In 2008 FSU signed the number seven recruiting class in the country or there about according to recruiting services.
I suppose the biggest surprise was stealing wide receiver Jarmon Fortson from Auburn. He is a four star with good hands speed and size and bullies cornerbacks.
Tavares "Heartbreak Hotel" Presley, Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones were good pickups at running back and much needed. This was crucial and looks to be an instant running game with the offensive line pickups recruited by Trickett. Presley suffered and ACL his in his second Fall practice. He should be available for the 2009 year.
El Camino quarterback Boo Williams describes Presley as the quickest man he has ever seen and he rushed for 1200 yards in JUCO as a freshman. His team mate 5 star Corey Surrency is coming with him and no one has convinced me this guy cannot do anything Julio Jones can do although he is a little lighter.
Jermaine Thomas is another vastly underrated running back who rushed for 6 touchdowns in two weeks at first coast highschool. He was highly recruited by LSU and almost stolen away. He is the type football player who tells team mates not to quit, he will break one eventually. The report on him calls him a nightmare in the open field. We saw some of this in 2008.
Wide receiver Avis Commack is a team mate of Thomas was recruited with him. This four star is also loaded with potential, currently at 6-1 and running a 4-5 forty yard dash. If I am not mistaken he redshirted in 2008.
A. J. Alexander is also on board and is one of the fastest men in America with a 4.31 forty. His father outran Rocket Ishamil in high school.
Of course we cannot forget E. J. Manuel. The debate as to which quarterback in the country between him and Pryor is still ongoing. He projects to be Fisher's next Jamarcus Russell, a number one draft pick. When you throw for 7400 yards and 68 touchdowns in high school that pretty much is enough said.
Manuel has stated "I could not pass up an opportunity to be coached by Jimbo Fisher."
2 star Ty Jones has the potential to be Fisher's next Jacob Hester. at 5-11, 4-5 speed and 215 pounds, suffice it to say he is a load. His team mates he played with actually called him superman. He is said to be a built like a heavy weight boxer and picked up 1200 hard yards in a tough league in Tampa. He unfortunately was set back with diabetes related problems for awhile in 2008 but should be available for the bowl game.
Imeokparia comes in at the safety position. He is rated as a three star running back but will not play that at FSU. He is quick at 4.4 and will provide much needed talent at the safety position. He is said to be a pretty tough fellow and picked up the hard yards for his team in New Jersey. He also suffered an ACL in fall practice.
The two Nigels at linebacker, well everybody knows about them and FSU opponents will get to see more of them. Bradham is a five star and rated the best in the nation by many. An early enrollee and already benching 480 pounds. Veteran Seminoles say he can be as strong as he wants to be before he leaves FSU. He was benching 480 pounds at last report.
Terrance Parks is a much needed pickup at cornerback and I would not trade him for any of them. He stayed with Julio Jones in the Army game stride for stride. At 6-1, 200 pounds he is a big one. He will redshirt and be available for 2009.
Juco Markus White will be a monster at Defensive end. This five star will be a welcome addition. If he stays healthy he can provide the rush from the corners the Seminoles have been missing lately when teamed with Everette Brown.
It pains me to say that British Footman and Travis Arnold did not qualify and will go JUCO. They are two tremendous football players. Debrale Smiley was also signed and will go JUCO. Hopefully these three show up down the road.
Trickett projects Zebrie Sanders to be an NFL first rounder.He was the winner of the Anthony Munoz Award as the best high school offensive lineman in a three state area. David Spurlock was a finalist for Mr. Football in Tennessee, Chainsaw Datko is rated one of the best offensive lineman in the South Florida area, Rhonne Sanderson was selected for the Kynes Trophy in the Tampa area over UF 5 star Matt Patchan, Garrett Faircloth is another good one who turned down Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. Trickett is especially fond of his 2 star Blake Snider who told Trickett "I am not afraid of nothing." Snider also hit 308 in highschool baseball in Alabama and is the son of a highschool coach.
As best I can determine Faircloth and Snider had some cartilage problems with knees and should be ready for spring football.
Datko's high school coach says he will do anything to win. He has been voted freshman all american in 2008.
Most of Trickett]s line recruits sport over a 3.0 GPA average. They won't be academic casualties and will be around for the long haul.
It is hard to argue that FSU did not meet it's needs with the 2008 class.
The effects of Bob LaCivita being hired as recruiting coordinator at FSU has been positive. He formerly worked in this position at the University of Florida. With his hire comes new methods of recruiting involving targeting a recruit early and presenting a breakdown of outstanding recruits to coaches for their evaluation. Also new computer methods of training have been introduced. His methods seem to be working well as FSU is now rated number 6 in country for the 2008 class.
Coach Bobby Bowden has recently signed a one year contract extension and this means the nation's premiere offensive coordinator is being groomed as a head coach in waiting as he turned down a lucrative multi- million dollar contract at WVU in his home state to remain at FSU. In his heart he is a Seminole.. This signals that he has been given the green light to restore the FSU offense to it's former high level and ease the transition when coach Bobby Bowden retires.
Our new offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, masterminded the leading offense in the South Eastern Conference, rolling up an astounding 404.2 yards an outing in a conference that many argue is the strongest in the nation.
During his final season at LSU, his offense won it's final seven games culminating in a 41-14 blowout of Notre Dame in the Sugar bowl resulting in an 11-2 season. It was coach Fisher's third Sugar Bowl Victory and second eleven game winning season in a row.
The LSU offense under Fisher featured a passing attack that rolled up 345.0 yards a game led by Jamarcus Russell who was an all SEC selection at quarterback completing 68.5 per cent off his passes with twenty six touchdowns.The running game featured production night in and night out and was spread out among several different backs.
Jimbo Fisher a host of formations which are said to be much more balanced than some of the schemes seen in college football today but are very much as complicated in terminology. Coach Fisher is known for his ability to adapt during the course of a season and utilize players as talent permits.
Coach Fisher actually uses five or more type formations and Quarterbacks have been quoted as saying: "Coach Fisher's offense has everything, the spread, shotgun, reads, pro-set, play action. It is not just one thing it is everything." He does prefer a quarterback learn the nuances of his schemes for a couple of years. He is not big on throwing a rookie into the fire. LSU benefited this past season using Matt Flynn who had been groomed by Fisher but never started much more than a couple of games at LSU. He won the national title as a senior. In 2008 without a Fisher groomed quarterback LSU did not exactly challenge for the national title.
Before he was the offensive coordinator at LSU, coach Fisher was the mastermind of an offense at Cinncinnatti which averaged 424.4 yards a game and was the 16 rated in the nation. He also coached Dameyune Craig at Auburn who was their only 3000 yard quarterback in history as well as Stan White and Patrick Nix.
Jimbo Fisher now has a comittment from the number one drop back quarterback in the country of the 2008 class in E. J. Manuel who has stated "I could not pass up a chance to be coached by Jimbo Fisher.
Rick Trickett was also hired as the new offensive line coach. He worked with Jimbo Fisher at Auburn under Terry Bowden and was part of 20 straight wins. Several offensive lineman there groomed under Trickett were first round picks.
When coach Trickett arrived at West Virginia their running game was rated number 37th in the nation and by the end of the second year was rated as the number two running game in college football. He uses the zone blocking scheme, a complex scheme which requires big, tough, mobile lineman with a mean streak. He is now in the process of recruiting these type lineman at FSU. It may take him another year to fine tune things.
Trickett knows what he is looking for in lineman. You can see he brought in 3 star Rodney Hudson who started as a true freshman and was recently named 2nd Team All ACC. Trickett said most would be after him if he was 6-4 but it did not matter to Trickett as he had followed the kid since junior highschool. It is is similar with Ganguzza who basically recruited Trickett.
If rumors are correct, when Ganguzza failed to get an offer from Rick Trickett, he left a very graphic message on his cellphone (censored) graphically explaining how Trickett would pay watching him on the field. Trickett promptly called him back and decided he could use him.
Coach Trickett turned away four star lineman Chris Little because he did not consider him mobile enough to play in his system. Little eventually enrolled at Georgia and Antwane Greenleee, a Georgia committ switched his allegiance to FSU because of Trickett in 2007. Greenlee is loaded with potential and hopefully he can rebound from a neck injury sustained last season. At 6-6, 305 pounds he may well become the stalwart that will give FSU quarterbacks more time to throw the football.
Little has since transferred from Georgia.
Recently Ryan McMahon was voted freshman All American and Rodney Hudson 2nd team All ACC as well as a freshman All American. It may have happened before in college football but I am not aware of it, a new offensive line coach taking a litlle used freshman tackle (Ryan McMahon) and a pure freshman, Rodney Hudson and making them freshman All Americans. If it has been done before, someone help me out here. In 2008 Trickett once again added to his legend by placing Datko on the freshman all american team. Trickett was quoted as saying, "that is what I told you would happen when I came here. "
The running game finally begin to click in the bowl game against Kentucky last year as Antone Smith ran for 156 yards coming back from injuries. In 2008 the Seminole rushing attack finished #32 in the nation, the highest it has been rated in ten years and this was with a mostly freshman line handpicked by Rick Trickett.
Jermaine Thomas appears to be everything people thought he would be and Ty "Superman" Jones finally was healthy enought to emerge in the blowout bowl win over Wisconsin rushing 4 times for 55 yards and one touchdown.
The FSU scoring offense took a tremendous jump to #27 in the nation, also something not seen for awhile in Tallahassee.
Former FSU All American and NFL Rookie of the Year, Lawrence Dawsey was also added to the staff as a wide receiver coach and NFL great Dexter Carter, another former Seminole was added as running backs coach. Dawsey has enjoyed coaching success at LSU and USF.
Todd Stroud who worked with Chuck Amato at NCS was added as strength and conditioning coach.
This new staff may well not restore FSU back to top five finishes as fast as many would like but they will get the job done. They are too talented to fail and if the fans do not realize this the football recruits do as they are coming aboard. These new coaches are off to a blazing start on the recruiting trail.
It will be beneficial for the offensive lineman to spend a year under Trickett's conditioning program and study technique. Trickett's first words to the FSU faithful was "I am not a miracle worker but I am a hard worker." He has also been quoted as saying "When they all buy in, we are going to win and we are going to win big."
When the offensive line takes off and it will, it will open new dimensions in the offensive schemes. Better running routes will develope and the quarterback will have more time to throw.
It has stated that where personnel used to be four deep where it now is only two deep. This is the difference in the years he coached here and the situation now. Coley has deep recruiting roots in South Florida where he was the former offensive coordinator at FUI.
The recruiting class in 2007 was rated number 7 in the nation and includes the top rated quarterback in the country in E. J. Manuel. Efforts have been very successful with the additon of some highly rated defensive ends and skill defensive backs such as Terrance Parks. The 2009 class is almost full and very close to a top 10 class with a few more scholarships to offer.
Everett Dawkins has the skill level to receive some playing time as a pure freshman at defensive end. He is a big one weighing in at 250 pounds. FSU in my opinion is still not very deep at the tackle position but Jaccobbi McDaniels and Demonte McAllister should help here. One more tackle in 2009 would be very wise.
Red shirt skill position players such as Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling have meshed into the lineup and added depth. Easterling really turned heads in this years spring practice outings. He caught everything that came his way. Missing out on Julio Jones was tough but Alabama using the governor to call him before national signing day should explain the appeal of Jimbo Fisher on top of the line athletes. Top 100 five star receiver Corey Surrency, a JUCO All American was added this season and hopefully the NCAA will rule he has a final year of eligibility. He did not have the year he wanted but hopefully can get another year of eligibility.
So to those who wish to paint a dreary picture of FSU football I would say you are most probably in for a big surprise. Most knowledgeable followers of football have noticed that the winds of change are blowing across the campus in Tallahassee.
Recruits who have comitted such as Vincent Williams a highly touted linebacker and others helped with the recruiting process and have been making statements such as "You either choose FSU or lose to FSU made an impression on this year's class.
At present FSU has already reeled in top rated defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniels the highest rated defensive tackle in the nation until he committed early. Rating services don't like this apprpoach. Demonte McAllister is not far behind. He is either a DE or defensive tackle at around 6-3, 260 but the book indicates extremely strong and cat quick.
The 2009 recruiting class boasts the nations number one kicker in Dustin Hopkins.
One player not many talk about is John Prior. This is an offensive tackle out of Ohio who coaches refer to as an enforcer. He suffered ankle injuries from a construction job and was passed on by Ohio State due to the injury. At 6.6, 280 he can well develope into the kind of left tackle Trickett has been seeking.
Gerald Demps is another three star who is vastly underrated by the rating services except for ESPN who rates this corner/safety as the #70th ranked football player in America. He is a very under the radar player.
Bryan Stork of Vero Beach is another some had questions about. He is listed at 6-4, 250 pounds and projected at tightend where FSU is very thin but many think he can develpe into an offensive lineman. Film shows the guy is a high energy pancake machine even at that weight. He also listed FSU as the place he wanted to be very early on.
Chris Thompson is another very intriguing recruit in that he is 5-8, 180 but simply makes play after play. We normally think of guys this size as having 4.3 speed but he is clocked at 4.5. He is successful due to the almost unbelievable moves and cuts he is capable of making. This one will be fun to watch. He appears slated as a slotback.
Lonnie Pryor is a tailback recruit who will come in around 6-0, 195 pounds with 4.5 speed. He is a nice combination of size and speed and ran for 366 yards in one highschool game. He is a straight up type runner. Henry Orelus is coming in him and my guess is as a center.
Willie Haulstead, Xavier Rhodes and Rodney Smith will be coming in at wide receiver. They all show potential and Smith seems to be the leaper of the bunch with very good timing but also runs very good routes for a guy who is 6.5.
JaJuan Harley is listed as 6-0/193/4.37 out of the Tallahassee area and it has been a long time since FSU had a safety with this kind of speed. Another safety with a soft verbal is Justin Bright out of south Carolina. He is a recruit that will need to add strength but is billed as a fearless hitter. He is also carrying around a 4.0 average which doesn't hurt.
Willie Downs is another safety who had a big game in the Army all star game taking an interception back for a touchdown.
Brandon Jenkins and Ed Stinson round out the two defensive end recruits and both have good size.
Last but not least is C. J. Mizell. This linebacker I am sure everyone has heard about. The book on him is that he is a throwback to another era. He throws offensive opponents around like cordwood. At 6-2, 208 he has plenty of room to add more weight to his frame.