Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell takes a second to soak in the moment. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Louisville Cardinals 16-6 to claim the ACC Championship title in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Credit: Tallahassee Democrat

The bad news for the Florida State Seminoles continues. Five-star prospect Khalil “K.J.” Bolden, the top-ranked safety in the class of 2024 and the 12th national prospect overall in that class as per Rivals, verbally committed to FSU in August and took his official visit there last week. But on Wednesday, National Signing Day, the Buford High School star announced that he’ll be staying in Georgia and playing for the Bulldogs:


This comes after the Seminoles, undefeated ACC champions with a 13-0 overall record, were controversially left out of the College Football Playoff. And that’s led to even more discussions about them perhaps leaving the ACC.

There’s been quite a bit of discussion about Florida State and conference realignment. School president Richard McCullough was openly talking about that idea as early as last summer, citing the growing revenue disparity between the SEC and Big Ten and the other conferences.

And that realignment talk got a further boost this year despite ACC revenue model shifts in attempts to appease Florida State, Clemson, and other football powerhouses. That saw conversations around the Seminoles seeking private equity funding for realignment, plus McCullough saying in August the school “will, at some point, have to very seriously consider leaving the ACC unless there is a radical change to the revenue distribution.”

And now, Florida State has a playoff snub to add to that revenue gap grievance, and they’re taking some recruiting hits as well. It’s not clear if Bolden’s flip was specifically about the Seminoles not making the playoff, but his loss is a notable one. As Tom VanHaaren writes at ESPN, Bolden (No. 16 overall in the ESPN Top 300 rankings and their top-ranked safety) becomes Georgia’s third five-star commitment and their 20th ESPN Top 300 commit. Florida State now has no five-star commits and 12 ESPN Top 300 commits.

Interestingly enough, the new school the 6’1”, 190-pound Bolden is now committed to will be facing off against the one he was formerly committed to. The Bulldogs take on the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

[Khalil Bolden on Twitter, ESPN]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.