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2017 FSU football recruiting: ‘Noles achieving historic quality over quantity

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The future appears bright in Tallahassee.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Florida State
Jimbo Fisher
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

In what should be obvious to anyone following the 2017 Florida State recruiting cycle, due to numbers, the ‘Noles will be signing a relatively smaller class in February. It’s a very simple result of how many players the Seminoles figure to return, which is, of course, far from a bad thing. It’s the mark of a still comparatively young team returning a number of scholarship athletes, and thus, less of a need to wrangle new talent to Tallahassee.

With that being the case, FSU’s 2017 class figures to finish somewhere around 20 guys, on the low end for most seasons. To put that in context, since Jimbo Fisher took over as the FSU Head Coach in 2010, the ‘Noles have signed classes of 29, 29, 19, 22, 29, 20, and 25— an average of over 24.5 per class. So while the quantity for this year’s haul figures to be under the typical mean, at this point, the quality of those committed to Florida State for the 2017 cycle is staggering. Specifically, it’s better than it’s ever been in Fisher’s tenure with the garnet and gold.

That may not jump out at you if you rely strictly upon recruiting ranking, with regard to which, we use 247’s composite scores. FSU currently sits eighth, nationally, for 2017, but it’s important to note that every team currently ranked ahead of the ‘Noles has more commitments than Florida State, which has 10:

  1. Ohio State (13)
  2. Alabama (14)
  3. Oklahoma (15)
  4. Michigan (15)
  5. Georgia (11)
  6. Notre Dame (13)
  7. Tennessee (18)

But, simply put, most of those programs need to replace more than the Seminoles. Hence, quantity.

FSU, on the other hand, which returns the majority of its starters on both sides of the ball along with a good deal of depth, is in a position of being able to focus on its top targets. Ergo, quality. And so far, the returns are very promising. Presently, only Ohio State has a higher per-player ranking than Florida State, with regard to the 2017 cycle. The Buckeyes are at 94.48, while the Seminoles’ currently come in at 92.85.

How good is that number for the ‘Noles? Well, FSU’s stellar 2016 class finished second in the country, behind only Alabama— a Crimson Tide program that led the country at 92.85, exactly, to the hundredth of a point, where Florida State finds itself right now. That’s really saying something.

In fact, the current per-player rank of FSU recruits is as high as it’s ever been in the Jimbo Fisher era. Here’s a list of how the Seminoles’ recruiting classes have finished since Fisher took over, with the per-player average first, and each class’ final national ranking parenthesized:

  • 2016: 91.71 (2)
  • 2015: 92.41 (3)
  • 2014: 90.07 (4)
  • 2013: 89.19 (11)
  • 2012: 92.71 (3)
  • 2011: 90.41 (2)
  • 2010: 88.65 (7)

2010’s signing class, of course, can be rather misleading, as Fisher had only been at the helm for about a month after taking over for Bobby Bowden— and that really serves to illustrate what a change in leadership can spawn. Prior to 2011, the Seminoles hadn’t signed a 90+ average recruiting class since 2002, when Bowden brought in the country’s No. 2 class, which averaged 91.10. But to return to the present: if FSU can maintain anywhere near its 2017 80% blue-chip recruiting rank, this class looks to be in good shape to finish quite nicely.