Florida State's 2016 recruiting is going quite well. The Seminoles look to be on track to land another top-five class, with more four- and five-stars signed than two- and three-stars.
In the last month, I've seen most of the best players in Florida, Georgia and Alabama thanks to Nike The Opening Camp Tour stops in Miami, Orlando and Atlanta. This weekend, I'll be in Bradenton for the NFA 7v7 Southeastern Championships.
It's very important to see players in person as it is hard to judge their true size and frame off film, and size and frame are typically the dividing line between very good and elite prospects. Here's the rundown on the offense. Remember that Florida State does not have a single scholarship senior on offense so the offensive numbers will likely be between 8-11 signees.
Florida State hit a ball that is clearly sailing over the fence with Malik Henry, a five-star that the staff is simply over the moon about, and a player who in my mind is clearly ahead of where recent signees J.J. Cosentino, De'Andre Johnson and Deondre Francois were at the same point in their careers. Since transferring to IMG in Bradenton from California, Henry has begun to recruit more for Florida State as he gets to know other players. Henry is trying to bring players like Shavar Manuel and Saivion Smith (LSU commit) to Florida State with him. He'll be at FSU's spring game and is trying to take other visits as well.
Trent Dilfer recently broke down Henry's game for SB Nation and compared him favorably to another two-sport star in Jameis Winston.
In the most ideal of situations, FSU would return Dalvin Cook, Mario Pender, Jacques Patrick, Jonathan Vickers and Freddie Stevenson back in 2016. But it would seem prudent to add two running backs to the roster between now and the beginning of the 2016 season. Top targets Tavean Feaster and Kareem Walker unsurprisingly chose Clemson and Ohio State, respectively.
One interesting candidate is Travis Custis, at Hutchinson CC in Kansas. The 6'1, 225-pounder ended up at HCC after leaving Georgia Tech, and he is not a candidate to go back to the Flats because of math classes required. Custis would potentially be eligible to play in 2015, and the competition looks like two OSUs -- Oregon State and Oklahoma State.
Florida State is also involved with high schoolers Amir Rasul of Miami's Coral Gables Senior and Travis Homer of West Palm Beach's Oxbridge Academy. Rasul is a Miami commitment and an absolute burner on the track at 5'10, 195, but despite the commitment, is very open to other schools. Homer is incredibly athletic, though not as fast. I see both as borderline three/four-star type players.
FSU is also keeping its eye on some other backs to see how they progress on the field and in the classroom. With the new NCAA admission standards, schools are being a bit more stingy with offers and accepting commitments.
Florida State has an extremely physical receiver recruit in Keith Gavin, a four-star out of Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla -- the same school of former FSU star Nigel Bradham. Gavin is 6'3, 215 and can hold 225 or 230. He should be very good in the red zone for the Seminoles as long as he keeps working in the classroom.
Florida State is being extremely selective recruiting this position in the 2016 cycle. Some think that Florida State might sign only two receivers, though we see the prospect of no attrition from FSU's 11 returning receivers (counting John Franklin III as a receiver, conservatively) as unlikely and project FSU to eventually take three.
The clear-cut No. 1 target is Nate Craig-Myers, out of Tampa Catholic. The 6'2.5, 215-pound NCM is committed to Auburn, but seems very open to Florida State, having recently visited along with his half-brother Jayvaughn Myers, a 6'0 defensive back out of Pasco County. JM does not hold an offer but could earn one this summer. NCM missed his junior year with a leg injury but says he is on track to be 100 percent for spring ball. If NCM is fully healthy he is a bona fide five-star receiver talent. Florida State wants to get the pair back up to Tallahassee for its spring game on April 11.
One player for whom I could see Florida State turning up the heat is Eli Stove, from Niceville (Fla.) High School. Stove is 6'1, 175 and is incredible quick. Auburn is the current trendy pick for Stove, but if Florida State decides to take three receivers, I believe Stove would be receptive. Stove also has the athleticism to be a great cornerback, but he told me he wants to play receiver.
Even in a year with elite tight end recruits nationally, Florida State commitment Isaac Nauta stands out. Nauta is from Jacksonville, played for a time at Buford (Ga.) and is now at the IMG Academy in Bradenton (he moved as his dad transferred jobs). Nauta is very likely the best tight end commitment Florida State has had in the last two decades and I sincerely believe that he would play meaningful snaps for Florida State in 2015 if he could just skip that pesky final year of high school. Tight ends rarely receive a five-star rating, but the four-star Nauta is probably the best in the country and could get a fifth star. The 6'4.5, 240-pounder has excellent body control for his size and age and he'll be visiting FSU again in the coming weeks. He actively recruits for the Seminoles.
Florida State does not project to take any additional tight ends.
Note: Some sites list Jamal Couch as a tight end, but FSU is recruiting Couch as a linebacker.
13 linemen return for Florida State and attrition of one or two should be expected. Florida State will likely look to sign three to four offensive linemen, giving it a total of roughly 14 signed over the 2014-16 classes.
Right now it has one lineman in Baveon Johnson, one of the best center prospects in the country. Johnson is very big (6'3, 325) and while he needs to play with more of a nasty streak, he does pull out of his stance after snapping quite well.
Some targets right now include Andrew Boselli (yes, Tony's son) of Jacksonville Episcopal, Stewart Reese, of Ft. Pierce Central, E.J. Price of Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer and Luke Elder of Lagrange (Ga.) FSU's Rick Trickett is very particular about his linemen and typically likes to work them out in camp settings (June). All four have major offers and FSU seems in no rush to push for commitments right now. Boselli recently visited Florida State and came away impressed.