Building the Board: FSU about to land best linebacker class in recent history in 2025

In 2025, the Seminoles have a strong linebacker group.

The candidates Florida State is priotizing at each position in the 2025 recruiting season are highlighted in the Building the Board series.

Fans of FSU are usually incensed over high school linebacker recruiting since the Seminoles haven’t performed well in recent cycles of recruiting.

Could 2025 be the year that FSU recruits multiple elite linebackers from the prep ranks? There is currently one commit in the boat, and the board is full of excellent players.

NUMBERS: In the 2025 recruiting class, I predict that FSU will select two or three linebacker talents.

COMMITS: 1 Sanford (Fla.) Seminole linebacker Ethan Pritchard, a four-star recruit

Pritchard committed to FSU immediately following the team’s victory over the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in November of last year. Prior to that visit, Pritchard had been leaning toward the Seminoles, but the atmosphere of the game and his close relationship with FSU’s coaching staff convinced him to sign with its 2025 recruiting class. Pritchard is still being recruited by other institutions; he is a standout linebacker in coverage.

TARGETS: Schley County, Georgia’s Zayden Walker, a five-star linebacker.

Walker is still leaning toward either Georgia or Miami, so it’s difficult for me to say Florida State will land him. But FSU is a primary choice for him, and I anticipate that he will pay the school an official visit in June. He was most recently on campus for a junior day in January, and since he is perhaps the best linebacker on this board, he is projected to be the top linebacker prospect in the nation in 2025.

TJ Alford, a four-star linebacker from Vero Beach, Fla.

Alford currently favors three programs, none of which included FSU, according to the most recent check. He told reporters in January the three schools he preferred: Miami, Ohio State, and UCF. Could his visit to FSU this spring change the course of his recruitment? It is quite definitely feasible. I’m sure the ‘Noles will keep trying to become engaged in Alford’s fiercely competitive recruitment since they recognize how highly valued his skill set is.

Tavion Wallace, a four-star linebacker from Wayne County, Ga.

Wallace, who the ‘Noles have been pursuing for more than a year, is perhaps the talent FSU has the best chance of landing on this list at this time. More times than any other program involved in his recruitment, Wallace has visited Tallahassee. FSU is still ahead for him. He grew up preferring two colleges, which are the subject of these two programs to monitor as potential challenges to the ‘Noles. He received a fantastic offer a few months ago, and LSU will welcome him to campus in March. The university he has always supported, Florida, is now part of his recruitment picture. Georgia is involved as well.

Zaydrius Rainey-Sale, a four-star linebacker, from Bethel, Washington

It was thought for a while that Rainey-Sale was close to committing to Florida State. But once head coach Kalen DeBoer left for Alabama, he decommitted from UW and committed to his hometown Washington Huskies. It appears that he has halted his recruitment efforts and slowed down to incorporate other projects. Since he was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and has close ties to the region, general manager Darrick Yray serves as FSU’s point of contact with Oakland.

Ty Jackson, a four-star linebacker from Seminole Ridge, Florida

Although Jackson is somewhat of an unknown prospect, FSU is rather impressed with his abilities. He’s moving sideline to sideline with ease and returning kicks for touchdowns on special teams, according to the footage. The Seminoles have always admired him for his outstanding athleticism. For Jackson, Miami, Penn State, and Florida are all in the running.

Riley Pettijohn, a four-star linebacker, McKinney, Texas

FSU doesn’t frequently cross into Texas, but in Pettijohn’s instance, it makes sense. Several members of his family have attended FAMU in Tallahassee, either currently or in the past. Florida State is Pettijohn’s favorite, but the standout linebacker also listed Texas, Ohio State, Georgia, USC, and Texas A&M among his top six. Winnable recruitment will be difficult given the involvement of nearly all power programs. However, the ‘Noles do have a chance, particularly in light of his familial ties to Tallahassee.

Four-star linebacker Elijah Barnes — Skyline (Tex.)

Barnes is another Texas-based linebacker prospect that FSU is involved with. They’ve been recruiting him for a long time as well and linebackers coach Randy Shannon along with tight ends coach Chris Thomsen have developed strong relationships with Barnes and his family. FSU needs to get him on campus this spring to continue to have a shot in his recruitment — which features programs like Texas, Texas A&M and Ohio State.

Four-star linebacker Gavin Nix — IMG Academy (Fla.)

Nix is another linebacker prospect that FSU has been recruiting for over a year now. He posseses a shorter, compact build at linebacker but he’s very athletic and someone the coaching staff at FSU has liked for a while. Nix is also being heavily recruited by Miami, Florida, Texas and many other programs across the country.

Four-star linebacker Jaedon Harmon — Rome (Ga.)

It may be tough to beat Clemson, the 247Sports Crystal Ball favorite, for Harmon. FSU did recently offer the blue-chip ‘backer out of the Peach State and he subsequently made a visit to Tallahassee at the beginning of February. Harmon will likely return to FSU in the spring and the ‘Noles could secure an official visit from him if they continue to push heavily for his services.

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