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Florida State football, recruiting news: Timing is everything

Florida State went in-home with a major recruit Monday.

What if social media had been around and rocking during the Urban Meyer era at Florida? Would Urban Meyer be perceived like Jimbo Fisher is in the media? This tweet about Will Muschamp reminded me about just how much timing matters.

And think of it with the NFL draft, too. Both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota look like home run picks so far, but the bust rate for top picks on quarterbacks is so high. What does it feel like to be a Jacksonville Jaguars fan rooting for Blake Bortles picked in 2014? Or to be a fan of a team badly needing a QB in 2016 with no obvious candidates available at the very top of the draft? Great article by Bill Barnwell here, of ESPN.

There are other factors that are hard to measure. Winston has very quickly and obviously become the emotional leader of the Buccaneers. Video of his postgame speech after beating the Cowboys went viral. Veteran teammates like Gerald McCoy rave about Winston's vocal leadership. That's no knock on Mariota, and some of this undoubtedly has to do with the fact that Tennessee has been one of the worst teams in the league, but it's worth noting.

It's also promising to see Winston's growth in a short period. He is a totally different player after Tampa's Week 6 bye, having posted the league's seventh-worst QBR beforehand and its sixth-best afterward. Mariota is inconsistent so far, with three spectacular performances interspersed with stretches of mediocre play across the seven games Tennessee has lost with Mariota at the helm. Winston may have evolved past the struggling rookie who looked overmatched before the bye. Mariota has yet to put together a similarly lengthy stretch of above-average play.

After reviewing the two quarterbacks, I lean toward Winston as the better of the two players right now. That's not an indictment of Mariota, especially in terms of his future as Tennessee's franchise quarterback. These are two passers who are beginning to deliver on their lofty promise, and it helps that they're both in their age-21 seasons, meaning that they'll have extra development time in the years to come relative to other highly drafted passers, who often enter the league during their age-22 or age-23 campaigns. Ask me to pick now, and I choose Winston. Ask me to pick for the future, and I pick them both.

Or what about Mark Richt's timing at Georgia?

This, from Bill Connelly, reminded me of the importance of timing.

Richt's tenure goes down as one of the biggest what-ifs and near-misses in recent college football history.

The successes were obvious. He won two SEC titles (the first, in 2002, was Georgia's first in 20 years), finished with 10-plus wins nine times (and counting?), and engineered as many AP top-10 finishes in 15 seasons (seven) as Vince Dooley did in 24.

Let me repeat that. He had as many awesome seasons as Vince Freaking Dooley, and he did it in nine fewer seasons.

But it always seemed like his timing was off. He finished the 2002 regular season at 12-1, which would have assured Georgia of a spot in the BCS Championship in 1998, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, etc. But Ohio State and Miami were undefeated that year.

In 2012, Richt's Bulldogs came up a few seconds and a few yards short of beating Alabama in the SEC title game. A win would have given them a likely win in the BCS title game.

If either one of those random breaks goes in Richt's favor, he's probably still Georgia's head coach. If UGA doesn't slip up at home to South Carolina in 2007 before catching fire, that's maybe another BCS title appearance. If the Dawgs don't fall to South Carolina again at the start of 2014, that's another SEC title shot.

If, if, if, if.


Pretty nice accomplishment for the Seminoles here. Speaks to the consistency of the program that Jimbo Fisher has built.


Florida State went in-home with commitment Janarius Robinson, a four-star defensive end from Panama City (Fla.) Bay High School. Robinson is not considered a strong commitment at this time, as he has legit interest in Alabama and Florida. He also removed the notation that he is an FSU commit from his twitter profile a few weeks ago, causing concern for some fans. Interesting that Florida State went in-home with Robinson as early as it did, likely trying to lock him up and get him back on campus again in the next few weeks.

Pass rushers are a priority in this cycle for the Seminoles. Josh Brown of North Carolina is weak-side end/standup outside linebacker type (think Jacob Pugh's role when FSU plays a 3-4, though one or both could potentially play true linebacker). Brown is rock solid to the Seminoles.

Because of the uncertainty there (as well as the uncertain production by some of the returning players like Chris Casher and Lorenzo Featherston) FSU is continuing to target a number of defensive ends. FSU is still actively pursuing four-star Brian Burns of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage, who seems to be favoring the Gators; five-star Oluwole Betiku of Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra (visiting him in California this week, actually), who seems to be favoring USC and Texas A&M; and four-star Terrell Hall of Washington D.C., who is visiting Florida State on December 11 and recently received an in-home visit from FSU, but most believe he will end up at Alabama if the Tide has room. Landing one of those three would be a great scenario for FSU.

FSU is also keeping a close eye on Hollywood (Fla.) Miramar's Terrell Lucas; Miami commit Patrick Bethel of Vero Beach and North Carolina commit Tomon Fox, of Suwanee (Ga.).

Interesting to note here that FSU superstar safety Derwin James listed cornerback Trayvon Mullen as a member of #Tribe16, when he is in fact uncommitted. Maybe his interaction with Mullen on Mullen's official visit over the weekend has him believing Mullen will end up in the class?