Florida State Seminoles Recruiting: Grading The Seminoles' 2011 Class
At the end of the day, Florida State prevailed. They finished with the number one recruiting class, which comes to a surprise to a lot of Florida State fans. A year ago at this time, the legendary coach Bobby Bowden stepped down after arguably the most storied career ever as a head coach. He left behind a full cupboard for new head coach Jimbo Fisher, but it was Fisher that got the most of the talent that was left behind for him and it was Fisher who brought in a great class last year.
Now it is officially Fisher's time and he's proving exactly why he deserved it. Bringing in the number one recruiting class speaks volumes to this University's commitment to bringing home another National Championship in the near future. With the talent and the mixture of veterans, this team can only reach the top. With such a great class comes great responsibility and Fisher has all the confidence in the world that he can achieve greatness.
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Ht/Wt: 6'2", 210 lbs.
Where he fits in best: Williams has the size and the speed to play outside linebacker, but his athleticism alone should leave no doubt that he's a safety, preferably a strong safety at the next level, but free safety isn't out of the question. Williams will fit in perfectly with Mark Stoops defense.
Does it fill a void? Yes. Williams is the type of athlete that is a must have for virtually any team. He's a physical specimen and will be an elite playmaker at the next level.
Grade: A+ This is huge for Florida State. Williams was one of the first to commit for this class and he deserves a lot of credit for chipping in with the recruiting efforts. He helped bring in a lot of talent that contributed to this top notch class.
James Wilder Jr.
Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 6'2", 225 lbs.
Where he fits best: A lot of experts will say different, but he fits in perfect with the running game. He's a big bruising back with deceptive speed and overwhelming power. He translates well to Fisher's offensive attack and will complement the other running backs already in place. Many will say he would be an elite player on defense, but offensively he gives the 'Noles another dimension.
Does it fill a void? Yes and No. Wilder gives FSU a dynamic player on offense, someone that can run in between the tackles and can bull over defenders.
Grade: A. Wilder chose Florida State because of running back coach Eddie Gran and the promise they made him to be a running back at the next level. Wilder will get his opportunity to show why he can play running back and to prove that it was the right choice.
Position: Defensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6'2", 275
Where he fits in best: Defensive tackle. Jernigan is a big time playmaker who is great in run support, but also puts pressure on quarterbacks. He will step in and play extensively right away and could end up being the best defensive tackle on the team.
Does it fill a void? Absolutely. Last season Jacobbi McDaniel and Everett Dawkins were pretty much the only defensive tackles that were healthy and available. Jernigan will not only provide depth, but also another player to add to the rotation.
Grade: A. Jernigan was the prize of the day and he added to the already outstanding class. He still has time to put on size and bulk, but he already plays bigger than what the roster size would indicate.
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'4", 230 lbs.
Where he fits in best: At his natural position. O'Leary is as real of a tight end as it gets. He's arguably the top tight end in the country and he will fit in with Fisher's scheme immediately. Fisher had his sights sent on O'Leary for some time now and he is one of the prizes of this class.
Does it fill a void? Yes. Florida State hasn't had a playmaking tight end in some time, but that is mainly because the tight end position has never been incorporated into the offense. For the most part, the position has been used to serve as another blocker, but with a talent like O'Leary who has great hands and can spread the defense, he fills a void that has been needed to be filled for quite some time.
Grade: A. O'Leary has the potential to have a very successful career at Florida State and with the right talent and coaching he will achieve just that. He's a great receiver who will help to serve E.J. Manuel with a safety valve that Florida State quarterbacks have not experienced before.
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6'5", 298 lbs.
Where he fits in best: Left or right tackle. Hart has the size to play left tackle in time, but he will need to develop physically. Offensive line coach Rick Trickitt doesn't exactly like massive lineman that are well over 300 pounds, but Hart has the body to pack on weight and handle it in a productive way.
Does it fill a void? Not immediately. Hart is only 16 years old so he has time to grow and mature so he won't asked to be the heart of the line anytime soon, but eventually Florida State will expect him to be a dominant force.
Grade: B+ Hart has an enormous amount of upside and he will be given time to grow rather than being thrown into the fire right away. He's a great pick up for the 'Noles and has a great future ahead of him.
Ht/Wt: 6'5", 249 lbs.
Where he fits in best: At the current moment it's a toss up. Newberry has the frame to pack on some weight, but he has the motor to be a dominant defensive end as well as the size and bulk to be a solid offensive tackle. He will be a raw project for the coaches to develop and he could end up flipping back and forth throughout his career, a luxury that isn't a problem whatsoever.
Does it fill a void? Not a pressing void, but a void; yes. He gives the coaches someone to experiment with and someone to develop into which ever position best suits him. The key will be Newberry's patience and adaptability. He's open to playing whatever position the team needs.
Grade: B+ Having an athlete big enough to play offense or defense is a major factor. Newberry gives the 'Noles a "project player" that can develop into a huge asset on either side of the ball.
Ht/Wt: 6'3", 185 lbs.
Where he fits in best: Safety, but don't rule out corner. Smith saw time at corner and could end up converting over, but the thought of Smith lining up next to Karlos Williams has FSU fans anxious. Smith has great size and great cover ability, it will boil down to where he is needed most.
Did it fill a void? Yes, gaining another player to provide depth in the secondary always fills a void and that's exactly what Smith does.
Grade: B. Smith is a versatile player that gives coaches options which is always a good thing. He may not play right out the gate, but he has a bright future at either the safety or corner position.
Ht/Wt: 5'10", 168 lbs.
Where he fits in best: Corner. He's not big enough to play the safety position and his ideal position right now is a dime or nickel until he develops physically. That's not a bad place to be because the guys in front of him (Greg Reid, Xavier Rhodes, LaMarcus Joyner) are all around the same size, but the experience they have is a factor.
Does it fill a void? Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes teamed up to be one of the best corner duo's in the conference last year while LaMarcus Joyner stepped in and played great as a nickel. Adding Waisome fills the void for depth, which is always a need.
Grade: B. Waisome is a ball hawk and a great defender. He is a very instinctive player who makes up for his lack of size with his football I.Q.
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6'6", 265 lbs.
Where he fits in best: Prestwood fits in at the offensive tackle position. He has a big frame to put more weight on and he has long arms and good footwork to fit the mold for a left tackle. He won't play right away, but he has a bright future ahead of him to lay a foundation to the line of the future.
Does it fill a void? Yes. The offensive line needed depth and Prestwood along with the other recruits will provide great depth. Prestwood will need to add more bulk and will be a project for Trickitt, but isn't that what Trickitt likes?
Grade: B. Prestwood has a lot of potential and will need to work hard to transform into a starting left tackle for a major Division I program.
Position: Wide Receiver/Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'6", 215
Where he fits in best: Wide receiver. O'Leary is the clear cut favorite to be the tight end; that being said depth is never a problem. If Benjamin can learn both positions while maintaining his size and speed he can be a dual threat receiver.
Does it fill a void? Yes. Florida State has plenty of wide receivers to go around, but none of them have stepped up to take over as the go to guy. Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith showed flashes while Bert Reed remained the faithful reliable target. Benjamin adds a huge target especially in red zone packages.
Grade: B. Benjamin is a great land for the 'Noles. He is a huge target and will be a developmental project. He has tremendous upside.
Florida State finished the day at the top with the best class in the nation. It's a real testament to the job that Jimbo Fisher has been doing and it shows his commitment to bringing this team back to greatness. Just one year ago, Bobby Bowden was retiring and questions surrounded the program about whether or not Jimbo could pick up and make an immediate impact.
It's safe to say he has done more than that. Fisher put together a great class last year and with this years class, he's on the right path to the next Florida State National Championship. With players like Karlos Williams, James Wilder Jr., Nick O'Leary, Keelin Smith, Giorgio Newberry and Bobby Hart, this class gets a final grade of an A.
This class has limitless potential and has top notch talent. With the coaches and the talent already in place, this could go down as the class that brought home a National Title.
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