Florida State football’s 2020 recruiting class had been tapping on the door of a top-10 ranking for a while, gaining momentum after a successful Saturday Night Live event the other week. Then the Seminoles added a new bell cow to their class with the commitment of four-star all-purpose back Jaylan Knighton just before the dead period began with the onset of August.
But “dead period” doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere, as evidenced on Wednesday night when fellow blue-chip RB Lawrance Toafili also committed to FSU. And just like that, the ’Noles were no longer knocking on the door to a top-10 class— they’d kicked it down.
What’s more, some hated rivals took the brunt of the blow. Toafili’s pledge to Florida State pushed the Seminoles past Miami, Texas A&M, and Florida in the national rankings, all the way up to No. 8. in the country. Furthermore, the ’Noles jumped the Hurricanes to take over the No. 2 spot in the ACC.
Of course, it’s still very early in this process, and there’s an entire season of football to be played. So what does this mean? First, temper any expectations you may harbor about FSU continuing to make leaps like this up the national recruiting rankings; other programs are still recruiting as well, and while Notre Dame and Michigan may be within reach at the No. 6 and No. 7 spots, respectively, the distance between the top five and everyone else is immense.
However, this is a solid, albeit early reflection of this staff’s ability to recruit after the 2018 debacle. Remember (like you haven’t tried desperately to forget), that Florida State is coming off a 5-7 campaign. The only other programs in the current top-20 recruiting rankings seeking to rebound from that bad of a 2018 season are North Carolina, which went 2-9 and is presently ranked 17th, and Ole Miss, which went 5-7 and sits at 18th.