The 'Noles are having their best recruiting year in a decade and are in contention for the top overall class in the country. But FSU's coaches won't have to wait 'till July to get their hands on many of the recruits. As many as ten Florida State recruits will be forgoing their Spring semesters of high school and enrolling at Florida State in less than a month to begin their college careers. They are RB Devonta Freeman (rumored), OL Jordan Prestwood, JUCO OL Jacob Fahrenkrug, OL Trey Pettis, OL Sterling Lovelady, DE Aaron Lynch, JUCO DE Cornellius "Tank" Carradine (expected), DT Nile Lawrence Stample (maybe), LB Terrance Smith and DB Keelin Smith (rumored).
What is early-enrolling? If a recruit has enough credits to graduate from high school without a Spring semester, he may enroll in college in the Spring. There is no limit on how many players may early enroll.
There is a scholarship benefit for early-enrolling. Each year a school can have 25 players per recruiting class. However, if a recruit enrolls early, the school may be able to count him back to the previous class.
Example: In the 2010 class, a school enrolled 21 players. Thus, the school could bring in 29 total recruits this cycle, if 4 of them counted back to the 2010 class, because there were four unfilled spots from the 2010 class. (25-21=4).
While there is no limit on the number of players who may early enroll, there is a limit on how many of those may count back to the previous class.
The benefits to early-enrolling for the player are obvious. Players get six months of a college strength and nutrition program that they would not normally receive. In that span, they could put on as much as 20 lbs of muscle and radically transform their bodies. And they get to participate in Spring ball, learning the plays and getting acclimated to the speed and intensity of the college game. Without enrolling early, it is very difficult for freshmen to make a significant contribution.
If a player has the grades, and his school allows the practice, he really should enroll early. In the world of major college football, not availing himself of the six months of benefits puts him behind the eight ball. And for what, prom? Basketball? Baseball? Unless the recruit has a pro or college future in one of the Spring sports, he should enroll early.
This is another area in which FSU fell behind Florida and other elite programs during the lost decade. With ten potential early-enrollees, it is safe to say FSU has closed the gap in this area and is now with the times.
For more on Florida State Recruiting, please visit the recruiting board.