Wednesday Open Recruiting Thread

6:20 UPDATE: I have learned that our coaches hit South Florida very hard today.  Not waiting for the NCAA to make their move, the coaches focused on the elite prospects, impressing upon them that they are only offering the best of the best (well... the best of who's left).  Luke has something on Jarvis Byrd, but I'll let him spill it.  :)

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We're coming off an extremely disappointing week for the Seminoles on the recruiting trail.  Florida State did not secure a commitment at either of the major All-Star games.  

Annoyed and frustrated, we turned to Luke Stampini of SoFlaFootball.com.  Inside, we ask Luke if he thinks the Florida State subscription sites inflated our chances of landing the potential commitments, or if we actually had a legitimate shot.  

I'll post the list of visitors for this Friday (1/9)

Some other viewpoints on Downs qualifying...

Plus.... Chuck Amato has promised Tomahawk Nation favorite Phillip Thomas that he would stop by his school this morning!  Don't blow this, Chuck!  (If you live near Miami-Edison, stop in and encourage Chuck!)

and more... inside!  It's Wednesday!  That means recruiting!  Questions?  News?  Thoughts?  Fire away!

Underwhelming Armour All-Star Game

Some FSU fans believed that the Noles had legitimate shots to land 4* DB Braden Smith, 5* WR Andre Debose, and 4* DE Dyron Dye.  

For weeks, however, we cautioned our readers not to believe the hype from the paysites.  MattDNole specifically said "The quotes they have are really weak.  We aren't landing these guys."  Despite the warnings, we all sat and hoped.  Smith went to UGA.  Dye went to Miami.  Most disappointing was Debose, who did not even list FSU in his top 5 schools.

I asked our friend Luke Stampini of SoFlaFootball.com (go visit his site.  He does an excellent job.) if he thought the Noles did have a legitimate shot at landing the Seminole HS Trio: 

I have never spoke with any member of the Seminole Trio, so I can not say for sure they did or did not have serious interest in FSU. I've heard for some time that Ray Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye were set on Miami, while Andre Debose was the wild card. LSU was the talk of the town for a while, talk of the Gators really heated up in recent weeks, and of course keeping the Trio together and head to Miami was the other option (this became more and more of a long shot as time went on).
So why would FSU sites say they had a great shot at landing the Trio? One, they truly were in a great position to land all three, or two, it's all about selling subscriptions!!! In this case I'm leaning towards the latter.

This is what I thought as well.  There is one FSU site that had very wrong about almost everything of late.  I'm not naming the site, but it's clearly lagging behind the other two, and has resorted to making wild claims that are later found to have no truth-- and reporting them as fact.

Luke's take on Dye is directly contradictory to the slanted reporting of one FSU site in particular (so I hear, as I am not a subscriber).  

Fans look for hope, fans want good news, fans want the prospect with all the stars next to their name to be looking at their school, and often times this is what these websites bring them even though the truth may be stretched. I had a recruit recently tell that during an interview the reporter pointed towards a t-shirt with the university his website was dedicated to on it, while the recruit was listing his school of interest. Reason being, the reporter wanted to make sure his school was mentioned. Of course the reporter want the prospect to mention their school otherwise they do not have a story, all the while riling up their fan base because this highly regarded prospect lists their school as a "favorite".
This can work in the opposite direction as well. Ever notice a recruit do an interview with AAA's website on Monday and he says that AAA is his leader, only to have BBB's website to post an article Wednesday with quotes stating BBB leads? It only gets better when CCC's website calls Friday and you guessed it, CCC is the leader. It's not uncommon for a recruit to hype up a school when he knows that school's website is interviewing him.

Personally, this is why I love my site. You can tell me your favorite school is Georgia or Miami or Florida or even Montana State and I'm happy, and I feel I get more honest answers by not having an allegiance to a school.

This is why we like to ask Luke questions.  Tomahawk Nation's writers all share a common viewpoint: we want FSU to operate to the best of its abilities and don't believe that dealing in puffery is beneficial to the fan or the program.  Luke deals from the top of the deck and he fits our site perfectly.  

 

How is Miami recruiting so well?

I have to admit, Miami's recruiting success is more annoying to me than UF's recruiting dominance (and yes, UF is destroying us on the recruiting front).  Again, I turned to Luke.

I asked him:  Also, what are these prospects seeing in Miami?  Crappy facilities, average record, not sending guys to the NFL of late... 

LUKE:

One of the main reasons right now recruits are attracted to Miami is the opportunity to play early. The ‘Canes have a lot of holes, and recruits see themselves filling those holes immediately. The lure of early playing time can be very strong and seems to be gaining more and more importance with recruits.

FSU needs to do a much better job of being a big boy school and cutting the fat at the top (the underperforming upperclassmen) in order to better reveal opportunities for early playing time.  

The amount of former ‘Canes that have made the NFL catches these teenagers' eye as well. Often times they are some of the more visible players the league has to offer. Ed Reed is probably the best safety in the league. Sean Taylor could have turned into the best safety the NFL had ever seen if his life wasn't cut short. Ray Lewis has to be mentioned with the greatest linebackers to play. Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, and Edgerrin James all play at a position that gets a lot of publicity (a right guard is not talked about that often). Sure in recent years Miami has failed to produce the NFL talent of years passed, but once again very few teenagers are analyzing school's track record in that much detail. They just know they hear a lot of former ‘Canes being mentioned on Sundays.

Luke makes a fine point here.  This is a prime example of where negative recruiting is needed.  Miami recruits need to know that the Canes haven't been pumping tons of talent into the league over the last four years.  From 2005-2008, FSU sent 25 players to the league, while Miami sent 21.  This year, Miami won't have a single player drafted on the first day of the draft process-- despite having 23 eligible seniors.  FSU needs to end this Miami= NFL pipeline myth right now.  

 

Another factor is the location of the Miami campus. Coral Gables is planted squarely in the heart of the most fertile recruiting ground in the nation. Dumb luck will land you an all-conference caliber player (see FIU's T.Y. Hilton). All the negatives in the world (a pathetic win/lose record, a patch of grass on the edge of the Everglades for a home field) will not keep all the elite Dade/Broward county prospects away, especially given Miami's success on the field over the past 25 years.

I'm not sure I would call Miami's facilities "crappy". The Hecht Athletic Center home of the ‘Canes throughout the week is pretty nice. It's not as slick as what Oregon, Ohio State, or Florida has, but it's far from FAU's Oxley Center. The "crappy" facility was the Orange Bowl, but as you know it is no more. Their new game day home, Dolphin Stadium, has all the bells and whistles that attract a teenage recruit. There are some drawbacks for fans attending the game, but none that would factor into a teenager's decision.

I learned something here.  Players don't see what the fans see in terms of the stadium.  Dolphin stadium has great grass, and I'm sure the locker rooms are nice.  To recruits, that's what really matters.   

 

The fact of the matter is every school has its positives, and most certainly its negatives. It is the coaching staff's duty to sell the positives their school offers to recruit while down playing any negatives. This job certainly can be made easier depending on the university.

Luke nails it here.  As we've previously discussed, FSU is getting destroyed by negative recruiting as recruits know that we have the oldest coaching staff in America (verified fact) and some of our coaches aren't putting in the effort to relate to the players, specifically because they know they won't be around in when these recruits finally mature.


Visits

Considering that FSU lost three games at home this year, having recruits take their official visits during January isn't such a bad idea.  These kids will be here Friday (1/9):

  • OT Jon Prior-- often injured kid with a lot of talent and a strong work ethic.  FSU commit.
  • DT Luther Robinson-- a Miami commit.  I have no idea what our chances are here.  
  • DE Ed Stinson-- he's scheduled, but I don't think he'll come.  Sources say he's not interested.  The negative recruiting by other schools has definitely got to Ed.
  • RB Chris Thompson-- I love this kid.  Think the route running out of the backfield that we see from Reggie Bush.  

On the Trail

  • Amato will visit Phillip Thomas.  Seriously.  Luke will have the story in the AM (check his site).  Everyone should pray that Chuck can pull this off.  If he does, I will institute a 48hr moratorium on Amato bashing.  
  • We're rumored to be interested in Roderic Blunt.  This would be a total waste of a scholarship and I hope the coaches don't seriously offer this kid.  Lacks instincts, intelligence, size, and his speed doesn't adequately compensate for his lack of... well, everything.  We can't afford to take a linebacker who "will be a decent special teams player."  I personally believe this is an Amato special; someone he is recruiting just to say he landed a commitment.  Unfortunately for Amato, we're not idiots here and we can see what he is doing.  Unfortunately for the Seminoles, some on the coaching staff might still trust him.  
  • Mickey Andrews will be out recruiting later in the week, so it looks like he will be back.   Normal_champs_sports_046_medium

    via www.nolzcountry.com

    (I can totally see Mickey turning that Thumb down to call for Wisconsin's Doom)
  • We need to get DB Greg Reid in the worst way.  Right now he is taking a hard look at Mississippi State, because ex-UF OC Dan Mullen told the kid he could play offense (he's clearly a DB-- and a great one at that).  We can legitimately afford to offer this kid the Nickel corner position from day one.  No official visit scheduled as of yet.  He's visiting UF on thw 16th, MissSt on the 23rd, and UGA on the 30th.  It's always best to be the first or last visit with a kid, and there is a chance we could get a visit after UGA.  My gut here says UGA.  
  • Some people still think we get Dyron Dye-- despite him picking Miami on National TV.   I don't see that happening.  
  • I think we lead for Orson Charles.  As we've told you since October, the Noles have flooded this kids Mailbox.  Jimbo is basically telling him he'll eventually be on the field for every snap-- as a multipurpose HBack-- a position growing in popularity in the NFL and CFB as the fullback dies out.  
  • I don't see us getting Gary Brown.  It would surprise me.  This just has the feel of a 'scrip site trying to gain new members.  
  • Jawanza Starling will still probably go to UGA, but I heard Myron Rolle put on a huge sales pitch for this kid Monday.  We need him, he wants to do medicine apparently.  Thanks, Myron!  

 

2010

Destination Pahokee:  

We need to continue to throw our big guns at Pahokee.  The Noles have had success down there before and will be putting on the press for CB Jarvis Byrd (who visits NC State this weekend and FSU on the 16th).  

In 2010, however, we have a serious shot to raid this school.  There are some seriously fine prospects here, and we should offer them all in an attempt to grab the top guys.  Obviously some of them won't pan out, but most of the stud Juniors will play well as seniors.  

I'll break down the guys from this squad.  (Descriptions of Luke Stampini's fantastic SoFlaFootball.com, where he's broken down the SoFla top 100 for 2010)

The guys everyone wants:

WR De'Joshua Johnson A Nole fan.  He could be our Nigel Bradham/ Jacobbi of the 2010 class, committing early and encouraging other kids to come along as well.  Video.  

Antonio Ford - 6′4″ 255 OL/DT Great frame and is just now starting to fill out, can play a variety of positions.

 Richard Ash - 6′4″ 250 DT  An impressive frame in the early stages of developing, can be a force at his defensive tackle position.

Willis Bowles - 6′3″ 265 OG -Big body and has good feet for his size.

Hmmm... a stud wideout and three very athletic, versatile big men?  Sign me up.  Keep in mind that these Pahokee kids often BLOW UP when they get into a decent college weight and nutrition program.  Pahokee is a poor area and often these kids aren't getting quality protein to build muscle.  They have a lot more room to grow than a kid from a rich private school.  Most of these guys don't have FSU offers.  That needs to change.  Right now.  

To get those four, I suggest we consider offering some or all of:

Zachary Allen - 6′2″ 200 TE/DE VIDEO Pahokee defensive end and tight end Zachary Allen has a large frame measuring in at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds.  Allen displays a good amount of athleticism on the field, and with a good showing at the spring and summer combine/camp circuit look for Allen’s recruitment to blow up.

 Dennis Hall - 5′10″ 180 WR VIDEO  Not that impressed with Hall, but he could be a solid player.

Merrill Noel - 5′10″ 180 S 

Doral Willis - 6′0″ 310 DT - Pahokee

Do I realistically expect us to take 8 kids from Pahokee?  No.  I don't think it's a bad idea to offer the top 7 here, however, and hope to get five.  These guys can play and they come from a great program.

This is certainly more plausible than the preposterous rumor floating around that we are somehow starting a pipeline to Miami Booker T. Washington.  

 

Other 2010 Notes

Stud WR Chris Dunkley not as much of a Gator lock as some assume.  Luke has the story.  Quite interesting.  I predict mega drama all the way with this kid.

NC State will send HC Tom Obrien after Jarvis Byrd(a corner we really need).

FSU really needs to offer 2010 stud TE Gerald Christian (Dwyer HS).  He'd be a perfect HBack as he's probably not an in-line TE.  

 

Some people believe Downs could qualify, and some even think he is likely to qualify!  (People we've grown to trust).  

 

Critical Analysis and Self Scouting from MattDNole

Matt wrote this the other day and I wanted to feature it.  Excellent thoughts from our BioStats guy and resident recruitnik:

I tend to harp on recruiting, but we really need to re-evaluate every aspect of our talent evaluation and signing.
Every coach we have could be doing a better job than they currently are.

UF is still whipping us as far as getting on these kids early. Are we sure LaCivita is the answer here? He was supposed to be the answer and the savior to bring us up to UF's level.

It's a vicious cycle. UF recruits better players at every position→ UF has more success on the field→ kids want to go to UF→ UF recruits better players at every position

This is why I follow and discuss recruiting so heavily. It's just as important as winning games to the future of the program. Some people say they won't care until they see them in a Nole uniform, but I would counter that image is everything. By signing top classes you establish yourself as a "place to be" where the next year's recruits will want to play.

We had and incredibly bad run on top prospects from 2000-2006. So many academic and non-football-related casualties that it turned many people off to following the recruiting process at all. "Stars don't matter" is a phrase frequently heard throughout January and February. Well, yes they do. A 5 star recruit generally has a better chance of success than a 3 star recruit. The issue is to target the RIGHT 5 stars. Ones who have the grades. Ones who fit a system. Ones who know that if they don't do their job they can easily be replaced on the depth chart no matter if they have seniority.

UF correctly targeted the RIGHT 5 stars under Zook. He built a foundation of good players who, for the most part, made the grades and allowed themselves to be coached. They then hired a superior game-planner and motivator as head coach. He was able to take these players and win football games, all the while strengthening the school's already great recruiting process. At this point, they can sign as many 4 and 5 star recruits as they want. If they pan out, they will on average be better than our 3 and 4 star recruits. If they don't pan out, they will be replaced by another 4 or 5 star recruit.

Can you win without having superior talent? Yes.
Can you win without having superior coaching? Yes.
Can you win without having superior talent OR coaching? Nope. Not when your chief rival has an abundance of both.

 

 

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