As Florida State has always seemed to do dating back to the days of Bobby Bowden, the Seminoles capped another strong recruiting class on Wednesday with a stellar finish. FSU finished with a top 5 class according to virtually every major recruiting source. According to Rivals, the Seminoles have had a top 10 class in every year under head coach Jimbo Fisher.
While Florida State put together another outstanding class, perhaps more importantly, it was able to address its needs. FSU had already got a verbal commitment from wide receiver Travis Rudolph entering the day, but the Seminoles were able to ink five-star Ermon Lane as well. Later in the day, Florida State received more good news as Lakeland, Florida product, Ja’Von Harrison decommitted from Virginia Tech and signed with the Seminoles.
Addressing the wide receiver position was key as two of Florida State top three leading receivers from a season ago are gone. FSU also lacks depth behind senior-to-be Rashad Greene, who has led the Seminoles in receiving in each of his three seasons on campus.
Add the losses of receivers Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin to the early NFL Draft declarations of running backs Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. and FSU is replacing four of its top six leaders in yards from scrimmage a season ago. While the Seminoles were able to lock up three outstanding receivers, Florida State’s most promising recruit, may be at tailback.
Dalvin Cook, a 5’11”, 190-pound back from Miami Central High School could emerge as the team’s second back next season behind projected starter, Karlos Williams. Cook was one of the nation’s top 25 players and looks to already be a complete back. Cook was also partially credited with helping to get Lane to Tallahassee as the two are known to be very good friends.
On the defensive side of the ball, Florida State looks to be pretty set in the secondary, but addressed key needs on the interior of the defensive line and at linebacker.
At defensive tackle, FSU loses Jacobbi McDaniel and Demonte McAllister to graduation and Timmy Jernigan to the NFL Draft. On Wednesday, Florida State was able to land Virginia Beach product Derrick Nnadi to complement another prized recruit at the position in Demarcus Christmas from Bradenton, Florida.
At the linebacker position, Florida State will be replacing two certain NFL draftees in Christian Jones and Telvin Smith. The 2014 recruiting class features a very strong corps of linebackers led by local product Jacob Pugh and Jacksonville native, Kain Daub. FSU was also able to land Delvin Purifoy — the brother of Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy. The three will join Matthew Thomas, last year’s second highest recruit, to form a young, talented group of linebackers.
2013 was certainly a special year for Florida State as the Seminoles captured a second straight ACC title and their first national championship in 14 years. Florida State will certainly have to replace some key pieces to last year’s memorable team, but thanks to another strong finish on National Signing Day, FSU may have added instant contributors and depth at critical positions.