Recruiting is largely a numbers game. Coaches need to know how many spots are likely to be available before accepting a commitment from a prospect. We're not in position to predict the future and tell you exactly how many players FSU will take at each position. But we are able to tell you the minimum number FSU will need to take to maintain appropriate depth at each position, both in 2012 and beyond. We hope this will assist you as a primer for future recruiting features.
A team typically carries 41-42 offensive players. 'Noles will return 35 offensive players before any attrition. Keep in mind, it is not realistic to expect 35 players to return. Proper planning would indicate that at least three players will not return, putting the number at a more likely 32, meaning FSU would look to take 8-10 new offensive players.
Absent anyone leaving, which is entirely possible, FSU returns four quarterbacks in 2012. Fisher has stated that he will take a quarterback every year. Will Secord would be a prime transfer candidate, as being a backup to a player his junior would not afford him playing time. Minimum Need: one
Instead of listing "RB, WR, TE", the skill category is better as it allows for greater flexibility. "Skill" is the aggregate of running backs, full backs, tight ends, and receivers. Some teams prefer to carry more receivers, others want more backs, and yet still others want more right ends. FSU does not stay static here, and in some years has shown it will carry more at one spot than another. But 20-22 is typically the desired number. FSU will technically return 18, though attrition of 1-2 is certainly expected here as some players passed by younger players will want to go elsewhere to get some playing time in the latter stage of their college careers. Thus, the minimum need is three, though we realistically expect FSU to take a bit more than that.
Jimbo Fisher said on signing day that he wants to carry 18 offensive linemen. That is hyperbole, and not realistic by any stretch. The ideal number for a team to carry is 16, give or take one. That allows for a full two-deep, plus 2-3 swing players, and 3-4 red-shirts which are important for some offensive linemen. FSU just brought in the top offensive line class in the country, so this class will be smaller. FSU will return 12 before any attrition. That means FSU will bring in a minimum of two offensive linemen.
Like the offense above, a defense typically carries 40-42 scholarship players. FSU will return 34 defenders in 2012, but it would be negligent to assume that number won't be considerably lower. With 21 upperclassmen, multiple players will transfer as they want to actually play the sport they love instead of sitting on the bench in their final seasons.
A team typically wants to carry 16 defensive linemen, give or take. Next year, FSU will return exactly 16. But with 11 of those 16 being upperclassmen, you can expect transfers and for FSU to go overloaded at the position for a year. This is a special year for Florida State, grabbing the #1 player in Texas, and the 'Noles will almost assuredly play with 19 defensive linemen in 2012. Guys just do not want to work their butts off for four years and not play in the latter part of their careers. Expect FSU to bring in a minimum of four defensive linemen, though that number will likely be higher as defensive linemen are always a crapshoot to qualify.
FSU wants to carry 10 linebackers, give or take one. Next year the 'Noles return 7 linebackers. Given the high number of defensive linemen FSU will carry in 2012, and the relative lack of linebacker talent this year, FSU will likely roll with 8-9 in 2012. Attrition will likely be zero or one, so the minimum is one. Further complicating matters for us in determining the minimums, is the potential for players to move to linebacker. Nick Moody and James Wilder, Jr. all have the size to play linebacker. We are not saying they will play linebacker, but rather that they could.
FSU seems to want to carry 15 defensive backs, give or take one. We would like to see them carry less, but Mark Stoops likes to run some nickel and we aren't in a position to argue with Stoops, particularly when Fisher has signed off on it. It's a preference, and there is no right or wrong as long as all positions are adequately addressed. FSU will return 12 defensive backs next year before any departures, which are sure to occur. We project two departures/ position changes, and believe that is conservative. Given that, the minimum is two.
Florida State loses punter Shawn Powell, and will take one specialty player to replace him.
Those are the absolute minimums.