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On Florida State recruiting and stars

Some fans are worried FSU is signing too many 3-stars. It’s not a big deal in a single class.

The Oregonian/OregonLive

I’ve received numerous emails about Florida State’s class (currently top five nationally, with nine blue-chips and 11 two- and three-stars) taking fewer blues than non-blues. It is true that every national champion in this century has had more four- and five-stars signed in the previous four classes than two- and three-stars.

But the key there is four years. Florida State was at 60 percent entering this year, and it will likely be around 60 percent over the last four classes once this class signs. That will keep FSU in the top five nationally, where it has been through much of Jimbo Fisher’s time.

This year’s class is different. While it lacks the depth of the 2016 class (18 blue chippers), the 2017 class has better talent at the high end. The 2016 class had just one player inside the top 30 nationally. As of Tuesday, the 2017 class has three. The lack of five-stars was about the only criticism of the 2016 class.

This is a great class for Jimbo Fisher and his staff. It's a bit light on five-stars, with the lone one being Levonta Taylor, but signing 17 four-stars is going to create tremendous depth and some awesome battles in practice.

Home run position: Offensive line. The Seminoles signed the best offensive line class in the country, six signees in all including four four-star prospects. And because FSU has depth already, it will be able to develop on the appropriate timetable.

Regret: The lack of five-star talent. FSU could have had the No. 1 class if it had done better in-state or in Georgia, and traded some of the three-stars or lower four-stars for five-star talent.

And several of the three-stars have high upside. If a school is going to take a three-star, it should be one who is rated as such because he has a wide range of possibilities on the boom/bust spectrum. FSU should not be recruiting many players who project to max out as reserves.

I think recent commitments like receiver Tamorrion Terry, and defensive end Tre Lawson fit that bill. Both are raw prospects with a lot of physical ability. They are not guaranteed to be stars, or to make huge early impacts, but there is a visible path to starting jobs for both at Florida State. I found it very interesting that Terry, of Georgia, is the first out-of-state receiver Jimbo Fisher will have signed in eight years as FSU’s head coach. That tells me that FSU rarely feels it must leave the state to fill a need at that position.

I also think it is interesting that FSU took cornerback Ontaria Wilson, of tiny Ashburn (Ga.), and it might actually be a good sign. For several reasons.

That FSU took Wilson instead of offering some in-state cornerbacks who I know are pretty good (and whom I know FSU has seen) suggests to me that they like Wilson better, meaning he is likely a good prospect. There are some who have speculated that FSU took Wilson in order to get his teammate (Tamorrion Terry). While I do not believe that is true, if it were true, the implication would be that Terry is a super elite prospect, because logically, FSU is not going to take a three-star prospect in order to get someone it truly believes is also a three-star.

Rankings are damn good, and getting better. If you make it a habit of consistently taking more two- and three-stars than four- and five-stars, you will not compete on the biggest of stages. But FSU is not consistently doing that. There’s also a chance that with top prospects like Marvin Wilson, Jarez Parks, Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs, Levi Jones, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and Maleik Gray still on the board, FSU could absolutely still sign more four- and five-stars than two- and three-stars.

FSU is likely to finish somewhere between 4th and 6th nationally. The group of teams out-recruiting FSU by any appreciable margin is very small, consisting only of Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia, the last of which has not done so for an extended time.