Florida State football recruiting: Noles edge Colorado for 5-star CB Charles Lester


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Five-star cornerback Charles Lester III committed to Florida State on Friday, becoming the second five-star and 12th blue-chipper in the Seminoles’ class. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Lester is ranked No. 19 overall and No. 2 cornerback in the Class of 2024 in the 247Sports Composite. He is the No. 4 player in the state of Florida.
  • Florida State now has 18 commitments in a class that ranks No. 8 nationally.
  • Lester is the 10th in-state prospect in the Noles’ class.


Lester at one point also considered Alabama and Georgia, but this seems to have come down to a battle between Florida State and Colorado, with Lester confirming on social media on Wednesday that this was a two-team race.

The native of Venice, Fla., Lester took an official visit to Colorado on June 9 followed by an official visit to Florida State on June 16. He then returned to Boulder on Wednesday for an unofficial visit. On Saturday, before the return trip to Colorado, he indicated via social media that he was still struggling with his decision.

What this means for Florida State

Getting Lester is a nice victory for the Seminoles over Deion Sanders, who swiped Travis Hunter away at the last minute from FSU two years ago. From a personnel perspective, Lester isn’t Hunter, who was the No. 1 recruit in his cycle. But he’s one of the best cornerbacks in this year’s class for sure.

The Seminoles signed five defensive backs in the 2023 cycle, led by four-star safety Conrad Hussey, and have four defensive backs in the 2024 class. Lester, though, would be the first five-star cornerback the school has signed since Levonta Taylor in 2016.

Last season at Riverview High in the Sarasota area, he showed his athletic ability on both sides of the ball as both a receiver and coverman, helping lead his team to the third round of the state playoffs with five interceptions on the season. The 2023 FSU defensive backs, coached by first-year position coach Patrick Surtain Jr., are led by transfers. In Lester, the Noles have a homegrown talent they can develop who could also help in keeping other in-state players home. — Navarro

What this means for Colorado

Colorado’s 2024 class has just eight commitments, and Lester would have become the instant headliner had Sanders been able to close him. Unless Sanders wants to indefinitely fill out his roster via the transfer portal (and maybe he does), it’s time to get moving on the recruiting trail. But despite the Buffaloes’ slow start in this cycle, Lester having such a hard time deciding is proof that Sanders and his brand still resonate with top recruits who are curious about what’s going on in Boulder. Even coming in second in this race is still notable for Colorado’s brand, and who knows … maybe Sanders will have something up his sleeve closer to signing day as was the case when he flipped Cormani McClain from Miami.

In the interim, Colorado is in good shape at cornerback. Sanders already landed McClain in the Class of 2023 and he brought along Hunter from Jackson State. Lester still would have made quite the additional splash, though. — Raynor

Required reading

(Photo: Manny Navarro / The Athletic)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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