Choosing a college football coach is all about the long-term vision and plan for a program.
But it would be wrong to ignore the short-term ramifications, too. This is where the decision to promote Odell Haggins could come into play.
FSU’s current players have until mid-January to make a decision on entering the NFL Draft. Some, of course, may have already made up their minds. Many will be looking to get an evaluation from the NFL Draft Advisory committee in December. And others will see a decision that is weighed in part by who their head coach will be in 2020.
“If Coach Odell gets the head position, a lot of guys are going to be happy,” receiver Tamorrion Terry said. “He’s going to turn a lot of guys around, turn recruiting around. A lot of things around. And maybe some people are going to stay.”
Terry, Cory Durden and other Seminoles are among a large group who have been vocal in their support of Haggins in postgame interviews on Saturday or in the last week on social media.
Whether Haggins is the choice or FSU picks a head coach or coordinator, players will want to know how they could be utilized within the offense or defense. How can an extra season in Tallahassee improve the team in 2020 but also help them mature and improve their draft stock? Some players may also evaluate whether they should stay or enter the transfer portal, too.
Terry presents an interesting evaluation, especially as a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore. He has just about everything that NFL teams are looking for, from the 6-foot-4 frame to the sprinter speed to two years of very good games to evaluate. Could his hands be more consistent? Yes. Could an extra year in Tallahassee help both Terry and the Seminoles? Yes.
FSU fans are right to presume that junior tailback Cam Akers and junior defensive tackle Marvin Wilson have likely played their final games in Doak Campbell Stadium (although neither has declared their intentions). Neither are sure-thing first-round picks, especially at positions that are typically quite deep with talent. But both are possible selections in the second or third round, depending on how they perform at the NFL Combine, FSU’s Pro Day and in personal workouts.
Among the others who could be weighing their options include junior safety Hamsah Nasirildeen, junior tight end Tre’ McKitty and Durden.
“He’s a great leader,” Durden said. “I feel like it wouldn’t be as much of a coaching change. I feel like everybody has bought in, just within the two weeks that we’ve had him and he’s been our coach, everybody has bought in already. He has won the team over – that’s the biggest thing. He has support from underclassmen to upperclassmen, so I feel like it’s a no brainer with this coaching decision.”
Recruits in the 2020 class are also awaiting a decision. It’s fair to state that they are in wait-and-see mode as to who FSU administrators name as the next head coach.
The timeframe that athletics director David Coburn has stated is the end of November or possibly the first few days of December. Making a hire is critical in securing FSU’s signing class as many of those will make a decision during the early signing period on Dec. 18-20.
Led by quarterback Jeff Sims, receiver Malachi Wideman, running back Lawrance Toafili and cornerback Demorie Tate, FSU’s 2020 class is ranked 18th in the nation by 247Sports. FSU has 17 commitments.
FSU has had four de-commitments – running back Jaylan Knighton, cornerback Isaiah Dunson and safeties Jalen Harrell and Derek Bermudez – in the fall. Haggins and the staff have remained in frequent contact with recruits, both signees and prospects, in the past few weeks during the transition from Willie Taggart.
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