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Relationships and resources: Taking stock of the 2024 recruiting cycle for FSU

Some musings on how Tribe24 shaped up and where to go in spring.

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

The December signing period wrapped up for Mike Norvell and Florida State with 22 high school prospects signed, sealed, and delivered to become the next wave of ‘Noles. 17 of the 22 signees are from the states of Florida and Georgia, which is exactly how it should look for this program in my opinion. 15 of the 22 signees are blue-chips (4 stars or higher) as rated by the 247Sports Composite, good for a 68% blue-chip ratio.

Norvell and his staff once again proved that relationships still matter a great deal to most prospects in today’s recruiting climate (more on that in a bit). Time and again, the recruits and families who chose FSU raved about their relationships with the coaches and staff members and the family atmosphere that Norvell has worked relentlessly to create.

One prep target remains in blue-chip DL Amaree Williams. Williams reclassified from 2025 into the 2024 cycle and took an official visit to Tallahassee in December. He elected to sign in February, and FSU has the lead for him. He would be a great addition, having been considered THE best athlete in the nation for 2025 prior to his reclassification.

Not only was FSU able to sign plenty of blue-chip talent, but they were able to get 13 signees to enroll this spring.

Early enrollees:

4-star QB Luke Kromenhoek

4-star RB Kameron Davis

4-star WR Lawayne McCoy

4-star WR BJ Gibson

4-star WR Camdon Frier

4-star TE Landen Thomas

3-star OL Tye Hylton

3-star OL Jayden Todd

3-star LB Jayden Parrish

3-star LB Timir Hickman-Collins

5-star DB Charles Lester

4-star DB Jamari Howard

4-star DB Cai Bates

FSU absolutely crushed it with defensive backs and wide receivers in this cycle. I think both position units are in the top three nationally for this cycle. They also signed an outstanding quarterback, a promising running back duo, and the nation’s top tight end. Florida State signed three offensive linemen with high ceilings and some nice pieces along the defensive line, though defensive line recruiting was hurt when FSU lost out on LJ McCray and couldn’t flip him away from UF at the end. Linebacker recruiting left a lot to be desired, though I feel Jayden Parrish deserved a four-star ranking.

FSU faithful who only follow recruiting on Signing Day were frustrated by the loss of two five-stars in stud safety KJ Bolden to Georgia and defensive lineman Armondo Blount to Miami, and understandably so. It’s never good optics to lose two five-star players at the very end of the cycle. It’s even more frustrating when combined with seeing a recruitment that FSU did everything right on (Jeremiah Smith) ultimately wither the night before he put ink to paper. Still, it is important to dive deeper into each situation.

Some perspective to consider for this cycle:

No one thought Bolden would initially pick FSU but he did, sending shock waves through the recruiting community. It was a recruitment FSU was never expected to win, and we at Tomahawk Nation warned time and again that it would go down to the wire and be difficult to hold on to him, and FSU ultimately didn’t. I really thought Bolden would stick to his word that relationships would win out, and I was wrong.

No one thought Blount would pick anyone other than Miami. When he flipped to FSU, it was a big surprise that felt like it could be temporary from the start, as his camp continued communicating with Miami. Once again, we continued to tell the TN community that it was likely going to be Miami in the end for Blount.

Smith was always going to be a monumental flip as long as Brian Hartline remained at Ohio State, which he did. FSU was in fantastic position to make it happen after Smith watched the Seminoles defeat Miami, but work leaked out about a flip and ultimately spooked Smith off. FSU stayed right in the thick of things until the night before Smith signed, when the door shut on the Seminoles because they simply couldn’t compete financially with the insane numbers that Ohio State and Miami were throwing out.

Here’s the good news: FSU won the recruitments it SHOULD win this cycle (Kromenhoek, Lester, Davis, Danzy, Daniels, Howard, etc) and won one that it shouldn’t have (Thomas). To further illuminate, FSU held off significant charges from Georgia for Kromenhoek; Bama and Colorado for Lester; Ohio State for Moore; Georgia for Davis; UF and Miami for Howard; Miami for Knight and McCoy; and LSU for Daniels, just off the top of my head.

Mike Norvell’s staff still has a lot of work to do and NIL clearly needs to improve if FSU wants to be in the recruitments it “shouldn’t” be in. We still aren’t to the point where FSU is winning the top prep recruitments it isn’t supposed to win. I should have done a better job reinforcing that throughout the year.

This cycle made it clear that NIL has gone into the stratosphere when it comes to the elite prospects, as in the top 25 guys and the top players at each position. The amounts of money being thrown at these guys are life-changing for their families. Top high school prospects used to have to wait until they were drafted into the NFL to become millionaires, but now they’re getting that much money before they turn 20. It’s enough to make a prospect like Smith, who was staunch in his stance that money wouldn’t play a factor in his decision, nearly flip his commitment because of dollar signs.

Progress is being made with each cycle and though the 2025 cycle is off to a strong start, it will be a referendum on how FSU can compete with the biggest of the big dogs on the trail.

My next article will take a deep dive into the 2024 cycle’s transfer portal additions to date. Thanks for reading and as always, swing by the Official Recruiting and Transfer Portal thread for the latest.