FSU football recruiting: 2024 Defensive End outlook

FSU special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach John Papuchis.Img 4318
FSU special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach John Papuchis.Img 4318 /
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(Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images) /

FSU football has had some great defensive end players in recent years with the transfer acquisitions of Jermaine Johnson II (70 tackles, 18 tackles for loss with 12 sacks in 2021) and Jared Verse (48 tackles, 17 tackles for loss with nine sacks in 2022). However, this will most likely be the final season in Tallahassee for Verse as he looks to strengthen his resume for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Florida State has capable pass rushers behind Verse in redshirt junior Gilber Edmond, redshirt sophomores Patrick Payton, Byron Turner Jr., and Jaden Jones as well as redshirt freshman Aaron Hester and true freshman Lamont Green Jr. But, as we all know, the coaching staff needs to continue acquiring talent via the transfer portal as well as on the recruiting trail.

Unfortunately, during the 2022 recruiting cycle, the Seminoles didn’t sign talented four-star pass rusher Keldric Faulk, who ended up choosing the home-state Auburn Tigers during the Early Signing Period. While, it did not impact success on the field during the 2022 season, it still would have been nice to acquire such a talented prospect for when Verse (and potentially Payton) declares for the NFL Draft.

With that said, FSU is still searching for its first defensive end prospect in its 2024 recruiting class. Four pass-rushing targets need to be monitored for the Seminoles in four-stars Dylan Stephenson, Kamarion Franklin, LJ McCray, and DD Holmes.


Stephenson currently attends Columbus High School in Miami, Florida. The Seminoles were one of the talented pass rusher’s first-ever offers on March 2, 2021. The interest is mutual between Florida State and Stephenson, as he has visited campus four times since he received the offer. FSU football will have its chance to impress the Miami native this summer as he will officially visit the Noles on June 23, 2023.


Franklin seems like a long shot at this time, but this is a prospect the Seminoles like quite a bit. Most quality players from Mississippi stay closer to home, and many schools have been actively recruiting him. In his junior season, he set Lake Cormorant High School’s single-season sack record with 19 sacks. Franklin visited Florida State for an unofficial visit back on March 10, 2023. However, he has official visits scheduled for Miami (June 2nd) and Tennessee (June 16th). Can Florida State get him back on campus for an official visit?


McCray is another prospect they offered early on in the recruiting process back on May 24, 2022. The interest is certainly there with him as he has visited the Seminoles twice in the spring. The talented defensive lineman from Daytona Beach continues to build his frame as he is now listed at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds. He could be a prospect that ends up playing a hybrid defensive end/defensive tackle role if he were to play at FSU. However, arch-rival Florida is a team to monitor in his recruitment, as they have also had two unofficial visits from McCray this spring.


Holmes finally came to Tallahassee for an unofficial visit on April 4, 2023. Defensive ends coach John Papuchis has been building a relationship with the talented pass rusher thus far. However, the Seminoles have some company in his recruitment, with schools such as Penn State and Texas offering scholarships to him this spring. It seems FSU football is in a good spot for him and could secure his commitment if the staff pushed hard for one.

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