What did I get right and what did I get wrong in my Florida State football recruit National Signing Day predictions piece. I'm very happy with how these turned out, and FSU fans are as well.
Landon Dickerson, four-star offensive tackle, North Carolina: I know that Dickerson really likes Florida State and Tennessee, and I don't buy the Alabama talk, which may be foolish given how well the Tide recruits. I'm going to say Florida State but I don't think this is a slam dunk.
Update: Tennessee experts do not expect to sign Landon Dickerson.
Got this one right. 1/1
Brian Burns, four-star defensive end, Ft. Lauderdale: I am confident Burns will pick Florida State over Florida and Georgia because my sources believed FSU held a lead entering this weekend's visit and FSU usually hits visits out of the park.
Trayvon Mullen, four-star cornerback, Coconut Creek: Mullen seems like a kid who has trouble telling people "no." I honestly believe that the coaching staffs recruiting him (Clemson, FSU, LSU) all think they have some shot. Word in recruiting circles is that mom wants FSU and his coach wants LSU. Clemson has the early playing time to sell. I honestly have no idea here. I had to pick it for the paper and chose LSU over FSU, but I could see Mullen going to any of the three. I do NOT believe the report from a week ago that Mullen is down to Clemson and LSU, both because sources don't buy it and because Mullen himself denied it.
3/3 on picking FSU/not FSU, 0/1 on thinking it would be LSU and not Clemson. Mullen had multiple staffs believing he was coming, especially LSU up until the 11th hour. Some kids have a hard time telling people no, and I don't believe Mullen had any malicious intent.
Dontavious Jackson, four-star linebacker, Houston: Can Florida State overcome Jackson's close relationship with several Texas commitments and the proximity to home? Ordinarily, I'd say absolutely not, but that some Texas writers I know and trust believe FSU has a legitimate chance, which gives me pause. I think I picked Texas when interviewed by the paper, but I have zero confidence in the pick.
Update 1: I am a bit surprised that Texas recruiting sites do not view linebacker Dontavious Jackson as a lock after his unofficial visit, especially since his mom joined him on Sunday. Team sites that charge a subscription fee often cater to their homers and act shocked when a player goes elsewhere. This does have me re-thinking my prediction of Texas a bit, but it is not enough to make me switch. I've already stated I am not confident in either side here. If I were to flip a prediction to Florida State, Jackson would be it.
Update 2: Almost all Texas sites are non-committal or are predicting Dontavious Jackson to Florida State. That's enough for me to also pick him to come to FSU. Frankly, I'm surprised with Texas recruiting his teammate and his mom coming on the visit on Sunday to Austin.
4/4, happy I changed my pick. His mom coming on his visit to Texas did have me believing for a bit that he seriously wanted the Longhorns, but then my FSU guys were more confident than my Texas sources, so it was time to flip the pick.
Jonathan Kongbo, four-star defensive end, Arizona Western CC: This is an incredibly difficult one to read because Kongbo seems to fall in love with everywhere he goes. I presume he'll love FSU after his visit is done, too. Guessing here, but if forced to make a pick I'll say Tennessee because of his long-standing relationship.
5/5, and 1/2 on predicting where players would go elsewhere.
Carlos Becker, four-star cornerback, Kissimmee: I'm confident Florida State will beat out Ohio State and land this excellent cornerback. Coaches Jimbo Fisher, Charles Kelly and Rick Trickett have done a great job cultivating a relationship with him, though he did like his Ohio State visit the best. This was closer down the stretch than most readers realize.
6/6, Once FSU overcame the early playing time angle OSU was pitching, I was confident.
Jauan Williams, four-star offensive tackle, DC: I think A&M is in this thing more than people realize and Williams is another player whose mind seems to change quickly based on visits, but he has consistently kept Florida State at the top. The interesting thing is that I am not sure FSU will actually take two more linemen, and I would far prefer Dickerson, though I do not know if the staff feels the same way.
Update: Apparently FSU's biggest competition for Jauan Williams is now UGA and not A&M. I'm not sure that matters.
7/7, as FSU did take both.
Stephon Taylor, four-star defensive tackle, New Orleans: I'm going with Texas here. The Longhorns can offer early playing time more than Florida State, and even after his official visit FSU did not pull ahead.
8/8 on FSU or not FSU, 1/3 on picking other schools as Taylor went with South Carolina!
Shavar Manuel, four-star defensive tackle, IMG Academy: I believe Manuel will stay committed to the Gators. I can't say there is zero chance of him flipping because he is quite impressionable and falls in love on visits according to sources at FSU, LSU and Florida. But in the end I think he'll stick with the Gators.
Update: Florida defensive tackle commit Shavar Manuel has gone from saying to various media outlets that his mind was made up, to he doesn't know, to it's 50-50, etc. This is all just noise. I bet Manuel knows whether or not he is sticking with Florida and is just trying to create hype for his announcement.
A miss 8/9. I did not think Manuel would be able to stick with his FSU choice after he returned home.
Amir Rasul, four-star running back, Coral Gables: I think Rasul sticks with Florida State. North Carolina has made a run, but I don't think it will be enough. And I was always skeptical that he was really that high on Alabama's board.
9/10, no drama here.
Jamel Cook, four-star safety, Miami Central: I think Florida State keeps Cook. I keep going back to a chat I had with Cook after the state championship games. He unveiled plans to visit a bunch of schools, but didn't even really know which ones. I asked him if he was legitimately interested or if he was just going to have fun (free trips are awesome). He confided in me that he was mostly looking to have fun. In the course of having that fun, I think USC has made things interesting, but I do not believe FSU will lose a kid from Miami Central like Cook.
I've been asked about what I think of other sites picking Jamel Cook to flip to USC. As of now I am sticking with my pick of Florida State. Here's more of my reasoning: Kids rarely go cross country unless they have means to go home if need be, or their parents have means to fly out to see them. Further, much of the chatter on Cook is tied to him going to USC with Pie Young, but a source who knows Young spoke to him in the last day or so and came away unconvinced he will actually pick USC over Louisville. There's also rumor that Cook's brother at a JUCO in Cali is pushing hard for him to come to USC. But a community college is a temporary setting. It ain't ever simple with South Florida prospects, and this is not enough for me to flip my pick to USC.
9/11, This one surprised me on multiple levels. I trust my guy who spoke with Pie Young, and I am surprised at USC allegedly pitching Cook as a receiver. I don't think there is any shot that sticks given the studs the Trojans have at wideout.
One player I didn't think I'd need to make a prediction for is FSU commitment Clifford Chattman, a three-star safety from New Orleans. Chattman visited A&M over the weekend and my sources say A&M believes it can flip him. I also do not believe Chattman would be a big loss to FSU's class if he were to flip. I do not know Chattman like I do some of these recruits and do not have a real idea of what he will do.
Update: As I noted at lunch, Clifford Chattman may indeed flip to A&M, and since I have nobody from FSU's side telling me they will keep him, and several A&M (and New Orleans) sources predicting a flip, I'll join them.
10/12, and honestly, I don't think signing Chattman without his teammate Taylor coming would have been good use of a scholarship.
This wasn't a prediction, really, and I'd feel cheap counting it in the victory column:
I was asked if LB recruit Emmett Rice "choosing" between FSU, Louisville and West Virginia is an indication that academics are a concern (Louisville and West Virginia find ways to get just about anyone into school). My sources told me they are not.