Every now and then I like to take the temperature of Florida State's recruiting efforts by asking our recruiting experts to weigh in. Today we're joined by NoleThruAndThru and SWFLNole. They answered before FSU landed its 12th commitment, defensive tackle Lonnie Gosha. FSU currently has 12 commitments, including DL Lonnie Gosha, DT Nile Lawrence-Stample, DB Keelin Smith, DB Lamarcus Brutus, OL Trey Pettis, S Karlos Williams, DB Cortez Davis, OL Sterling Lovelady, RB Eric Beverly, DB Tyler Hunter, DT Derrick Mitchell, and LB Terrance Smith.
With the addition of Terrance Smith, FSU now has 11 commitments for the 2011 class. Before the season, figured that FSU will take somewhere between 18 and 23 players in this cycle. If FSU's next 11 commitments are the quality of the first 11 (assuming the positional needs are filled), how would you grade the class? Compare it to other classes of similar size from past years, like the 2010 class with 24 commitments, or the 2009 class with 21.
SWFLNole: Assuming positional needs are filled is the key statement in the first question. If you can't look at FSU's class and see that the 'Noles are bringing in quality talent every time someone commits you haven't followed football long; however making sure the numbers fit at every position is the key to this class. If the next half of the class is the same quality as the first half I would have to give the class an A- or even possibly a B+. The reason being that every player FSU has committed is quality, however there is little superstar power. I think we all know FSU is on some kids that could be in the second half that bring that 5* type of ability though.
Is there a Christian Jones in this class? a Lamarcus Joyner? a Jacobbi McDaniel? I'm not 100% sure there is, however if we are going to judge by the average player this class may be the best of the last few years. Lawrence-Stample, Hunter, Davis and T. Smith all have that type of ceiling athletically, and Williams too if he plays with a little more bend, but each has questions that surround them as well.
Another thing is FSU seems to be making sure it is getting guys into school. I expect all 24 players from last year's class to make it in and would be surprised if any did not qualify. Most of the players in this class are already fully qualified, which is rare at this stage in the game. That is what I will remember about the 2009 class. Yes it had Greg Reid and Jacobbi McDaniel, but it had C.J. Mizell (who would have been starting next to Nigel this year) and Willie Downs as well. Some schools will take highly rated kids they know won't qualify just to pump its recruiting ranking because it helps with boosters and fans. But FSU didn't do that last year and they don't appear to do that this year.
This class may not be as high on the rankings websites because the 'Noles are going to take about 10 recruits on the lines (although it may still be), but it is a need. Note that linemen are not rated as highly, on average, because it is difficult to evaluate linemen. This is where it really helps to have Trickett as the offensive line coach. Everyone can find the best 20 linemen in the country. But a team is extremely lucky to get 1 or 2 of those recruits and must build the majority of its offensive and defensive lines from lesser ranked players. It's ridiculous that there are almost as many 4* running backs as there are 4* offensive linemen.
NT&T: Assuming positional needs are met, I would grade this class as an A-. Both lines look to be shaping up very nicely, DB is going to be a strength for the second year in a row, LB will be very nice and RB will be solid. To me, it's going to come down to who FSU brings in at QB that would put it into the solid A category and potentially a top 3 class.
What about the current class most pleases you?
SWFLNole: Today is March 29th and we are talking about maybe having 8-10 spots left in the class and on top of that FSU has a few players we know are heavy FSU leans as well. Early evaluation, early recruitment. It is so key to be able to get guys to commit early for a multitude of reasons. The first is that you are in the driver's seat. Obviously these are just verbal commitments, so you have to continue to recruit them, but its a completely different game when they are telling everyone they are going to FSU. The other thing is that all of these kids know each other. They go to camps and combines and tournaments together. Often high school kids are the best recruiters a school can have because of that reason. Even if they are not outwardly recruiting, elite recruits want to be in a class with other great players. Perhaps the least talked about issue with Urban Meyer is the enormous (almost 2 month) jump FSU got in evaluating these kids. You can't offer a kid until you evaluate him. FSU evaluated first, offered first (which is huge), and because FSU has its act together much earlier in 2010, it got that big jump.
NT&T: Two [Editor's note: Now 3 w/ Gosha] early (and solid) DT commits and a top-flight OL on board in Pettis. All
three four look to be great prospects. FSU also has another top 5 DB class coming in. The recent commitment of Terrance Smith is also HUGE.
What is your greatest issue, worry, disappointment, or question about the current class or the commitments which are not yet at Florida State?
SWFLNole: I don't think I have a disappointment yet in this cycle but there are some questions. I want to make sure FSU continues to address its needs. I know that FSU wants to bring in the best athletes, and may prefer a less needed position if he is much better but FSU still needs to make to bring in at least 5 DL and 4 OL, and FSU seemingly has an endless amount of defensive backs spots. [Editor's note: Gosha committed after SWFLNole submitted his answers]
The other thing is QB recruiting. Honestly, I don't think I should ever worry or question offensive recruiting, especially at the QB position because Jimbo has shown there is no need to question him on that. At the same time it seems FSU is all in for Nick Marshall at this point. This bothers me in some ways. The first is that I'm not sold on Marshall ever being a great passer. While he is a great athlete, there is a difference between having a strong arm and being a great passer, and I'm not sure Marshall's release won't need some serious work. Also, how much does he want to be a football player? He is really good at basketball too; is he a full time quarterback? I have some doubt that a kid can run Fisher's system and play varsity basketball as well.
NT&T: Who FSU brings in at QB is a question/concern to me, even though I think Clint Trickett has the tools to be another Ponder. I am concerned that Nick Marshall will focus on basketball at the next level and FSU seems to have fallen out of the race with Christian Lemay. Defensive End is another concern- need an infusion of DE talent as well as DT. I am also curious to see who FSU brings in at WR and TE- I'm really hoping for Jajuan Story to be one of the WRs.