WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – One of the nation's top defensive back recruits will be playing for the Seminoles next season. But that isn't stopping other schools from trying to sway him.
Five-star recruit Akeem Dent, who just wrapped up his senior season at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, said Monday night that he's still all in on Florida State, despite its first losing season in 41 years.
Dent said the recruiting process has been "pretty tough" in recent months.
"A lot of schools coming in hard, but it's all good," Dent told Local10.com before the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Banquet, which honors the nation's top college kickers and the top high school football players and coaches in Palm Beach County.
Dent was named Palm Beach County's player of the year.
The college football landscape has seen plenty of change (Alabama not withstanding) since Dent first flipped his commitment from Miami to FSU before the 2017 season.
First, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M last December, parting ways with the program he took over from the legendary Bobby Bowden and built into a national championship team during the 2013 season.
FSU moved quickly to hire Willie Taggart as Fisher's replacement, who scrambled to keep the 2019 recruiting class intact ahead of the first-ever early-signing period just 15 days after he got the job.
Taggart touted his Gulf Coast offense as "lethal simplicity" in the offseason, but it didn't translate into wins on Saturdays in the fall.
Instead, the Seminoles finished 5-7 -- their first losing season since Bowden's first year in 1976 -- and won't play in a bowl game for the first time since 1981. Both streaks were the longest in the country.
That has opened the door for plenty of other schools looking to enter the sweepstakes for Dent.
He has received offers from Alabama, Clemson and Georgia, among other championship-caliber teams, and continues to be pursued by numerous Power Five schools throughout the state and country.
But, Dent said, the other schools aren't panning FSU so much as they are showing him "what they could offer me."
"There wasn't no shade thrown," Dent said.
Although Dent said he still believes in Taggart and his coaching staff -- "I got faith in them," he reaffirmed -- the hybrid cornerback/safety won't sign with the Seminoles until February.
"No I ain't signing early with them, not in December," he said.
While that may be troubling to FSU fans, Dent has not hinted that he's considering playing anywhere other than Tallahassee.
Maybe that's because he saw just how needed he is while he was visiting campus during FSU's blowout loss to Clemson. The 49-point gap was the worst home loss in school history.
Of course, there's plenty of family ties on his side. Dent's cousin was former wide receiver Greg Dent, who played for the Seminoles from 2010-12, and his brother, Adarius Dent, was a walk-on receiver this past season.
If Dent follows through on his commitment, he'll be the fourth Palm Beach County player of the year to suit up for the Seminoles. Anquan Boldin, Antone Smith and Travis Rudolph -- all of whom went on to play in the NFL -- are the others.