Independence Day in the U.S. evokes a number of different images: fireworks, burgers and dogs on the grill, and backyard parties with friends and family. These Fourth of July celebrations will take place all over the country, in states that otherwise have very little in common.
It’s not dissimilar to the idea of a university, an alternate definition of which in the Oxford English Dictionary is “including, affecting or involving the whole of something.” And college football teams share those traits as well, as they’re comprised of student-athletes from all over the country, and, in the case of FSU, even international origins.
While the majority of the Seminoles’ 85 football scholarships are presently held by players from the talent-rich state of Florida, nearly half hail from other states or countries, and today seemed like an appropriate time to run through the numerous and varied constituent parts that make up a the current cohesive — and powerful — version of ‘Nole football.
Outside of the Sunshine State, more scholarship Florida State football players come from Virginia than any other state (and yes, I know that Virginia is technically a commonwealth). Largely a product of FSU’s noted success recruiting the mid-Atlantic region, half a dozen Seminoles from VA will be featured on the 2016 ‘Nole roster: Josh Sweat, Alec Eberle, Darvin Taylor, Derrick Nnadi, Josh Ball, and Levonta Taylor.
Up next are a couple of bordering states that also annually produce blue-chip prospects: Georgia and Alabama. Each state has five scholarship ‘Noles on the roster. Peach State Seminoles: Arthur Williams, Malique Jackson, Cole Minshew, Jalen Wilkerson, and Gabe Nabors. Those from Alabama are Chris Casher, Marquez White, Nate Andrews, Wilson Bell, and Justin Shanks.
After that, it’s back up to the fertile recruiting ground often referred to as the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia), as Maryland checks in next with four Florida State players, all of whom are offensive linemen: David Robbins, Brock Ruble, Rick Leonard, and Jauan Williams. And don’t forget D.C. DB Marcus Lewis, too. FSU’s relevance in the Atlantic Coast Conference is further evidenced thereafter, as three current ‘Noles are from the Garden State of New Jersey: Sean Maguire, Chad Mavety, and Ryan Izzo. Other examples of the sizable Seminole recruiting footprint along the eastern seaboard can be witnessed in North Carolina (Josh Brown and Landon Dickerson), New York (Kareem Are), and South Carolina (Auden Tate). Pennsylvania’s only coast is along Lake Erie, but it’s still a major northeastern state that’s contributed J.J. Cosentino and Naseir Upshur to the Florida State roster.
And there’s certainly talent along other coasts as well— like our own gulf coast; aside from the previsouly noted Alabama players, the Magnolia State has provided Ethan Frith, and, heading west of Mississippi and the river that touts its name, FSU boasts Ryan Hoefeld and Kyle Meyers from Louisiana and Lone Star State linebacker Dontavious Jackson out of Texas.
Heading north, Missouri has sent Rod Johnson and Logan Tyler to Tallahassee, while Malik Henry is the Seminoles’ lone west coast representative (California).
Of course, America is often depicted as a country of immigrants, and the Florida State football team is certainly not without its own bevy of outside additions. Abdul Bello is from Nigeria, while Mavin Saunders calls the Bahamas home.
And while this piece serves as a natural July 4th article, it also functions as an underscoring of the elite recruiting taking place at FSU in its pursuit of greatness. After all, fathom this squad without the out-of-state talent, particularly considering the presumed depth chart.
On offense, that could well mean the absence of Florida State’s entire starting OL, including a possible first-round left tackle, in Johnson, and a very gifted tight end (Izzo). The defensive losses would be significant as well. No sweat? No, really. No Josh Sweat. Nnadi? Nada. And that tailor-made secondary about which so many are excited would lack Taylor, White, and Andrews.
Moreover, consider some of the out-of-state, and even international, imports throughout FSU history. All three ‘Nole Heisman winners (Ward, Weinke, and Winston). Warrick Dunn. Germany’s Bjoern Werner. Great Britian’s Menelik Watson. The list goes on. So must the Seminoles’ top-notch and far-reaching recruiting returns, if they’re hoping to stay among America’s best college football programs.