the returning players on their roster, they desperately wanted some taller DBs to contend with the growing number of large, athletic wide receivers in the ACC and across college football.

"We're going against some trees out there as receivers," FSU head coach Willie Taggart said. "And you've got to match that with some other trees -- some tall guys as defensive backs. It seemed like every team we played, they had guys 6-4, 6-5 or better out there."

Of Florida State's top four cornerbacks last season, only Stanford Samuels III checked in as taller than 6-foot -- he is 6-2. Meanwhile, Levonta Taylor and Asante Samuel Jr. were both listed at 5-10, and Kyle Myers was exactly 6-foot.

The Seminoles have signed six defensive backs in the Class of 2019 (they're still waiting on word from longtime commit Nick Cross), and they all have very good size. The top two cornerback signees -- Akeem Dent and Travis Jay -- are listed at 6-1 and 6-2 respectively. And the only one of the six who is shorter than 6-foot is Jarvis Brownlee, and he's 5-11.

The height isn't the only reason FSU's coaches are excited about their DB class, however. With one five-star prospect in Dent, four four-stars and one three-star, the Seminoles have one of the highest-rated secondary groups in the country.

And the Seminoles' coaches also raved about their intangibles.

"I think all those guys are talented, they're all confident," Taggart said. "They all love Florida State. You look at a lot of those guys back there -- they've been committed for awhile, and they didn't budge."

Here's a closer look at FSU's 2019 defensive back class:


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