Florida State Seminoles: Jacob Pugh

FSU instant impacts: Kain Daub

February, 21, 2014
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Jimbo Fisher closed out his fifth straight top-10 recruiting class earlier this month, but as he’s shown in years past, that doesn’t necessarily mean a bevy of big contributions from the incoming freshmen.

Some seasons, like 2011, Florida State relied heavily on the new recruits. Others, like 2012, only a select few saw routine playing time.

This week, we dig into the Class of 2014 to project which of the newest group of Seminoles project to make an instant impact on the field this season.

We’ve already looked at DT Demarcus Christmas, RB Dalvin Cook, DB Trey Marshall and FSU’s wide receivers.

Last up: LB Kain Daub

[+] EnlargeKain Daub
Courtesy of IntersportKain Daub's ability to contribute in several areas means he'll see the field for Florida State.
The player: A four-star prospect out of Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood High, Daub arrives as one of the key members of FSU’s 2014 signing class. At 6-foot-4, 243 pounds, Daub excels as a pass rusher and run defender. While his skills in coverage still need some refinement, he’s got the versatility to work as either an inside backer or a pass rusher/OLB, depending on Florida State’s needs. During his final three years in high school, he racked up 22 sacks. As an early enrollee, he’ll be in the mix this spring with several jobs in the linebacking corps up for grabs.

The need: After three years of relative consistency at the position, Florida State’s linebacker corps is getting a nearly complete makeover in 2014. Gone are seniors Telvin Smith and Christian Jones, leaving only junior Terrance Smith with starting experience among the group. Last year’s position coach, Charles Kelly, is also moving to the secondary as he takes over as coordinator this year, and FSU has yet to officially announce his replacement. Fisher suggested Kelly will stick with a defensive scheme similar to the one Jeremy Pruitt ran in 2013, but that’s certainly not set in stone either -- meaning the amount of time FSU spends in a 3-4 vs. a 4-3 look isn’t entirely settled either.

The competition: There are a lot of job openings among the linebackers, but there’s also some stiff competition. It’s a deep group, despite being short on experience. Among the inside LBs, Reggie Northrup is the most experienced, having gained valuable reps in reserve duty in each of the past two seasons. E.J. Levenberry impressed as a true freshman in 2013, too. Among the outside linebackers/edge rushers, Ukeme Eligwe and Matthew Thomas both figure to push for playing time this spring. When fall camp opens, two more members of a talented signing class -- Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy -- join the mix as well.

The prediction: Daub has a lot going for him in the battle for playing time at linebacker. His versatility as either an inside or outside LB provides FSU’s coaches with options. His arrival in time for spring practice gives him a chance to settle into the scheme. But more than anything, his pure talent should make him a player worth watching. Attrition sapped a lot of veteran talent from the linebacking corps for several years, but Florida State’s past two recruiting classes have restocked the coffers, meaning the competition will be stiff for Daub. But his lack of experience won’t be held against him, and his ability to contribute in several areas -- including on special teams -- puts him in good position to see the field routinely, even if a starting job isn’t in the cards.

Top position classes: LB 

February, 17, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
The Alabama Crimson Tide’s 2014 class fill just about every need on the board, and that includes linebacker. With designs on addressing pass rushing and the ability to play in space on the edge at outside 'backer in Nick Saban’s 3-4 scheme, Alabama signed the Nos. 1 and No. 2 outside linebackers in the country in No. 48 overall Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) and No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), who is pound for pound of the best pure athletes in the 2014 cycle. The Crimson Tide added two more talented linebackers in ESPN 300’s No. 102 Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) and No. 281 Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest). Hamilton is an MLB.

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best linebacker class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

FSU room to improve: Linebacker

February, 11, 2014
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The celebration of a BCS championship victory is in the rearview mirror for Florida State, and Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston and Co. have already turned their attention toward adding another trophy in 2014. So as Florida State prepares for spring practice, we’re digging into the biggest questions, position battles and storylines facing the defending national champs.

This week, we’ll look at the five position groups with the biggest question marks looming in advance of spring practice.

Matthew Thomas
Courtesy of Florida StateMatthew Thomas, who showed promise in 2013 before an injury, could be in line for a big role in 2014.
Previously, we reviewed the running backs.

Next up: Linebackers

Projected starters: Terrance Smith (RS Jr.), Reggie Northrup (Jr.), Matthew Thomas (RS Fr.)

After years of stability at linebacker, Florida State undergoes a massive transition in 2014, with Smith the lone holdover among the starters. Smith started in nine of the final 10 games of the season in 2013 and finished fourth on the team with 59 tackles. He has a similar body type and playing style to Telvin Smith, but he lacks the experience. Meanwhile, Thomas projects as perhaps the best option to replace Jones in the hybrid rusher/backer role, and Northrup is the most experienced of an incredibly green group filling out the starting lineup.

Strength in numbers: E.J. Levenberry (So.), Ro’Derrick Hoskins (RS Fr.), Nigel Terrell (RS Sr.), Ukeme Eligwe (RS So.)

There’s ample talent here, but these players haven't accrued serious playing time. Levenberry figures to push Northrup after turning in some impressive late-game performances in 2013. Meanwhile, Eligwe has a ton of upside and could fit in several roles for Charles Kelly’s new defense. The problem is, all that talent is still somewhat of a mystery. FSU's linebackers have a combined 176 career tackles, with 12.5 for a loss -- numbers rivaled by Telvin Smith's past two seasons alone.

New on the scene: Kain Daub (Fr.), Jacob Pugh (Fr.), Delvin Purifoy (Fr.)

Daub is an early enrollee and an ESPN 300 member. The extra experience this spring could put him in the mix for regular reps or, perhaps, a starting job at inside linebacker. Purifoy could push for playing time on the outside, too, after racking up 102 tackles as a senior at Pensacola Catholic. Pugh starred locally at Godby High in Tallahassee, and even he can’t be written off as an immediate contributor.

What to watch: With two longtime starters departed and a host of young talent on the roster for the spring, few position groups will warrant as much close attention for FSU as the linebackers. Terrance Smith projects as the only sure thing in the group -- and even that is far from set in stone -- and to add some extra intrigue to the depth-chart shuffling, FSU has yet to hire a linebackers coach after shifting Charles Kelly to the secondary when he was promoted to defensive coordinator. There’s virtually nothing settled here, but there’s so much potential among the young players that it ought to be plenty of fun for FSU to see how it all shakes out.

Recruit and return: Florida State 

January, 7, 2014
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Florida State played in the first BCS championship game. It could play in the first championship decided by a playoff, too.

Monday, they beat Auburn for the final BCS title. The Noles will go for a second straight title in 2014 and they bring back several key pieces next season, most notably quarterback Jameis Winston. They will suffer some departures from central players, but a loaded recruiting class ranked in the top five should add depth throughout the roster.

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Under Armour game storylines: ACC 

December, 5, 2013
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The rosters are set, plane tickets purchased and coaching staffs assembled. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is less than a month away.

Deshaun Watson
Courtesy of IntersportDeshaun Watson could be the starter from Day 1 at Clemson.
With nearly all of the country’s elite prospects all together, there are bountiful storylines leading up to and during the Jan. 2 game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Here are five for ACC fans:

1. Will Deshaun Watson follow the footsteps of Jameis Winston and Christian Hackenberg? Both Winston and Hackenberg were the No. 1 quarterbacks in their respective classes and played in the Under Armour Game. Both then went on to have great freshman seasons (Winston after a redshirt year) and have their teams in position to make waves on a national level the next few seasons. Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) is the No. 1 quarterback for 2014 and will enter a similar situation to Hackenberg’s. Clemson will have an opening at quarterback in 2014, and Watson will enroll at Clemson following the game. He will have to beat out 2012 Under Armour All-American Chad Kelly, but there is a legitimate chance Watson could be the starter from Day 1 for the Tigers. He is that good.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: With the first edition of this year’s BCS rankings released Sunday, we take a look at how the top five teams in are faring on the college football recruiting trail.


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Best ACC recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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video
Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

The best head coaches are often called the closer when it comes to sealing the deal with recruits. Whether on a visit or a trip to a prospect’s home, the head coach is called upon to secure the signature.

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ACC class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the ACC, check out our conference rankings:

1. Florida State, 24 commits: The Seminoles have the top class in the ACC and the No. 2 class nationally. The class includes 10 ESPN300 prospects, including a trio of linebackers Kain Duab (Jackonsville, Fla./Sandalwood High), Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby High) and Delvin Purifoy (Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola Catholic High). The Semionles could close with a bang with up to 31 or 32 possible in the class. No. 6 Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra High), No. 13 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen High), No. 22 Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara High), No. 28 and Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead High) and a number of others make up the wish list.

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UA Game jersey tour: Jacob Pugh

September, 25, 2013
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Senior linebacker Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby High) was presented his honorary game jersey during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game at Godby High School in Tallahassee, Fla. on Tuesday. The event was part of the three-month selection tour for the UA All-America Game.

[+] EnlargeJacob Pugh
Courtesy of IntersportJacob Pugh will take the field on Jan. 4 as an Under Armour All-American before heading off to Florida State.
Pugh, a Florida State commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, an all-star game spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

“I just want to first off thank God for allowing this to happen,” Pugh said. “I want to thank God for my coach, my team, my mom and I just love my team…and I’m doing this for my team.”

Godby High head coach Ronnie Cottrell says his star player is just as impressive off the field as on it.

“What makes Jacob Pugh special is he’s a fantastic individual,” Cottrell said. “Yes, he’s a tremendous football player and one of the top five in the country at his position. He has great length and great speed, but I think what separates him as a player is his ability to rush the passer. I think that’s what’s going to make him a great player at Florida State and in the All-America Game.

“Jacob Pugh’s just don’t come along every day, and that’s why he is in the game. He’s one of those really special men.”

For Pugh, the decision to play in the Under Armour All-America Game was simple -- it offered the best competition.

“I decided to play in the game because I want to represent my team, represent my coaches and represent my school,” Pugh said. “Also, it was an honor and a privilege to be chosen to compete against some of the nation’s top players. I’m looking forward to competing, that’s all.

The player I’m looking forward to playing against is that No. 1 running back [Leonard Fournette] in the nation. I don’t know his name, but I’m looking forward to tackling him and getting a hold of him.”

The 6-foot-4, 224-pound Pugh is the No. 108 ranked prospect overall and the No. 5 outside linebacker in the class. Pugh committed to Florida State over Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and others.

Best ACC classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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Florida State has the top class among ACC schools right now, but that is taking the Seminoles’ entire 23-recruit class into account. The Noles don’t have the best class at every position, as some of Florida State’s top rivals are looking stronger at certain positions. Here’s a look at which ACC school has the best class by position:

Quarterback

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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

August, 26, 2013
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A couple of ACC commitments came off the board over the weekend. And, more noticeably, high school football returned.

Here is the latest from both on and off the field in ACC recruiting.


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The most important commitment in a team's recruiting class is a purely subjective. Is it the best overall recruit or the commit who fills the biggest need? Is it the lineman that has helped recruit other big-time prospects? And in six months, let alone a year or two, will they still even be on the team?

ACC reporters Corey Dowlar and Jared Shanker take these factors into effect and come up with the most important 2014 commitments for every ACC program.


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Summer recruit wrap: Florida State 

July, 23, 2013
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NoleNation looks at 10 themes of Florida State's 2014 recruiting class to date:


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Who might be FSU's next top picks? 

July, 10, 2013
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On the heels of NoleNation's all-time draft, we'll take a look a little further down the road.

Of course, it is far too early to project a prospect that hasn't even stepped foot on campus to one of the all-time greats at a school that's had a lot of them.

So, for a moment, let's look at three different commitments and targets and see how they might compare.

Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) four-star prospect, No. 85 overall

Daub is an elite inside linebacker prospect.

He's huge. 6-foot-4, 243 pounds, and he can run. Like ESPN's scouting report suggests, he looks the part of a college linebacker right now.

Daub is physical and loves to hit. It's hard to play in the middle without a characteristic like that and a little mean streak.

The four-star prospect isn't a guy that Florida State wants matched up against a running back or tight end on third downs, but he could definitely be a force on a blitz.

The Seminoles’ history of linebackers is long and deep, but most of them are on the outside. Guys like Derrick Brooks and Marvin Jones come to mind.

Even though Sam Cowart played his fair share of outside linebacker at Florida State (Daryl Bush manned the middle at some points during his career), he moved inside in the NFL. Cowart was big, nasty and tough and some comparisons can be drawn between him and Daub, though Daub is a little taller than Cowart was.

Cowart was selected by the Buffalo Bills No. 39 overall and played through 2005.


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FSU instant impact recruits 

June, 25, 2013
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NoleNation takes a look at 10 prospects -- committed or uncommitted -- that could make an immediate impact at Florida State next season.

LB Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood)
HT/WT: 6-foot-3/243 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 36
Not only is Daub one of the top prospects in the state of Florida, he's also going to be an early enrollee. He has been to Tallahassee numerous times since he committed to get familiar with the personnel and coaches. Signs point to him playing in year one.


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