The transfer portal has turned recruiting on its head, creating another population of roster candidates for coaches to comb through. Scholarship distribution has become even more complicated and convoluted.
You have dwindling numbers of scholarships but still have numerous needs to fill: do you add what you perceive to be a quick fix for a hole in the roster with only one year of eligibility? Or do you play the long game and take a high school player who may be nowhere near ready to contribute now but possesses upside for the future, rolling with what you have returning?
The answers are unique to each situation and influenced by roster spots, academic class number breakdown, relationships with high schools, past relationships with targets who ultimately chose another school but are now available again, coaching staff job security, and dozens of other factors.
Mike Norvell and his staff added 16 high school prospects to the Tribe during the early signing period in December, finishing with the composite 30th best class in the nation and good for the 6th best ACC class. All 16 have officially signed and no attrition is expected.
The New Year’s fireworks continued into the first two weeks of January, with FSU holding signatures from 7 transfers already enrolled for spring and an additional commitment from a transfer expected to enroll in the summer. Of the 8 transfer portal additions, 5 played high school football in Florida and another played in Georgia. While FSU appears to be benefitting from geography, another trend has emerged among this group that we like to call #SECtoFSU.
The SEC has long been praised as the top conference in college football, attracting a lion’s share of the top high school players and churning them into the draft, allowing them to attain their goals of playing professional football.
We all know that in the SEC, it just means more. Clearly, so does Mike Norvell, as 5 of his 8 transfer additions hail from the conference. Jammie Robinson and Keir Thomas teamed up at South Carolina prior to changing into a different shade of garnet. DJ Williams was crying War Eagle, Jermaine Johnson was hunkering down as a Georgia Bulldog, and Jarques McClellion was calling the Hogs in Fayetteville. All have double-digit starts under their belts.
Why is this important? Because Mike Norvell and his staff are trying to return FSU to the days where it was considered among the best programs in college football, and importing proven talent from SEC-caliber starters is a step in CLIMBing that mountain.
Norvell and his staff have clearly developed a winning pitch to land these players and the results could have wide-ranging ripple effects across the recruiting landscape. Every player has his own reasons for transferring, but when a trend like #SECtoFSU becomes evident, it raises eyebrows of those paying attention while raising the level of talent and experience on the roster.
It is important to note that the non-SEC transfers aren’t slouches, either. Two UCF transfers, McKenzie Milton and Brandon Moore, have worked incredibly hard to overcome injuries and will now find themselves spending Saturdays in Doak Campbell Stadium. Milton’s skill levels and story are known across the country while Moore had a 2nd round NFL draft grade prior to his injury.
Andrew Parchment, formerly of the Kansas Jayhawks, is the lone transfer not currently taking classes at FSU just yet. Parchment won the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2019 and boasts 89 catches for over 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns in two seasons with Kansas.
According to 247’s composite class ranking, FSU’s 30th-ranked class sits with 203.97 points. For those concerned with recruiting rankings, remember that they do not include incoming transfers. Personally, I would assign the following rankings to the incoming transfers:
Johnson: 4 star, 95
Milton: 4 star, 92
Williams: 4 star, 90
Thomas: 3 star, 89
Parchment: 3 star, 89
Robinson: 3 star, 88
McClellion: 3 star, 87
Moore: 3 star, 86
Using 247’s class calculator and adding in high school prospects with similar positions and rankings as the transfers, FSU’s composite rankings would jump to 237.23 points. This would be good for the 17th ranked class in the nation and the 4th ranked class in the ACC.
Now, obviously, this is assuming no other class movement from other schools, which wouldn’t be the case of course. The point is, Mike Norvell has added immense value to the 2021 class through the transfer portal that not only shows in class rankings, but also shows in the levels of game experience these guys bring with them to Tallahassee.
With 2-3 scholarships estimated to remain for this cycle, all eyes will be on the ‘Noles as the round out the class. One scholarship is thought to be earmarked for stud prep WR Destyn “Fatt” Hill, while another may go to defensive tackle and two-sport prospect Tywone Malone. FSU faithful are also clamoring for an offensive tackle to join the Tribe.
How will it all shake out? Check out the latest Transfer Portal thread on the front page and stay tuned to TN. Also, big shout out to TN’s Murphy Jones for his #SECtoFSU graphic featured in this article. In the meantime, ride that #SECtoFSU wave, y’all! It just means more!