Ah, recruiting. There’s nothing like it. Where else can a teenager’s college decision impact a nation of fans and alumni? Decommitments and flips are happening more than ever before. Florida State fans are no strangers to the joy of seeing the Seminoles flip a prospect previously committed elsewhere and the agony of watching a committed player leave for destinations other than Tallahassee. With that in mind, a great suggestion from one of our Tomahawk Nation members has evolved into this article: between 2010 and now, who would make the all-time flip team, who would make the all-time decommitment team, and which team would win in a gridiron matchup?
With a bit of a lull in the recruiting season, now is the time to figure it all out. These selections are based on how well the prospect played in college, not in the NFL. Also taken into account are the impact they had on their respective teams and locker rooms, their national rankings at the time of signing, and the impact they had on future recruiting classes. I did not include prospects who decommitted from FSU and ultimately recommitted, like Telvin Smith, Malik McClain, or Keith Gavin.
Without further ado...
The 2010s Florida State All-Flip Team
Quarterback: Bailey Hockman (Georgia). Hockman gets the nod over Chubba Purdy (Louisville) here. He decommitted from UGA, opening the door for FSU to land his services. Hockman didn’t catch on in Tallahassee but transferred to NC State, where he became a starter.
Running Back: Dalvin Cook (Clemson, Florida). Cook, one of the best players to ever play for Florida State, was initially committed to two of FSU’s rivals before choosing the good guys in the end. The rest is history, and Cook is now a star in the NFL.
Running Back: Amir Rasul (Miami). The speed demon flipped from Miami to FSU. Despite being one of the fastest players on the team, Rasul never caught on at FSU and eventually transferred to MTSU.
Wide Receiver: Ermon Lane (Florida). Lane joined Cook in flipping from UF to FSU, though he did not come close to having the same impact as Cook. Lane will always have his shining moment against Louisville, but this was a flip that was far more about perception than reality.
Wide Receiver: Tre’shaun Harrison. Harrison spurned the Ducks to follow Willie Taggart to FSU. Despite immense potential and solid production, attitude issues arose and he transferred to Oregon State.
Tight End: Tre McKitty (Oregon). I thought about putting Cam McDonald (Southern Cal) here, but McKitty was more versatile and well-known on the recruiting trail. FSU convinced the talented TE to spend his college career on the east coast. McKitty was a nice contributor and versatile weapon for FSU prior to transferring to UGA at the end of his career. He plays in the NFL now.
Offensive Tackle: Robert Scott (Mississippi). Scott, previously committed to Mississippi, decided to come to Tallahassee and has caught on at the tackle spot. He has gotten better throughout his time in Tallahassee and will remain a fixture in the OT rotation.
Offensive Tackle: Darius Washington (Mississippi State). FSU flipped Washington away from Mississippi State, and he has been a staple on the offensive line when healthy ever since. Though FSU would ideally like him to play interior, Washington has shown marked improvement and can still play tackle as needed.
Offensive Guard: Tre’ Jackson (Georgia Tech). Overlooked by many bigger programs, Jackson was originally committed to Georgia Tech before jumping at the chance to become a Seminole. Jackson was a staple on a vaunted OL unit and made it to the NFL.
Offensive Guard: Derrick Kelly (Kentucky). Kelly, previously committed to Mark Stoops at Kentucky, decided to come to Tallahassee and was part of the OL rotation. He was effective when healthy, and made it to the NFL.
Center: Maurice Smith (Boston College). Smith decided to play in Tallahassee instead of Boston, and has seen plenty of playing time despite not being ready, frankly. Though forced into action earlier than he should have been, Smith has proven coachable and will look to improve.
Defensive End: Demarcus Walker (Alabama). In one of the best recruitment strategies I saw under Fisher, FSU was able to convince Walker to come to Tallahassee instead of Tuscaloosa, and what a boon it turned out to be for both parties. An exceptional leader on and off the field, Walker was a crucial part of FSU’s defenses and made it to the NFL.
Defensive End: Joshua Kaindoh (Maryland). Kaindoh was an enormous flip by FSU at the time, but dealt with injuries that kept him from living up to his potential. He turned a corner toward the end of his career but then suffered another injury. He was drafted into the NFL.
Defensive Tackle: Keith Bryant (Miami). The perception of beating Miami for Bryant was big at the time, as the ‘Canes put a lot of effort into Bryant’s recruitment. He dealt with injuries during his time at FSU and did not live up to his hefty billing.
Defensive Tackle: Wally Aime (Miami). Aime was committed to Miami before signing with FSU. A rotational player, Aime could be considered a contributor at best but was a good presence in the locker room.
Linebacker: Reggie Northrup (Miami). Northrup, master of gifs, spurned Coral Gables in favor of Tallahassee and became an important contributor to the LB unit. He hit like a Mack truck and racked up 122 tackles in 2014.
Linebacker: Xavier Peters (Kentucky). Considered a big victory when FSU flipped Peters from Mark Stoops’ Wildcats, Peters entered FSU with high expectations. He never lived up to them, transferring multiple times.
Linebacker: Jaleel McRae (Florida). I thought about putting Pat Payton (Nebraska) here but he is an EDGE, so McRae gets it by default. McRae chose FSU after spurning the Gators and saw a lot of time before he was ready, which led to developing bad habits that were compounded by poor coaching. He transferred to FAU to reunite with those coaches.
Cornerback: Jalen Ramsey (Southern Cal). Ramsey was set to play in the PAC before FSU convinced him to come to Tallahassee. A great leader on and off the field, Ramsey was a crucial part of Fisher’s success. He is now one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.
Cornerback: Akeem Dent (Miami). I thought about Nick Waisome (Florida) but Dent has had more production and finally seemed to turn a corner last season into becoming a productive player. FSU landing the former Miami commit was a boon as Alabama was pushing hard.
Safety: Hamsah Nasirildeen (South Carolina). FSU flipped the former Gamecock commit and he was a monster patrolling the backfield in Doak Campbell Stadium. Nasirildeen was among the most athletic and reliable players on the team during his time as a ‘Nole, and he was drafted into the NFL.
Safety: Jaiden Lars-Woodbey (Ohio State). Woodbey said on social media that he’d commit to FSU if offered, so FSU offered and Jaiden committed. Though overrated as a five-star prospect, Lars-Woodbey was a solid contributor when healthy. He transferred to Boston College to finish out his career.
The 2010s Florida State All-Decommitment Team
Quarterback: Sam Howell (North Carolina). The Ballad of Walt Bell ended with the loss of Howell, whose father played a large role in steering him to Chapel Hill. Howell never beat the Seminoles as a starter and has seen his draft stock slip after a rough season. Must be some weird voodoo about having a dad named Duke but playing for Carolina.
Running Back: James Cook (Georgia). Many assumed James would follow his older brother to Tallahassee, but UGA did an excellent job convincing him to create his own path. He became a fixture in the backfield passing game and won a national championship with the Dawgs last season.
Running Back: Jaylan Knighton (Miami). Part of a mass exodus during the Taggart fallout, “Rooster” decided to join the rival Hurricanes. He’s dealt with injuries but when healthy, has been part of the running back rotation.
Wide Receiver: Travis Hunter (Jackson State). Sigh. We all know what happened here. Hunter is a generational talent whose loss cannot be understated.
Wide Receiver: Jalen Curry (Arizona). Curry being on this list speaks well to FSU avoiding decommitments at the WR slot. He underachieved at Arizona and recently transferred to UCF.
Tight End: Isaac Nauta (Georgia). Considered a big loss at the time, Nauta decommitted over “culture concerns” at FSU and went to Athens instead. He had a solid but not great career with the Bulldogs. Nauta big loss in my opinion.
Offensive Tackle: Charles Cross (Mississippi State). Ugh, this one still hurts. FSU’s excellent early scouting helped land Cross, but the pull and pressure of staying close to home in Mississippi won out in the end. Cross had an excellent career at MSU and is expected to be an early round draft pick.
Offensive Tackle: Wanya Morris (Tennessee). Part of the Grayson High School group who left FSU during the uncertain end of the Jimbo Fisher tenure, Morris wound up in Tennessee and has since transferred to Oklahoma. His career has been uneven, but we all know how badly FSU has needed offensive tackles in recent years.
Offensive Guard: Kendrick Norton (Miami). Norton was listed as an offensive lineman as a prospect but blossomed on the defensive line in Coral Gables. While many may not remember him as a FSU commit, he has since moved on to the NFL.
Offensive Guard: Austin Gholson (Ole Miss). Gholson had an acrimonious split with FSU and wound up at Ole Miss. He was a reliable starter for the Rebels when healthy.
Center: Jake Slaughter (Florida). FSU chose to prioritize Bryson Estes over the previously committed Slaughter, who decided to flip to UF. Neither has done much yet but it’s still very early for both.
Defensive End: Aaron Lynch (Notre Dame). One of the most infamous recruitments involving a mother, Lynch spurned FSU for Notre Dame. He starred on the field in South Bend but generated plenty of negative headlines as well, before being drafted into the NFL.
Defensive End: Dante Fowler (Florida). I don’t truly hate anyone, but Fowler tested my resolve. Committed to FSU for over a year, he predictably spurned the ‘Noles on Signing Day (seems only the coaches were surprised) and wound up hurting FSU’s chances with another stud defensive lineman, Leonard Williams, who went to Southern Cal instead.
Defensive Tackle: Keir Thomas (South Carolina). I loved Thomas’ potential coming out of high school but he ultimately left the class for South Carolina. It was truly meant to be, however, as Thomas finished his career in Tallahassee as part of an outstanding defensive line unit last season.
Defensive Tackle: Trevion Williams (Mississippi State). Williams would’ve been in the rotation for FSU next season but again, the pressure to stay home in Mississippi won out and the Bulldogs again benefitted at FSU’s expense.
Linebacker: Branden Jennings (Maryland). Another decommitment with shady family circumstances behind it, Jennings flipped to Michigan before
being bought flipping again to Maryland. He has since entered the transfer portal and wound up at Kansas State. Enjoy the scenery out there, “Godzilla”.
Linebacker: Keyshawn Greene (Nebraska). Greene, one of my favorite recruits in his entire cycle, could not be convinced to rejoin Mike Norvell’s first recruiting class. He went to Nebraska, then transferred to FAU, and has since completely disappeared off the radar. Very sad story as things could have been very different had he stayed a Seminole.
Linebacker: Vandarius Cowan (Alabama). Cowan was actually encouraged to decommit due to character concerns that followed him to Alabama, West Virginia, and Maryland. This was addition by subtraction for the ‘Noles.
Cornerback: J.C. Jackson (Florida). Often forgotten as a one-time Seminoles commitment, J.C. Jackson flipped to UF and eventually transferred to Maryland. After a nice college career, he has caught on in the NFL.
Cornerback: Houston Griffith (Notre Dame). A high-character talent, Griffith flipped to Notre Dame due to uncertainty around FSU’s coaching situation. He has been a solid contributor for the Irish and would have been a welcome presence in the FSU locker room.
Safety: Matt Elam (Florida). Elam was committed to FSU for double-digit hours and the time it took for one picture to surface of him decked out in FSU gear. He flipped to Florida State at the end of the calendar year due to uncertainty around Urban Meyer’s future but quickly flipped back to UF after Meyer infamously told him he had a dream about Elam at UF and to “have faith” in him. That faith was misguided but Elam still made it to the NFL.
Safety: Israel Mukuamu (South Carolina). I thought about putting Nick Cross here, but Mukuamu had a very successful career at South Carolina and was drafted by the Cowboys. His combination of size and speed would have been a nice fit for the ‘Noles.
So what do you think, Seminoles fans? Which play matchup would you like to see most? Who wins this match-up under the Saturday night lights in Doak Campbell Stadium? Any omissions or players who deserved to make the team? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out the new Tribe 23 Crootin’ Thread here.