Class of 2015 prospect Kendrick Norton, a 4-star recruit who could play either defensive tackle or offensive guard at the next level, has decommited from the Florida State Seminoles and will pursue other options—most likely in the SEC.
Norton committed to the Seminoles in January and told Chris Nee of 247Sports (subscription required) that he was "pretty solid" with them in the middle of May, but he sent out this tweet Wednesday evening:
I'm announcing my decommitment from fsu. I wish them the best of lck in the future and with there recruiting process nothing but respect.— Kendrick Norton (@norton_kendrick) June 4, 2014
Norton is the No. 235 overall player and No. 12 offensive guard on the 247Sports Composite. His future, however, may lie on the defensive side of the ball, where his size (6'3", 305 lbs) and burst would make for a good three-technique tackle in a 4-3 defense.
According to Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports (subscription required), Norton has visited Auburn twice and plans on returning again. The Jacksonville native has also been targeted by Florida, which is where all five votes on the 247Sports "Crystal Ball" currently have him going.
As for Florida State, the loss of Norton hurts because the defensive tackle crop is weak in the Sunshine State this cycle. Even before Norton's decommitment, Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation wrote about where the Seminoles must look for help in the trenches:
It is even more important that 2014 signee Demarcus Christmas makes it in to school academically. He's set to report the third week in June with the rest of the summer enrollees, and while people were worried about him not making it in, I have not heard anything truly negative about his chances, which I'll take as a positive sign.
FSU also continues to chase other top defensive tackles, like five-stars Shy Tuttle (who is very tight with North Carolina four-star defensive end Jalen Dalton, also being recruited by FSU) and Tim Settle, and JUCO defensive tackle D.J. Jones.
Tomahawk Nation has long expected Florida State to take a JUCO player at defensive tackle, and that's a spot where JUCO players often emerge later in the process.
Florida State still has 11 players committed this cycle, but Norton was its third-highest-rated before this announcement. Currently, the Seminoles' top four committed players are all defensive backs.
The class also includes a pair of offensive guards, Cole Minshew and David Robbins, but zero defensive linemen. As a result of this decision, Florida State was leapfrogged by South Carolina in the 247Sports team rankings, moving down one spot from No. 7 to No. 8.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT