As if it didn’t already, reigning national champion Florida State soccer will begin the 2019 season with another target on its chest — a No. 1 national ranking.
The Seminoles received 33 of the 35 first-place votes in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, which was released on Tuesday. The other schools to receive first-place votes were were No. 3 Stanford and No. 6 Penn State — two schools FSU defeated in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
Directly behind FSU was North Carolina. The Seminoles defeated the Tar Heels last season for both the ACC and national championship. Rounding out the top 5 was UCLA and USC.
Despite being preseason No. 1, the Seminoles were actually picked to finish second behind North Carolina in the ACC. FSU received eight of 14 first-place votes, but finished with just 185 points from the ACC’s coaches. North Carolina was picked to win the conference with 188 total points, including the other six first-place votes.
FSU did have more players named to the preseason All-ACC team that any other school with four. MAC Hermann Trophy watch list honorees Deyna Castellanos, Yujie Zhao, Malia Berkely and Jaelin Howell were each named preseason all-conference.
FSU fans are obviously eager for the start of the 2019 season later this month, but of late, head coach Willie Taggart and staff have been making noise on the recruiting trail.
On Wednesday night, the Seminoles moved into the top 10 of the 247Sports Composite team rankings with the addition of 4-star Lawrance Toafili. A 6-foot, 180-pound Pinellas Park product, Toafili is ranked by the Composite as the No. 165 overall player for 2020 and the 13th-best running back.
Since FSU’s Saturday Night Live event in late-July, the Seminoles have landed five players, including two 4-star backs in Jaylan Knighton and Toafili. Knighton is the highest ranked commitment for FSU.
Once outside the top 15, FSU moved to No. 8 in the Composite rankings and now sits at ninth. With the addition of Toafili, FSU jumps its two biggest rivals in Florida and Miami and former head coach Jimbo Fisher’s current school, Texas A&M.
Upcoming: vs. Boise State (Aug. 31, in Jacksonville)
Weekly Commitments: Lawrance Toafili, 4-star RB (No. 165 overall)*
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 9 nationally, second in ACC (21 total commitments)*
Big Picture: FSU will begin the season uranked in the Amway Coaches Poll for the first time since 2008 after finishing 5-7 in 2018.
Weekly Commitments: None
2020 Recruiting Class Ranking: No. 30 nationally, sixth in ACC (1 total commitment)*
Ranking: No. 1 United Soccer Coaches
Upcoming: vs. TCU (Aug. 22)
Recognitions: Deyna Castellanos, F (Preseason All-ACC); Jaelin Howell, M (Preseason All-ACC); Malia Berkely, D/M (Preseason All-ACC); Yujie Zhao, M (Preseason All-ACC)
Big Picture: Defending national champion Florida State will begin its repeat quest on Aug. 22. The Seminoles have a difficult non-conference schedule as they look to become the first team to repeat since Notre Dame in 2009 and 2010.
Upcoming: vs. Wisconsin (Aug. 30, in Chapel Hill)
Recognitions: Peyton Caffrey, OH (Preseason All-ACC); Taryn Knuth, MB (Preseason All-ACC)
Big Picture: Florida State volleyball received two first-place votes in the ACC and should have a chance to unseat Pittsburgh as conference champions. FSU returns ACC Player of the Year, Payton Caffrey.
Former Clemson assistant Steve Smith will join FSU basketball’s staff as an assistant.
FSU swimming and diving announced the hiring of Dan Kesler to the staff as an associate head swimming coach.
FSU women’s tennis has added volunteer assistant coach Ryann Foster to its coaching staff.
FSU announced the addition of the Touchdown Club, which will allow donors to contribute directly to the football program.
FSU volleyball was picked to finish second in the ACC behind Pittsburgh.
Alabama is working to finalize a neutral-site football game with FSU for 2025 in Atlanta.
*247Sports Composite rankings