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Evaluating academics a big part of Florida State's recruiting

Kevin C. Cox

Florida State's run of success under Jimbo Fisher has been built by great recruiting. 45 wins in four years, two conference titles and a national championship, plus getting Florida State's NFL pipeline back online.

And one of the most important parts of recruiting is figuring out whether a player will be able to qualify.

With the news that offensive tackle Chad Mavety will be on campus Thursday, it appears that Florida State's entire recruiting class is going to qualify -- something Jimbo Fisher expected at least a month ago.

Florida State has signed 121 players under Jimbo Fisher, almost all rated very high. FSU's classes annually contend for the best in the country. And if the entire 2014 class qualifies, as Fisher expects, it will have qualified 116 of the 121.

And its hit rate is even better than 116 of 121.

Of the 121, FSU only expected to get in 118, according to a source close to the recruiting situation, as three were regarded as "sign and place" recruits who the school knew would first go to junior college, but let sign anyhow -- a common practice.

FSU has only miscalculated if a player would qualify twice in 118 chances. One, Davarez Bryant, a 2013 signee, was a case in which the NCAA did not accept a class the player took -- a decision with which a strong source inside the program still vehemently disagrees. The other, Damien Jacobs, was simply a miss.

Getting in 116 out of 118 signees the school expected to qualify is a 98-percent clip, which is incredible.

I spoke to Jimbo Fisher about how academics play in to the recruiting process for the Seminoles.

"They can have all the talent in the world, but without academics, it doesn't matter," Fisher said. "That goes back to character, it goes back to intelligence, and also to the desire and to understanding the importance in order to play. We can recruit 'til we're blue in the face, but unless we can get them into school, we're just practicing recruiting. It's critical."

Often, the Seminoles will wait to offer a player, or refuse to accept his commitment, until it sees improvement in his grades.

"There's no doubt. We'll wait until you've shown that commitment to getting on track to qualify."

As the National Champions, FSU can be even pickier than ever in who it offers and from whom it elects to accept commitments.