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First look: FSU's 2017 recruiting class

Our initial glance at the next class of 'Noles.

Vandarius Cowan
Vandarius Cowan

By now you know. Florida State closed the 2016 recruiting cycle in exceptionally strong fashion, securing the commitments of numerous top targets on National Signing Day en route to the No. 2 class in the country, while once again separating itself impressively from its instate rivals.

So what about next year? 2017 looks to be starting in a similarly promising way for the 'Noles. FSU currently sits at No. 8, nationally, in the composite class rankings, and third in the ACC behind Miami and Clemson. However, it should be noted that rankings this early in the process are beyond tenuous, primarily due to the manner in which they stress numbers (of Miami's 10 2017 commits, six are three-stars, presently).

FSU, which figures to field a more modest class, quantitatively speaking, of 21-22, nevertheless has some highly regarded players already on board for next year. The 'Noles are off to a blistering start with regard to the caliber of players they already have in the fold. Florida State has five players committed, and four of them (80%) are blue-chip prospects.

They include three players who, as of now, are ranked within the top ten of their respective position groups. Leading the way is D.J. Matthews (6-0, 170), a four-star receiver from Jacksonville's Trinity Christian Academy who's considered the No. 8 WR in the country. Matthews has an impressive list of suitors, including offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Miami, USC, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Georgia, and others. He was the first commit of FSU's 2017 class, verbally pledging to the Seminoles on July 17 of 2014 after camping in Tallahassee. But he wasn't alone for long.

A day after Matthews pulled the trigger for FSU, defensive tackle Ja'len Parks (6-4, 275) committed to Florida State as well, on the same day that he was offered. Also a four-star recruit, Parks hails from Newberry, Florida, and is deemed the nation's No. 10 DT. He has offers from Florida, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and South Alabama.

Late last year saw another pair of prospects commit in a short span of time. On December 29, the country's No. 6 outside linebacker, four-star VanDarius Cowan, committed to FSU-- for the second time. Cowan (6-3, 221) is from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and has an extensive offer list that includes Alabama, Florida, Miami, Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State, LSU, Michigan State, Georgia, and others.

Just two days later, three-star OLB and 'Nole legacy Bradley Jennings, Jr. (6-2, 215) pledged his services to FSU shortly before the Seminoles played Houston in the Peach Bowl. Jennings, of Jacksonville's Sandalwood High School, also has offers from North Carolina, Louisville, Duke, West Virginia, Indiana, USF, Toledo, Troy, and FIU.

The Seminoles' lone running back recruit for 2017 came into the FSU fold between the previously mentioned clustered pairs. Zaquandre White (6-0, 200) of North Fort Myers, Florida is yet another four-star talent who has also been offered by Miami, Tennessee, Louisville, USF, FIU, and FAU.

But again, people: it is so ridiculously early. If anything can serve as context, it's Miami's fortunes in the 2016 recruiting cycle. The 'Canes, early on, boasted the country's top class. They finished 21st. Point being, so much still figures to change-- but the 'Noles are off to a nice start.