While the transfer portal continues to gain more and more importance in how teams are approaching roster construction, high school recruiting remains the lifeblood of ensuring long-term and consistent success for programs.
Developing your own prospects is a crucial piece of roster management and recruiting pitches, and keeping them from portaling has become more important than ever. If you try to build a roster that has more transfers than prep players, it undercuts your ability to land blue-chip prospects. Opposing coaches would have an easy time negatively recruiting that scenario: “Why sign with them when they’ll just keep bringing in transfers from the portal to take your spot? They can’t develop their own players so they poach from programs who can.”
It cannot be argued that transfer portal recruiting under Mike Norvell has been anything other than successful. Earlier in Norvell’s tenure, the Seminoles brought in highly-productive starters Johnny Wilson, Trey Benson, Jashaun Corbin, Dillan Gibbons, Jermaine Johnson, Fabian Lovett, Keir Thomas, Jammie Robinson, Jared Verse, and Tatum Bethune. They brought in key depth pieces or part-time/projected starters in Jarrian Jones, Jordan Wilson, Greedy Vance, Devontay Love-Taylor, Bless Harris, D’Mitri Emmanuel, Mycah Pittman, Winston Wright, Deuce Spann, and Jazston Turnetine.
Now we can add the 2023 transfer class into the mix, which boasts an average player rating of 91.44 (blue-chip 4 star range) and could yield up to eight new starters. The tight end room was transformed from an Achilles heel to a giant flexing bicep, while crucial help is arriving along the offensive and defensive lines, and FSU finally has itself a shutdown cornerback.
National rankings for Mike Norvell’s transfer classes: 4th in 2020, 3rd in 2021, 11th in 2022, and 2nd in 2023, with an average national ranking of 5th among transfer portal signees.
However, Norvell’s high school signing classes at FSU have averaged a rank just outside the top 20, lower than its three primary rivals, signing a total of 78 high school recruits over 4 classes (an average of 19.5 per cycle).
The newly-signed prep class of 2023 ranked 19th nationally, the highest ranking under Norvell to date. It’s also the first class he’s been able to sign with true proof of concept regarding on-field improvement. The class also includes Norvell’s first composite 5-star signee. 9 of the 18 prep signees are considered blue-chips, finally hitting the desired 50% (or higher) blue-chip ratio.
In this comprehensive four-part series, Tomahawk Nation writer NoleThruandThru dives into all the numbers, strategies and context behind the classes to answer the question: does Mike Norvell’s coaching staff struggle to recruit high school prospects?
Part one takes a closer look at the numbers behind FSU’s high school recruiting during Norvell’s tenure.
Part two analyzes the names behind the numbers, examining the attrition and additions yielded by each high school recruiting class.
Part three compares FSU’s prep recruiting numbers to those of their three biggest rivals, the Miami Hurricanes, Florida Gators, and Clemson Tigers.
Part four analyzes FSU’s recruiting strategy over the past four cycles, examining their biggest hits and misses on the trail and how it affects the 2024 class thus far.
You can catch up on all the latest Florida State football recruiting news and pick the brains of our recruiting staff in the latest edition of our recruiting thread.
Class of 2024 commitments
QUARTERBACK: 4 star Luke Kromenhoek (GA)
RUNNING BACK: 5 star Kam Davis (GA)
WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Camdon Frier (FL)
WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Tawaski “TJ” Abrams (FL)
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Jamorie Flagg (FL)
LINEBACKER: Jayden Parrish (FL)
DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star Jordan Pride (FL)
DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star CJ Heard (GA)
KICKER: Jake Weinberg (FL)