The success that legendary Florida State head football coach Bobby Bowden created during his tenure elevated the Seminoles to a household name. The titles, top-5 streak, consecutive bowl appearances and appealing play style combined with his charisma and country charm made him an unstoppable force on the recruiting trail.
Under Bowden’s leadership, over 150 FSU players were selected in NFL drafts.
The groundwork laid by Bowden on the football field is why FSU is the national brand it is today, even with recent stumbles. And the groundwork laid on the recruiting trail all those years ago may pay huge dividends in upcoming classes as sons, nephews, and other relatives of past ‘Noles are making their own mark on the gridiron and will soon be taking their talents to the collegiate level.
These players are known as legacies. Fans only need to look in the recent past to see that such players are not a lock for Florida State (Devin Bush Jr.), while others choose to carry the family tradition of wearing garnet and gold (Stanford Samuels III).
Over the next three years, FSU could fill major needs with players that are FSU legacies.
Branden Jennings, son of former FSU linebacker Bradley Jennings (97-01). The position of linebacker has had its share of ups and downs over the last few years. The last few classes have helped to restock the position, but the recent FSU commit is predicted to be an instant impact. Jennings delivers pain with every tackle and already has NFL size as a high school junior.
Godzilla and the Noles coming to a field near you 1000% #Committed #RipGrandma @FSUFootball pic.twitter.com/1IM1TL06zL— GODZILLA (@Brand3nJ44) February 7, 2020
Corey Collier, son of former FSU linebacker Cornelius Collier (99-02). Florida State has never had difficulty signing defensive backs, but 6’2 ballhawks are not your average cornerbacks. Collier pulled down four interceptions this past season, including a pick-six. Securing Collier would be a huge win in recruiting as he currently plays high school football in Miami.
Marquis Robinson, nephew (as reported by Noles247) of former FSU running back Greg Allen (81-84). It’s no secret that Florida State’s current rotation of defensive tackles is one of the best in the nation, but next year? Next year has plenty of question marks with Marvin Wilson graduating and Cory Durden possibly leaving early for the draft. Marquis Robinson could step in and fill a major void and compete for early playing time. He’s already nearly 300 pounds and has the ability to create havoc in the backfield.
Shedeur Sanders, son of former FSU cornerback Deion Sanders (85-88). Coach Mike Norvell prioritized quarterback recruiting the moment he stepped foot on campus, flipping two quarterbacks for the 2020 class. The belief is FSU will attempt to sign two quarterback again in the 2021 class and one of those quarterbacks could be Sanders. Playing at Trinity Christian of Cedar Hill, Texas, Sanders has led his team to two straight state titles. This last season, Sanders amassed over 3,000 yards passing and 47 touchdowns through the air.
Marvin Jones Jr., son of former FSU linebacker Marvin Jones (90-92). The sophomore linebacker is already 6’4, 190 pounds and is still growing. A former receiver, Jones has the ability to stop the run and drop in coverage. His strengths have led to lofty goals, as he stated in an earlier interview. If achieved, the sky is the limit for “Shade Bush”.
Julian Armella, son of former FSU defensive lineman Enzo Armella (91-94). Ask any Florida State fan about FSU’s biggest need and you’ll get the same answer: ““offensive lineman”... specifically, “offensive tackles.” Julian Armella is an early favorite to compete for a fifth star in recruiting rankings. And his highlights and mean streak lend support. There’s some of us on this site that believe if Armella was on the upcoming 2020 Florida State roster, he’d already be the starting left tackle.
This kid was beyond impressive this past weekend. #Noles legacy pic.twitter.com/3NlhZbXonZ— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) February 15, 2020
Lamont Green Jr., son of former FSU linebacker Lamont Green (94-98). Only a freshman, Green is already a stud on the football field. Green earned a spot on Max Preps Freshman All-American team after recording 80 tackles and 5 sacks during his ninth grade year. The 15 year old defensive end, nicknamed “Boots”, was also named Rising Stars’ Miami-Dade Defensive Freshman Player of the Year.
Landing a legacy is more than just improving the roster, it’s also a plus for optics. When these players are available, the school of their parents is assumed to be their destination. If the university secures their signature, it’s applauded but expected. Where as failure to land the legacy is seen as a “black eye”, whether legitimate or not.
Florida State could come up empty handed with these players. After all, the recruiting game is at times, a cruel mistress. But maybe, just maybe, the groundwork laid by Bowden, Mickey Andrews, and other Seminole greats will help establish the next great lineage of Florida State Seminoles.
***Author’s note: the same morning this article was released, 2022 tight end Jake Johnson announced on twitter that he received and offer from FSU. Jake Johnson is the son of former Florida State quarterback Brad Johnson (87-91). Tight end is also a position of need for FSU.
Very thankful to receive an offer from Florida State University! @ThomsenChris @Coach_Norvell #gonoles pic.twitter.com/wf1rCONhwq— Jake Johnson (@Jakejohnson2022) February 28, 2020