A Fan's Perspective: Potential Coaching Candidates Part 2

As FSU prepares to face the Houston Cougars, it is equally important for Fisher & Co. to prepare for the football offseason. This includes evaluating current personnel, both players and coaches, the latter who are being discussed in this write-up. In part 1, we briefly considered the performance of Lawrence Dawsey, Bill Miller, and Jay Graham, from a coaching and a recruiting standpoint, and explored several candidates that may be more fitting. If you have not already, I encourage you to read that article here. This is not meant to imply that Dawsey, Miller, and Graham have been mediocre; it is simply meant to suggest that another coach could improve FSU's performance of the recruiting trail and perhaps, on the whiteboard.

"OB, why are you picking on Dawsey, Miller, and Graham?"

Well, that is certainly not my intention. In the spirit of 'the editor formerly known as FSUncensored,' I only intend to be unbiased and impartial (by the way, my thoughts do not reflect the thoughts of any editors, writers,TN, etc.). And with that said, let's get started.

FSU vs ACC Football Recruiter Rankings

ACC Conference Rankings


Class of

2013 2014 2015 2016
C. Kelly 63 36 12 5
R. Sanders 77 NR 96 DNR
O. Haggins 10 9 19 2
T. Brewster - 7 14 1
R. Trickett 3 11 1 15
L. Dawsey 7 64 5 DNR
B. Lawing - - - 49
B. Miller - - 46 89
J. Graham - 52 114 16

The dash (-) signifies that this coach was not active that year, the coach did not coach in the ACC that year, or stats were not provided. "DNR" signifies that the coach was not ranked that year or is not currently ranked.

After looking at this table for a few seconds, a few things may jump off the page at you. First, Trickett, Brewster, and Haggins are excellent and incredibly consistent. Over the course of the past few years, Trickett, Brewster, and Haggins rank 7th, 8th, and 10th best in the ACC. This means that FSU has 3 of the top 10 recruiters on staff in the conference. On the other hand, the other coaches have been either decent or downright horrible. Charles Kelly appears to be on an upswing, as he is currently ranked as the 5th best recruiter in the conference for the Class of 2016.

Sanders, Miller and Graham have constantly ranked among the ACC's worst recruiters. Conversely, I reserve judgement on Brad Lawing, as not enough data has been compiled to comfortably deduce anything sensible. The most interesting case among them belongs to Dawsey. Dawsey's recruiting has literally epitomized a sine wave function. Is he a really good recruiter that has had a couple of bad years? Or is he a bad recruiter that's gotten lucky a few times? Either way it goes, consistency is paramount in this industry.

Ok, enough of that: let's have a look from a more national perspective, shall we?

FSU vs NCAAF Football Recruiter Rankings

National Rankings


Class of

2013 2014 2015 2016 Avg. from 2013-2015 Present-Day Rank*
C. Kelly 389 200 78 24 222 159
R. Sanders 453 > 500 554 DNR 502 487
O. Haggins 62 49 104 10 72 53
T. Brewster 215 7 84 3 102 68
R. Trickett 37 73 6 76 38 51
L. Dawsey 50 314 40 DNR 134 208
B. Lawing 469 23 DNR 294 262 341
B. Miller 245 432 226 597 301 358
J. Graham 51 257 732 89 346 206

I like this table a lot because it provides perspective from a national standpoint. Again, Brewster, Haggins, and Trickett fill up the stat sheet, Sanders, Miller, and Graham can't give you any quality minutes, and Dawsey remains an enigma (and Lawing for that matter).

The goal for a recruiter is to be ranked in Top 100 nationally, as that will almost always assure you a Top 15 finish in your conference. For reference sake, each conference spot is worth about 5-7 national spots (for example, a ranking of 7th puts you around 40th nationally).

It sucks that we lost so many good coaches, we can blame Jameis, I guess. But were they really good recruiters?

It is true: Jeremy Pruitt, James Coley, and Dameyune Craig were considered to be excellent recruiters and their loss appears to have hurt us. But just how good were they? Hmmmm...

Former Employees


Class of

2013 2014 2015 2016 Avg. from 2013-2015 Present-Day Rank
D. Craig 46 8 401 15 152 128
J. Coley 462 26 71 38 186 63
J. Pruitt 1 36 33 222 23 70

It turns out that Craig, Coley, and Pruitt are dadgum awesome recruiters, as this is reflected in their rankings. So yeah, their departure has definitely impacted us. With these guys on staff, FSU goes from contending from the #1 class year in, year out to a class consistently ranked 5th-10th. Quality coaching can mitigate their loss sure, but how long before these issues become costly?

Well OB, are there any coaches that we should be considering?

As a matter of fact, there are. I listed all the coaches that I mentioned in part 1 of this series to give you an idea of how these coaches perform on the trail. I also listed some coaches that have been tossed around TN as possible replacements. Take a look:

FSU Staff vs Coaching Prospects


Class of

2013 2014 2015 2016 Avg. from 2013-2015 Present-Day Rank
T. Buckley DNR 189 429 63 227 311
J. Seider 87 169 95 153 117 121
T. Thigpen 498 10 65 123 191 152
R. Dugans 168 DNR 542 173 294 324
C. Long 124 68 26 16 73 54
D. Kitchings 154 88 45 487 96 174
B. Strickland 92 45 134 N/A 90 72
D. Jones 400 154 142 32 232 167
D. Williams - 218 72 64 118 128
R. Woodie 404 92 158 390 218 272
L. Galloway 463 102 132 108 232 184
T. Lockette - 219 190 128 179 186
C. West 41 9 137 567 62 150
T. Robinson 15 24 204 71 81 70

*Present-Day Rank is a metric that calculates the predicted average from 2013-2016 (specifically, the current time). Since the Class of 2016 is still being accumulated, I combined the previous ranking finishes to the projected finish in a 80/20 soft average. Therefore, these rankings will not be exact, as a sizable deviation may be present.

From the table, we see that most of the candidates discussed are presently really good recruiters. It is worthy noting the dominant positions of Chip Long, Ben Strickland, and Tavaris Robinson. All three are currently ranked as Top 100 recruiters.

Ron Dugans and Terrell Buckley have not shown thus far to be excellent recruiters, although both have had solid years (and are doing very well right now). On that same note, the Class of 2016 is far from being finished and it is certain that many, if not all of these recruiters will move up.

Let's Wrap It Up

"That's a ton of numbers, OB. Just give it to me straight. Who's a good recruiter and who isn't?"

I took the calculated numbers and created a small table that shows the caliber of each recruiter at the present moment. Please keep in mind that these results are certainly subject to change because the Class of 2016 is not yet complete. This being said, most recruiters on the list will likely move up (and a few may move down). So don't shoot me; although this list reflects up-to-date results, it is not exhaustive. We will revisit the list after #Tribe16 is signed, but it is still interesting and valuable to see where the coaches currently stand.


How Do They Grade Out?

A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F+ F F-
0-40 41-75 76-100 101-125 126-175 176-200 201-225 226-275 276-300 301-325 326-375 376-400 401-425 426-475 >475
C. Kelly
R. Sanders
O. Haggins
T. Brewster
R. Trickett
L. Dawsey
B. Lawing
B. Miller
J. Graham
T. Buckley
J. Seider
T. Thigpen
R. Dugans
C. Long
D. Kitchings
B. Strickland
D. Jones
D. Williams
R. Woodie
L. Galloway
T. Lockette
C. West

As you can see, FSU has some really really good recruiters and others that are currently on the other side of the spectrum. I don't expect Randy Sanders to ever be a good recruiter. Recently, however, he has become invaluable. Jimbo has started to relinquish some control over his offense to Sanders and embrace more of the head coaching duties. For those following FSU football, we know that says a lot of how much Jimbo trusts Sanders. Similarly, Brad Lawing may not be an ace on the trail, but he has proved over his career to be an ace in the classroom. I don't see Jimbo ever asking Lawing to 'move on,' and nor should he imo. When you can take a player with 2 career sacks in 3 years, and turn him into a nightmare on the edge, you have definitely earned your keep. Not to be outdone, I'm pretty sure Giorgio Newberry is extremely glad Brad Lawing was his DL coach this year.

But there is more work to do, as we can see. FSU has a few coaches that are not considered to be elite coaches, and as the data shows, are not elite on the trail either. This may not seem overly concerning, but all one has to do is look down the list to see comparable candidates that may be an improvement in at least recruiting. But does any of these candidates offer an improvement in coaching too? We will investigate that in part 3.

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