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LBs coach Woodie could have major impact on '18 class, beyond

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LB coach Raymond Woodie is a major boost for the Noles in recruiting

Although he wasn't officially introduced as Florida State's linebackers coach until this week, the first reports of Raymond Woodie's hiring started to leak out around Dec. 19.

That timing was important, considering the NCAA's new early signing period began on Dec. 20. And the fact that the Seminoles landed four-star defensive back Isaiah Bolden during that period should have come as little surprise, since it was his relationship with Woodie and head coach Willie Taggart that played a major role in his earlier commitment to Oregon.

Once those coaches moved to Florida State, Bolden's flip seemed like little more than a formality. And there is likely more where that came from.

While things on the recruiting front have been quiet since the early signing period, that will change next week when the dead period comes to an end on Jan. 12.

By that point, Taggart is expected to have his entire coaching staff in place, but no assistant will be more important to this first class than Woodie. The longtime Taggart assistant is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the country, and he will be especially helpful in the Tampa area, which has been challenging for Florida State in recent years.

While Taggart and Woodie are both originally from Palmetto, Fla., which sits just north of Bradenton and about 45 minutes south of Tampa, Woodie's roots in the area run a little bit deeper. He not only played high school football there, but he went on to be a high school coach at his alma mater, Palmetto High, and then coached for many years at Bayshore High in Bradenton.

He later would join Taggart's staff at USF, where he would become a force on the recruiting trail, signing key central Florida prospects like RB Marlon Mack, WR Rodney Adams, and LB Nigel Harris. All three played major roles in Taggart's turnaround of the USF program, and Rivals named Woodie its American Athletic Conference recruiter of the year in 2014.

"I would say with Raymond, it's about his ability to build a personable bond and also connect with a lot of the kids," said longtime Plant head coach Robert Weiner, who is arguably the most prominent high school coach in the Tampa area. "He's very genuine about what he looks for and expects from his players. But also the culture he brings to any place he's at."

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