I've thought for a while that Florida State will soon dominate the ACC in recruiting. And I don't mean the "let's take these highly rated kids who have no shot of qualifying or staying out of prison so that we can pump our national ranking" method. I mean getting the best players who will make a big impact on the field. That time is now. Other ACC writers have noticed:
Clemson travels to Tallahassee to face the ‘Noles. Jimbo Fisher has not messed around down there. He has their offense rocking and rolling fixing the Jeff Bowden debacle with authority. With all the controversy and drama gone, I really expect this team to be improved overall since last year. Also, there is no way that FSU is really that bad on defense, and will be improved there this season. I think the ACC needs to watch out because it looks like Jimbo is moving in the right direction both offensively and on the recruiting trail. These improvements coupled with the fact that their defensive effort cannot get any worse leads me to believe FSU is poised for great things over the next few years and will defeat Clemson this season.-- ShakinTheSouthland.com (Clemson site)
We already know FSU snagged 8 ESPNU150 players while the rest of the ACC landed 9 combined. That's pretty impressive. I find looking at the top 6 ACC classes in chart form to be very helpful. The players below are ranked by Rivals.com rating (6.1 is a 5* player, 6.0-5.8 is a 4*, 5.7-5.5 is a 3*, and 5.4 or less is a 2*). I used Rivals.com and not ESPN because ESPN refuses to rate Junior College players. The teams are ordered by their average star ranking.
(Click to Enlarge)
If you don't think recruiting rankings matter, well, you're wrong. Sleepers don't turn into studs as often as 5* players. As that link shows, they are far less likely.
The thing that strikes me is not that FSU signed more 4 & 5* players than any other team. They did. No, what strikes me is the bottom of FSU's recruiting class. FSU took 1 player rated 5.5 or less (JUCO DT Amp McCloud). Clemson took 4. Virginia Tech took 6. Miami took 8!
FSU didn't take filler players. Doctors get to bury their mistakes. Coaches have to feed theirs for 4 years. Florida State is creating functional depth. And while Miami might get a star or two our of their lower ranked players, we know for a fact that lower rated players are significantly less likely to become star players. FSU's bottom 10 players have a much better chance of becoming good players than do the bottom 10 players of the other classes. That's significant. We're talking about 40% of a class.
Every team will get a few highly rated kids. Where FSU will begin to separate itself is by having a much better bottom 10 players than the other teams in the conference on a yearly basis. And when a team's bottom 10 players would make up a solid base for other classes in the confrence, those teams are going to get dominated.
Inside, find our answers to the ACC recruiting round table!
Who is your prized prospect?
Lamarcus Joyner (5*) and Christian Jones (5*).
How does your fanbase react to recruiting? Or do they just want to see results no matter the star count?
Being a football fanbase (not like most of the Carolina schools), Florida State fans follow recruiting. They realize that results don't come without recruiting. Sure, a smaller school could win the Atlantic when FSU was screwing around with a joke of a coaching staff, but recruiting matters.
Who is the next calvin johnson or philip rivers in this year's crop of acc recruits?
I don't see any great QB's in this class. As for the next Calvin Johnson, the only two elite-level skill position guys I see this year are Martavis Bryant and Christian Green.
Have any recent coaching changes affected your team's recruiting class (eg kiffin to usc)?
Yes, Florida State went from unarguably the worst coaching staff in the league to arguably the best. FSU's recruiting was ranked 39th the day Bowden retired, and finished 6th on ESPN and 10th on Rivals.com, the ACC's best.
Who do you all think have assembled the strongest recruiting class, taking into account not just rankings but the needs each one has filled?
FSU is the undisputed recruiting champion this year. Clemson, who (along with Miami) was the top recruiting team in 2006-2008 has the #2 class. Then there is a considerable jump to the next level. I am impressed with what Maryland did considering the talent base in that area. I feel the need to evaluate Georgia Tech based on only their defensive recruits, and they grabbed 4 or 5 4* defenders. Miami's class is garbage and that staff has given up. Luckily, the Canes don't have the money to fire Shannon. Miami's native son is running that program into the Gulf.
How do you all see ACC schools competing with schools in the SEC and Big 12 for recruits?
The ACC as a whole doesn't compete with the SEC for recruits. But the Big 12 is a two-team league and is on par with the ACC.
|10. Florida State|
|15. Texas A&M|
|17. Ole Miss|
|22. Virginia Tech|
|25. South Carolina|
It should be noted that ESPN likes the ACC a lot more than the Big 12, but since I used Rivals.com rankings in the first chart, I stayed consistent here.