The Seminoles finished what was widely considered one of, if not the best, recruiting classes in the nation last year. While Fisher and his staff haven’t quite lived up to those expectations in the 2013 recruiting class, FSU is still compiling a strong, versatile group of players.
Below, four state recruiting analysts — the Orlando Sentinel’s Chris Hays, ESPN’s Corey Long, Rivals’ Kynon Codrington and 247 Sports’ Chris Nee — break down FSU’s 2013 class so far and who the Seminoles will be targeting from now until National Signing Day in February.
What are your overall thoughts on FSU’s current recruiting class?
Hays: “I wrote this last week and I still feel the same way: maybe they don’t have the star-rated players that people like to see to get them up there in national ranking, but the talent is every bit as good as UF, just in different positions. [St. Pete Catholic’s] Ryan Green is a solid running back . They have several four-star guys that are solid on them. I think a guy like Isaiah Jones out of Milton, he has a five-star player ability, but I don’t think people know how good this kid is. FSU obviously does. . . . FSU’s recruiting classes are beginning to have a Jimbo feel. There’s not a lot of flash, but there is a lot of football. He wants his guys, that’s his repertoire.”
Long: “I think it’s a good class so far to compliment last year’s class, which was No. 1 or No. 2, depending on the publication. I think this is a good class. They’re soon to be [strong] across the board. Obviously the offensive line is somewhere they’ve been consistently going after. Also, they’ve picked up, I think, the best all-purpose running back in the nation in Ryan Green. They’re filling slots in 2014 and 2015 as well. They’re going in a lot of different directions. That’s the one thing, they seem to be very happy in the sense of where they are in terms of the depth on their team and the flexibility for them to target some underclassmen this year.”
Codrington: “They’re ranked No. 11 in our team rankings. They’re doing a good job of coming off the No. 1 class a year ago with [quarterback] Jameis Winston and the class they brought in. I think expectations are pretty high for them, and sitting at 11 has some fans saying, `What’s going on?’ They’re doing a nice job I think at the skill positions with players like Ryan Green, [Orlando Jones receiver] Kermit Whitfield and [Orlando Evans receiver] Tony Stevens. I think that’s really an upgrade at some of their positions of need. It think they had a lot of talented of guys already.”
Nee: “We’ve been pretty consistent in stating that we believe Florida State has to have a pretty good season and show results on the field to finish strong, to finish similar to how they have in recruiting the past two years. They’ve added great depth and talent on that team in the past couple of classes, so for big-time kids to buy in across the board, it’s going to take them producing on the field. . . . Now, what they’ve brought in, it’s good. I wouldn’t necessarily call it great across the board. But they have some nice pieces. Ryan Green is a fantastic big-play running back with elite speed. [Madison’s] Ira Denson is an offensive lineman that has emerged over the summer. . . . Then on defense, they have some pieces they really like, a guy like [Orlando Evans’] Ro’Derrick Hoskins is a linebacker they like a lot.”
Of the current commits, who headlines the class?
Hays: “I like [Isaiah] Jones. He reminds a lot of guys they already have. He’s a big, strong guy who can make catches over the middle. Like Stevens, he’s a big-play guy, but Stevens can’t go in middle and get ball like Jones. The Milton kid is more ready for the wear.”
Long: “Ryan Green. . . . He’s the top player in the class so far, I do believe that.”
Codrington: “I think Ryan Green is a special player. He’s the No. 2 all-purpose back and I talked to a coach in the SEC that thinks he can be an All-American corner. He brings a lot of versatility. I like Green.”
Nee: “I think the top get so far is Ryan Green. Just his big-play ability, he has the ability to put points on the board.”
How will FSU wrap up its 2013 recruiting class?
Hays: “They’ve filled out this year’s class pretty well from position to position. They’re in a position now to where they can be solely focused on who they really, really want. They might be able to go after a guy and make a splash. . . . I think [Miami Booker T. Washington linebacker] Matthew Thomas is going to pick between FSU and Alabama. It’ll be a while before he commits. He’s been back and forth on the schools when talking with different people, but it’s those two unless someone comes on. . .. [Lake City Columbia offensive tackle] Laremy Tunsil is definitely on their board. . . . I guess the guy who looms largest on their board is Matthew Thomas. Another guy is [Delray Beach American Heritage offensive lineman] Roderick Johnson. [Orlando Boone running back] A.J. Turman has liked FSU in the past.”
Long: “They probably have room for six or seven more [commitments], so they’re going to be a team to reckon with down the stretch. Could they pull off a shocker? I wouldn’t put it past them. . . . They’re definitely working on some depth. If a defensive end that they like comes along that they’ll enjoy, I think they’ll try to continue to be tough along the lines. . . .They’re not going to be the sexiest. You’re going to see linemen. They might go after a tight end. . . . Right now, Florida State’s goal is going to be to strengthen its strengths. Linebackers, they’re probably going to try to go after another linebacker or two.”
Codrington: “If they can land a guy like Matthew Thomas, and even his teammate, Denver Kirkland -- the offensive tackle -- that’s going to maybe bump them up to top-five status. . . . If they flip a guy like [Miami commit and South Plantation running back] Alex Collins out of Plantation, who’s a four-star guy, then you’re talking about them sitting nicely at the No. 5 position, maybe even at No. 4 or No. 3.”
Nee: “I just think with what they have, they’re looking to close with five to 10 more players, they need make a splash on the field to close strong. . . . If they do have that strong finish, they’re going to compete for some very big-name kids. . . . They have to hit a home run at offensive tackle. They really need a long-term offensive tackle. Laremy Tunsil would be a guy that fits that, but right now, they way Tunsil is talking, FSU is sitting on the outside of that whole situation. They’re going to have a discussion with [Nebraska offensive tackle] Tyler Moore, if he does decide to leave Nebraska . . . and Roderick Johnson, a Florida decommitment, is another guy that’s in the picture with Florida State. . . . On the defensive side of the ball, they want to get in on a big-time defensive back, like [Seffner Armwood safety] Leon McQuay. . . . They also want to add some depth at defensive tackle. . . . I think [Crescent City’s] Caleb Brantley, the Florida commitment, is a guy that they’ll continue to pursue.”