By all accounts, Florida State continued to reload on both sides of the football after winning the national championship this past season and signed one of the best recruiting classes in the country.
According to 247Sports, the Seminoles reeled in the No. 4 class in the nation, as two of their signees were given the elusive 5-star status and 14 more got classified as 4-star prospects. There is a quarterback of the future, a potential game-breaking tailback, a pair of dangerous wide receivers, a bevy of offensive linemen and possible playmakers at every level defensively—especially at linebacker with Kain Daub, Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy all in the mix.
With several needs to address after early entries into the NFL draft thinned out the offense and graduation took its toll on defense, coach Jimbo Fisher proved once again to be an elite recruiter.
"This is one of the most complete classes we've been able to sign since we've been here," Fisher said, according to Seminoles.com. "We've got large numbers this year and kind of hit needs across the board and filled it with great players and got every position across the board we had somebody in."
With an emphasis on size at every position, all the while still targeting that signature FSU speed, the 'Noles continue to lay the groundwork necessary to be a contender on a yearly basis.
“There's not a guy in here, even from a size standpoint, I don’t think will have a great future,” said Fisher. “Tremendous."
But Fisher, like all the other coaches across the land, says something similar every February with regard to his recruiting haul.
Florida State's 2010 class, credited by many as the one that finally turned the program around following the "lost decade" under former coach Bobby Bowden, featured a handful of key contributors to a team that just captured the national title. Safety Terrence Brooks, offensive tackle Cameron Erving, linebacker Christian Jones, cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, wide receiver Kenny Shaw, linebacker Telvin Smith—all of them will be draft picks one day.
Two junior college signees (cornerback Mike Harris and defensive tackle Anthony McCloud) were also a part of that group, as was early-entree defensive end Bjoern Werner. Those three already collect NFL paychecks.
Some, like Joyner, appear to be sure things, as the Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas High School product was rated the No. 1 corner in the country by all the major recruiting services. A demon of a defender on the field and a legendary leader in the locker room, the 5’8”, 190-pounder will leave Tallahassee on the short list of greatest defensive backs in Garnet and Gold history.
Others, like Erving, turn out to be pleasant surprises, having come to the Seminoles as a fairly unheralded defensive lineman out of Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County High School. A few years and a position switch later, the 6’6”, 320-pounder is the reigning Jacobs Blocking Award winner in the ACC and could have been a first-round selection in May had he decided not to return for his redshirt senior campaign.
However, don’t forget the fact that FSU was arguably most excited in 2010 about Jeff Luc, a linebacker from Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Treasure Coast High School with all the accolades you look for in a recruit. Rivals had him as the No. 6 player in the state. Scout had him as the No. 1 middle linebacker in the country. Both Sporting News and SuperPrep had him as a top-20 prospect nationally.
Luc’s list of suitors included Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State and many others before he ultimately signed with the ‘Noles.
The 6’1”, 251-pounder failed to impress Fisher and Co.—he played sparingly for two seasons and then sat out 2012 in order to transfer to Cincinnati, where he made seven starts this past year. Prior to his one-time teammates hoisting the crystal football in Pasadena, Luc finished seventh in tackles on a Bearcats squad that got crushed 39-17 by unranked North Carolina in the lowly Belk Bowl.
For every Terrence Brooks, there is a Darious Cummings. He left Florida State for East Mississippi Community College due to injury concerns and is now part of the defensive tackle rotation at hated Florida.
For every Christian Jones, there is a Greg Dent. He faces a charge of sexual battery following an alleged incident in June and just turned himself in to Leon County Jail two weeks ago after missing a court date.
For every Kenny Shaw, there is a Nigel Terrell. He was unable to climb the depth chart at linebacker, so after three seasons he transitioned to fullback and carried the ball one time for four yards in 2013.
For every Telvin Smith, there is a Will Tye. He made no impact in three years at tight end—despite being a high school teammate of Werner, who became an All-American—and transferred to FCS-level Stony Brook.
Perhaps J.J. Cosentino, a 6’4”, 223-pound quarterback from Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic High School, is indeed the heir apparent under center to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. Or he could be another Clint Trickett, the lone QB in the Class of 2010. He felt the need to transfer to West Virginia once he realized he was no match for the otherworldly ability Winston brought to the table.
Maybe Roderick Johnson, a 6’6”, 315-pound offensive lineman from Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central High School, can take over at the all-important left tackle spot once Erving runs out of eligibility. Or he might be another Daniel Foose, the only O-lineman from the 2010 class. He is yet to make his first career start and more than likely never will.
After all, according to Rivals, right down the road in Gainesville, Florida posted a top-10 recruiting class four of the past five cycles—including No. 2 in 2010, No. 3 in 2012 and No. 4 in 2013. The Gators, despite all that “talent,” just wrapped up a dreadful 4-8 disaster.
Recruits are just that: recruits. They’re not players yet. We’ll find out soon enough which of these blue-chippers can actually play.
All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.