Since August, Florida State has been playing football games. The focus has been on the field for the most part, and with good reason; we all love to see the results of the Seminole's efforts. What will Bobby Bowden do? Who will be the new Defensive Coordinator with legend Mickey Andrew's departure? While these are very serious questions that capture the minds of Seminoles, they are also happening at the heart of the most important time for recruiting.
At TomahawkNation, we try to cover Florida State's recruiting efforts the best we can. While we are proud of our recruiting staff, none of us do this as our fulltime job. With that said, December and January are the most important recruiting months of the year. For the first time in years, the recruits will know exactly who the head coach will be for the next few years, and they also know that FSU is committed to winning no matter what. Hopefully, that knowledge will help Florida State "close" in the coming months. Bobby Bowden was known as a great closer, but in the last few years he didn't have the same effect. A new staff is extremely important for moving on. Most people think 3 classes is the gold standard of getting things turned around. 2008 and 2009 were very good, and the next two months will dictate if 2010 is in the same class.
Jimbo Fisher learned extensively under one of the masters of organization, Nick Saban. Nick Saban likes to control exactly what goes on in his program down to the most minute details. Recruiting is one of those areas that he personally oversees a great deal of. I expect that Jimbo Fisher will be much more involved with recruiting than Bobby Bowden has been. That starts with evaluation, an area where Jimbo excels.
December and January are like Saturday at the Masters, it is moving day. Just shooting par will probably not be enough, you've got to post a low number to make everyone else worry. Until December 16th, we are in what is referred to as a wide open contact period, in which coaches are allowed to make unlimited calls to prospects, visit high schools as much as they want, and do further evaluations. Florida State is already trying to do that pulling two very talented players in Jeff Luc and Mike Harris. The deadline for early enrollees to send their paperwork in is December 18th, and FSU is recruiting a number of kids they would like to be EEs. National Signing Day is Feb 4th, and going down to that day without knowing exactly who will be in the class isn't something the coaches would like to do.
But there is another important date range as well known as the dead period, from December 16th to January 4th. During that period, coaches can only call each prospect one time per week, by NCAA rule. Other things that may not occur during the recruiting dead period include official visits, unofficial visits, evaluations, visits to high schools, or even speeches at banquets. Because the college coaches are so limited in what they can do, the NCAA does do them and their families a favor over the holiday season. It will also allow the college coaches to recharge their battery for a vital month of the recruiting process.
With Florida State in the running for some of the most talented players in the country including Christian Green, LaMarcus Joyner, Corey Lemonier, Christian Jones, and Terrence Mitchell the coaches should be out on the road as much as they can be. So far, they have been on the road a ton. Some coaches are logging 20-hour days. December and January's hard work can turn into February's big payoff.
As we've stated for weeks, FSU will not retain such coaches as Jody Allen, Chuck Amato, Dexter Carter, Mickey Andrews (retired), and Todd Stroud. This means a lot of turnover. Where will these coaches primarily recruit in the next two crucial months? *With this I will address where both of the two most likely DC would be best, there is some speculation on new coaches that do not include inside knowledge of new hires.
James Coley: South Florida, Tallahassee, East Coast south from Jacksonville
Eddie Gran: (RC) South Florida, SE states such as N GA, Tennessee, RBs (Some question as to whether he can recruit immediately or will have to wait until the departed Carter's contract runs out. In any case, he will be able to recruit on January 5th, when the 2-week dead period ends).
Lawrence Dawsey: Tampa south to Naples, WRs, help in Jacksonville
Odell Haggins: Big Bend, East Coast North, Help in DL
Rick Trickett: Central Florida, NW Florida, all OL
Dameyune Craig: NW Florida, South Alabama and Mississippi
Sal Sunseri: Specializes in the southern East Coast such as the Carolinas
Kirby Smart: Specializes in N FL, and South Georgia
Jimbo Fisher: Will oversee recruiting, help any area, and focus on the elite recruits regardless of where they are.