Since Jimbo Fisher took over in 2010, Florida State has dominated recruiting in the state of Florida. In 2016, Florida State signed 18 four- and five-star recruits. Florida and Miami combined for 19.
It is a result of being a really good recruiter and evaluator, plus hiring other coaches with similar traits.
But it also has to do with Florida State's performance over that time period on the field which coincides exactly with when the class of 2017 entered middle school.
Over that stretch, FSU has gone 68-14, while Florida is at 47-30 and Miami at 43-33. The Seminoles are a combined 11-1 over the Canes and Gators over that stretch.
For recruits in the Sunshine State, FSU has been the top dog during their more serious football years.
If you're in the class of 2017, you were in elementary school watching Percy Harvin, Joe Haden and Tim Tebow at Florida.
Class of 2017 recruits were infants when Javon Kearse Fred Taylor and Jacquez Green roamed the swamp. Second graders when Reggie Nelson and Derrick Harvey terrorized offenses.
Further South, it’s even worse.
You were five when Vince Wilfork, Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow, Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, and Vernon Carey last played for Miami.
Four when Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee, and Ken Dorsey were last in a Miami uniform.
Three when Bryant McKinnie, Jeremy Shockey, Ed Reed, Phillip Buchanon and Clinton Portis were last in the Orange Bowl.
Dan Morgan, Santana Moss, and Reggie Wayne? Just two.
You likely weren’t born when Bubba Franks and Edgerrin James were playing.
Class of 2017 recruits were 11 the last time UF beat FSU in Gainesville, 5 the last time the Hurricanes beat the Noles in Miami.
The results have shown up in the NFL draft, too.
Jimbo Fisher has produced 38 draft picks during his time in Tallahassee, compared to 33 for Florida and 28 for Miami. The quality is considerably higher, too, with FSU having 17 first- and second-round picks (8, 9), compared to 10 for Florida (8, 2) and 6 for Miami (3, 3).
Conference titles are 3-0-0, respectively, with national titles 1-0-0. Florida last beat a Power 5 opponent in a bowl in 2011. For Miami, it was 2006.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that kids who grew up as Florida or Miami fans when they were young are now committing to Florida State.
Or that stars living 15 minutes from Gainesville are picking FSU. The Seminoles have just been the dominant program in the state during the years in which the recruits became serious about football. The FSU program against which Jim McElwain and Mark Richt are recruiting against is perceived as much more accomplished by recruits than the one Al Golden and Will Muschamp were recruited against during their early years.