Florida State Seminoles Thread

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 2 years ago '13        #4661
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Manuel To FSU Had Been In The Works For Weeks

Shavar Manuel's tweet Wednesday morning, announcing his decommitment from Florida, was one of the biggest National Signing Day surprises.

Manuel, a 247Sports four-star prospect at Bradenton (Florida) IMG Academy, committed to Florida in January. But the Florida State staff had a good idea what Manuel was thinking at that time and continued to recruit him. On Wednesday, Manuel signed with FSU.

Brad Lawing had recruited Manuel when he was on Florida's staff. He joined the FSU staff in January 2014 and continued his pursuit of Manuel.


Lawing, FSU's defensive ends/outside linebackers coach, said Wednesday night that Manuel had told him he wanted to attend FSU, and then a day later Manuel made his verbal commitment to Florida. The two talked on the phone and Lawing recalled the conversation.

"He said, 'I’m just getting some pressure from some people,' " Lawing said. "So he didn’t just flip today (Wednesday). We’ve known about this for about two weeks.

"I said just play the game, tell them Gators anything they want to hear. We don’t have to go to IMG to do this, we can do this at your home with your auntie, we’re getting all this done. He was good to his word. He is pumped up being a Florida State Seminole.”

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said that he and the staff will stop recruiting a player if they say they are going elsewhere and the recruitment is over. But when Manuel left the door open, FSU coaches remained in contact with him.


"We called and said, ‘Hey, is this thing over?’ " Fisher said. "He said, ‘No, coach, I want you to keep recruiting me.’ So we just kept recruiting him normally and he ended up flipping over. It was no magic formula, it was just relationships and sometimes guys commit to other places and flip back.”
 2 years ago '13        #4662
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10 Things We Learned: FSU's NSD

Here are 10 things we learned about Florida State's recruiting after the dust settled on National Signing Day:

Out of the 18 prospects signed yesterday, six of them were new additions added on the final day. Those six recruits all ranked within the Top 164 prospects in the nation according to the 247Sports.com Composite. FSU had roughly eight targets on the board entering the final day and grabbed nearly all of them. They beat out programs like Alabama and Tennessee (Landon d!ckerson), Florida and Georgia (Brian Burns), Texas (Dontavious Jackson) and Ohio State (Carlos Becker) for top talent. Also, Fisher and FSU got the better of a rivalry once again, with their flip of Shavar Manuel from the Gators. It capped off a spectacular class in a grand fashion.

Tim Brewster prides himself on having a great work ethic and truly believing he can pursue and acquire any prospect in the nation. He also isn’t scared to vocalize his optimistic attitude via Twitter and let FSU fans, and enemies, know that the Seminoles are going to compete for the best and put together a top-tier class. When the dust settled on Wednesday afternoon, the promises made by Brewster came to fruition. Brewster also landed one of the biggest victories of the day, grabbing four-star linebacker Dontavious Jackson out of Texas and away from the Longhorns. On a staff full of good recruiters who are aggressive in their pursuit of top players, Brewster is the alpha dog.


He is already enrolled on campus, so it didn’t get many headlines on Wednesday, but FSU circled quarterback Malik Henry as their guy at the position in the summer of 2014. They landed him later that year. They then got him to enroll early. In listening to Jimbo Fisher and Randy Sanders speak on Henry on Wednesday, it is clear they feel he is going to be in the competition at that position for years going forward. A class tends to be looked at starting with the quarterback and FSU got the one they wanted for 2016.

FSU landed arguably the best offensive line class they have ever acquired under Fisher. Offensive line coach Rick Trickett did a lot of the work, with his cohorts on the staff lending support. FSU landed the nation’s No. 1 center, a mauler in Baveon Johnson. Andrew Boselli, an early enrollee, is someone who can handle all three interior positions. A smart, hard-working kid with great bloodlines. They landed versatile linemen that can play inside or outside in big-bodied Mike Arnold and the sharp, intelligent and aggressive Landon d!ckerson. The tall and nimble Josh Ball and freakishly flexible with a great frame Jauan Williams provide options at offensive tackle. FSU will carry roughly 18 offensive linemen heading into the 2016 season – a depth they have lacked consistently in recent years.

Versatility is a key word uttered by Jimbo Fisher and his staff when talking about defensive talent. In their signees along the defensive line and at the linebacker spots, they got that. They added good edge-rushing talent in the explosive Brian Burns and a high-ceiling prospect like Janarius Robinson. Shavar Manuel, a late flip from the Gators, can do work inside or outside depending on how his body develops in FSU’s strength and conditioning program. Walvenski Aime and Cedric Wood, both early enrollees, bring depth and ability to the interior of the line. At the second level, the linebacker group adds depth at a position that lacks any. Josh Brown, another early enrollee, is a smart football player with versatility to act as an edge rusher or work in the middle at linebacker. Dontavious Jackson is the human definition of a ‘thumper’, something FSU had to have in this class. Emmett Rice plays with bad intentions and is explosive. Keion Joyner is a wild card. He was once thought of as one of the elite linebackers in the nation. His senior season, which ended prematurely, left plenty to be desired, but with a renewed effort he could potentially be a key contributor inside or outside for FSU.

The secondary class was also strong, and the conversation starts with the nation’s best cornerback – Levonta Taylor. A long-time FSU pledge, Taylor was the first to ink with the ‘Noles on National Signing Day. While he isn’t incredibly tall or possessing freakish length, all you have to do with Taylor is turn on the film to realize he is an exceptional talent. A special talent. An instant impact sort of talent. Taylor can play any spot in the secondary. He packs a punch. He can match up with anyone the opposing offense uses in the passing game. You want to know how good his game is, ask his opponents and peers, the respect for him as a player runs deep.


On National Signing Day, people get obsessed with special skill talent or massive bodies along the frontlines. But for FSU, two of their most important signees are just guys that use their feet. Logan Tyler is a versatile specialist as he could be a kicker or a punter. He will almost certainly factor into FSU’s punter conversation upon arriving in the summer. He is also a very good athlete that provides some unique looks on potential fakes. Ricky Aguayo is thought of as moreso simply a kicker. A big footed, strong legged kicker with great range and the ability to continue on the family tradition in Garnet and Gold. College football games can largely be impacted by great special teams, think Cason Beatty’s punting performance against Boston College, and FSU made sure they will remain strong in that department going forward.

In a time where college football recruiting seems to have become about hashtags and so many other meaningless social media influenced items, FSU’s recruiting remains about three primary focuses – relationships, time, and effort. Many of the players signed by FSU yesterday were players that FSU has pursued for more than just a year. A vast majority of them were prospects that either attended a junior day or visited for a camp, prior to ever taking an official visit. FSU had multiple face-to-face encounters with a vast majority of their signees throughout the year, because they showed an effort in the prospect and the prospect reciprocated that interest by making their way to Tallahassee time and time again. Most of all, it was the relationships that FSU coaches built not only with the prospects, but with their parents, family members, coaches and other people important to them. FSU doesn’t recruit a prospect, they recruit a person – learning what makes them tick and who matters to them, etc.

No. 1 class rankings and five-star prospects are great, but at the end of the day recruiting is about meeting needs. FSU needed a quarterback in this class, they landed Malik Henry. They wanted a change-up at running back, they landed the thick yet blazingly fast Amir Rasul. They wanted a human sledgehammer, a selfless player and a versatile fullback, they landed Gabe Nabers. They wanted a special outside wide receiver different than they have on their roster, they landed Keith Gavin. They wanted a tight end with a combination of blocking and receiving skills, they landed Naseir Upshur. They wanted talent and depth from left to right on the offensive line, and they landed six big-bodied bruises in an incredible haul. They needed edge rushers, they landed Brian Burns, Janarius Robinson, and more. They needed depth in the middle, added Shavar Manuel, Walvenski Aime and Cedric Wood. Linebacker was a barren wasteland, FSU landed great inside-outside talent including Josh Brown and then a thumper like Dontavious Jackson. They continue to load the secondary with versatile players, ranging from a special talent like Levonta Taylor to a special frame in Carlos Becker. They also needed to address special teams, and they landed the two best players they had in their June specialists camp. All boxes seemed to be checked off in the need department.

This class likely doesn’t come together and end as it did without the efforts of many early commitments who took it upon themselves to work towards accumulating the best talent. The tip of the spear in FSU’s recruiting efforts were players like Levonta Taylor and Naseir Upshur. A vocal duo that worked kids on visits, at camps and all-star events, and never missed an opportunity on a social network to rep the ‘Noles. But plenty of others did work too. Guys like Janarius Robinson and Josh Brown worked on people like Brian Burns at the U.S. Army All-America Game. Josh Ball was vocal with linemen and others. Beyond the recruits, current players also did a great deal of work in acquiring talent. Top players such as Dalvin Cook and DeMarcus Walker, among several others, were key components on official and unofficial visits of putting forth strong opinions of why it is great to be a Seminole. A coach can tell a prospect all day why they should be at FSU, but when it is coming from someone your age, in your shoes, it drives the point home.
 2 years ago '13        #4663
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Signing with Vols ‘not hard at all’ for Kongbo

Jonathan Kongbo provided a significant portion of Tennessee’s drama on National Signing Day before ultimately signing with the Vols on Wednesday afternoon.

In his mind, though, his decision wasn’t all that difficult.

The four-star defensive end from Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., said he “knew where I wanted to go” in the hours leading up to his final decision, but he had to “explain” to his parents why he wanted to sign with Tennessee before submitting his signed National Letter of Intent.


“It’s the place I felt best would help me reach my goals,” said Kongbo, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 junior-college prospect in the 247Sports Composite for the 2016 class. “I had a great relationship with (defensive coordinator Bob) Shoop, (defensive line) coach (Steve) Stripling, Coach G (running backs coach Robert Gillespie), (head) coach (Butch) Jones.

“They were just a coaching staff I felt very comfortable with, and I kind of believe in their dream — the program they have, the direction they want Tennessee to go.

“I knew where I wanted to go. I mean, all day I knew where I wanted to go. It wasn’t that hard at all.”

Tennessee and Ole Miss were believed to be the favorites to land the 6-foot-5.5, 264-pound Kongbo, who decommitted from the Vols less than a month before signing day. But he said USC finished second to Tennessee, followed by Florida State.


“Second was, I’d say, USC, and then Florida State,” Kongbo said. “Ole Miss was a good school, and I had a good time on my visit there. But, at the end of the day, I just thought it wasn’t going to be the best fit for me.”

Kongbo acknowledged that he did have to talk with his parents about his desire to play for the Vols before finalizing his decision.

“We were just talking about it,” he said. “I guess they wanted me to kind of explain to them why I wanted it. But things worked out. They were supportive of the decision. We had everything sorted out.”

When Kongbo parted ways with Tennessee on Jan. 5, a little more than a month after he committed to the Vols during his official visit to Knoxville, he admitted he didn’t “really” envision himself signing with Tennessee.

“I guess, when I decommitted, they just stuck with me,” he said. “I guess it says a lot about the coaching staff. I thought at the end of the day that was the place where I was needed the most.

“They just picked up their recruitment. They kind of recruited me a little harder, and they really talked to me every day.”

Kongbo said he also had a “better relationship” with players at Tennessee — including linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, defensive end Derek Barnett and running back Alvin Kamara — than he did with players at other schools, and he talked with some of the Vols’ players in the days and hours before he signed with the Vols.

“I talked to Jalen. I talked to Barnett, to Alvin,” Kongbo said. “They just said I can contribute a lot and help the team out. We talked quite often. I talked with Alvin quite often. I also talk to Barnett, just going through everything. He was telling me how it’s like going to Tennessee and all that. We talked a lot.”

He also credited Tennessee’s coaches for being “patient with me.”

“They understood that it’s a hard process making a decision,” Kongbo said, “so they just stuck with me.”

While some teams have envisioned Kongbo developing into a defensive tackle at the next level, Kongbo said the Vols only have discussed playing him at defensive end.

“I guess, with other schools, I’m 260 without really a good meal plan or nothing, so they thought I could probably put on 30, 40 pounds,” he said. “But Tennessee likes me where I’m at right now, so they’re going to stick me at end. That’s definitely where I feel more comfortable at. I can definitely play both, if needed. But I feel better at end.”

Kongbo said he knew after his official visit to Florida State last weekend that he wanted to sign with the Vols, in large part because of the opportunity to be a part of “the resurgence of Tennessee.”

“Once I took all my visits, I kind of evaluated everything, and I figured that Tennessee has the most to offer me,” he said.

“I guess, really, it was just the opportunity Tennessee had to offer me. They haven’t won in a while, so it’d be nice to be a contributing factor to the resurgence of Tennessee. That’s kind of the biggest thing that turned me on to Tennessee. I believe they’re on the verge of something big.”
 2 years ago '13        #4664
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FSU got a 'special' receiver in Gavin

Wide receiver wasn’t a necessity for Florida State when it came to building their 2016 signing class. But it was clear from the get-go that head coach Jimbo Fisher and wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey wanted something special at the position.

When Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla four-star wide receiver Keith Gavin signed with the Seminoles on Wednesday, he fit what they were looking for. A big, physical receiver with special athleticism. A receiver who is different than their current a.ssemblage of talent at the position.

“We didn’t have any seniors at the wide receiver position but we got a special guy here in Keith Gavin,” Dawsey said during Wednesday evening’s recruiting party. “He decommitted early in the summer, but the whole staff got on him. It was a staff effort to get him to come back to be a ‘Nole. It was in his blood. He grew up liking Florida State.”


Gavin shined on the field during his senior season for Wakulla.

“Played in the state championship, he led Wakulla to the state championship game this year and he had a big game. He had two touchdowns in that game,” Dawsey said. “He had 16 touchdowns this year at receiver and he had two kickoff returns for touchdowns.”

At well over 200 pounds on a thick frame, Gavin brings a special kind of physicality to the receiver position, but doesn’t do it at the sacrifice of athleticism.

“He is an explosive football player,” Dawsey said. “I don’t just say receiver, I said football player because he will strike you.


“This is a guy that we are excited to get. They had him rated the No. 9 receiver in the country, but he was our No. 1 ever since he was in 10th grade. We spotted this kid and we watched him. He is a special athlete,” Dawsey added.

Dawsey’s feelings on Gavin’s ability were echoed by his boss.

“Keith is very special,” head coach Jimbo Fisher added. “He is one of those unique guys that has size at 6’4, 220 pounds. High jumps 6’10 and cleans 315 (pounds) over his head. A receiver that looks like a dadgum defensive end and he plays that way.

“This guy is a very special guy and we think he has a tremendous future,” Fisher added.
 2 years ago '13        #4665
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Nabers embodies what Fisher wants at fullback

During his time as head coach at Florida State, Jimbo Fisher has always valued the fullback position. While the Seminoles have Freddie Stevenson currently at the position, they were scouring the 2016 and 2017 classes looking for his heir apparent.

The truth is, they had it right in front of them over the past couple years at camp when Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes athlete Gabe Nabers competed with the tight ends. Nabers landed an offer roughly a week before National Signing Day and immediately accepted it.

He was a welcomed addition for running backs coach Jay Graham, as well as Fisher.


“We had this kid in camp for two years. He’s tough, he’s physical, athletic,” Graham said at Wednesday’s recruiting party. “This is a guy that coach Fisher, he talks about since he got into camp in July, find a spot for this guy.”

Fisher is excited about the versatility and physicality that Nabers brings in the backfield.

“I loved him in camp, always have. Saw a guy 6-3, 240 pounds that can run under 4.7 that can bend that can play multiple positions,” Fisher said. “When you watch him on film he is a football player. He can play defense, he can play offense, he can catch the ball. He’s physical. He likes the game, he lives, eats and breathes everything about football.”

Graham shares Fisher’s appreciation for Nabers’ ability. He was speaking about him while highlights were being shown to the Seminole faithful in attendance.


“You can see the athleticism and he comes out of a great program. As physical as you want him to be at that position. He’s going to be the next in line filling in for Freddie Stevenson,” Graham added. “He ain’t gonna turn down contact ... He can play off the ball, he can play on the ball. Very smart kid. He can do a lot of different things. Soft hands out of the backfield.”
 2 years ago '13        #4666
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Sanders Likes Henry's Aptitude For The Game

Florida State quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator Randy Sanders was impressed with Malik Henry from the first time they met and worked out on the practice field at a Jimbo Fisher camp in the summer of 2014.

"We gave him different things to look at, to think about, and he was able to really respond quickly," Sanders said. "He’s got good size, he’s got a really good arm, he’s very athletic, but I really like his aptitude for the game, the way he was able to think, the way he was able to react to situations and things he was able to see."

Henry, who has enrolled early, is a 247Sports four-star prospect and one of the top quarterbacks in the 2016 class. He threw for 1,410 yards, 16 touchdowns and just one interception over seven games during his senior year at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly after playing two seasons at Westlake Oaks Christian (Calif.).

Sanders again noted Henry's ability to quickly adapt when discussing how he performed at the Under Armour All-America Game. Henry completed 9 of 12 passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns while leading Team Highlight to a 27-0 victory.

"Really played well," Sanders said. "Came in and threw a lot of nice throws, which is a tough environment to be good as a quarterback because you’re playing with receivers that you’ve only been with for a week."

Sanders also described Henry's ability to see how a play will progress and then deliver the ball with the right touch.

"You can see right there a little bit of anticipation, able to see things open before it actually comes open," Sanders said. "Really excited about Malik."

Fisher said that Henry will be in the mix this spring at quarterback. With rising senior Sean Maguire injured, Fisher and Sanders will evaluate Deondre Francois, JJ Cosentino and Henry.

“He has a tremendous chance," Fisher said. "It’s why he’s here.”
 2 years ago '13        #4667
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Brewster Can't Contain His Excitement For Upshur

Sometimes in recruiting, unexpected things occur. Such was the case in tight end recruiting this year.

But that unexpected shift in recruiting at the position resulted in Florida State signing Naseir Upshur from Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Institute.

And if you ask tight ends coach Tim Brewster, it all worked out perfectly in the end.


“He’s an amazing young man,” Brewster said during Wednesday’s recruiting party. “Tough. Hardnosed kid from North Philly. … He’s a hardcore head banger. That’s who he is. This kid right here put his hand down, he’ll go attack people. He’s the type of kid that you want on your team and he embraced Florida State so much from the very beginning.

“6-2, 245 pounds. Can run. Extremely physical with his hand on the ground. I like what he does. He’s a pancake artist,” Brewster added.

When the dust settled on Wednesday, Brewster couldn't contain his smile when describing his newest addition to his personnel group.

“I truly believe that the Florida State Seminoles got the No. 1 ranked tight end in the country in Naseir,” Brewster said. “And the biggest thing is that he wants to be here so bad, he’s so excited about getting here.”
 2 years ago '13        #4668
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Becker's Hatred Of Airports Led Him To FSU

Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola four-star cornerback Carlos Becker ended his recruitment on Signing Day by committing, and signing with, the Florida State Seminoles.

“I’ve known for a week now,” Becker said of his decision to attend FSU. “It was Florida State or Ohio State.”

Throughout the process fans and media members learned that both of Becker's parents are deaf. Did that factor in to him staying close to home and picking FSU?


“No, not really. I hate airports. A lot.”

Becker took an official visit to Florida State three weeks before Signing Day and while on the visit he saw enough from the ‘Noles to vault them into the top spot in his recruitment.

“I went up there and liked the visit, I liked Derwin James and the guys, it was a good fit. I just liked everything about it,” Becker added. “It’s close (to home) and the coaches have always been there for me. I told the coaches in the beginning of the season that I probably wasn’t going there but the coaches stayed on me and kept recruiting me.”

Jimbo Fisher and Charles Kelly sat down with Becker at the end of his official visit and gave him a vision of how they’d use him if he chose FSU.


“They told me they want me a lot, I can come in and make an impact at different positions. They said corner, safety, nickel. That’s what guys want to hear - that they can make in impact from different places.”

Becker plans to enroll at FSU shortly after he graduates from high school in June.
 2 years ago '13        #4669
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Clemson's Venables is ACC Recruiter of the Year

The ink is now dry on all the letters of intent, and with National Signing Day behind us Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables finished as the ACC Recruiter of the Year according to the 247Sports Composite Coach Rankings.

Venables was No. 5 on the national list behind USC's Tee Martin, Alabama's Bo Davis, Auburn's Rodney Garner and Auburn's Dameyune Craig.

Venables landed a whopping nine recruits for the Tigers with an average rating of 89.76. His biggest fish were four-star safety Trayvon Mullen and four-star defensive ends Rahshawn Smith and Xavier Kelly.


Venables made a late push to pass Florida State's Tim Brewster for the conference recruiter of the year. Brewster finished second in the conference and seventh nationally. He landed five recruits for FSU - led by dual threat quarterback Malik Henry and linebacker Dontavious Jackson.

You can see the top 10 recruiters in the ACC for the 2016 recruiting cycle below with the national rank, number of commitments and average recruit rating.

Top ACC recruiters for the 2016 class

1 (5). Brent Venables, Clemson - nine recruits (89.76)
2 (7). Tim Brewster, Florida State - five recruits (93.04)
3 (10). Rick Trickett, Florida State - seven recruits (92.32)
4 (17). Jeff Scott, Clemson - four recruits (93.72)
5 (20). Odell Haggins, Florida State - five recruits (92.88)
6 (36). Charles Kelly, Florida State - five recruits (94.15)
7 (40). Hurlie Brown, Miami - four recruits (90.61)
8 (49). Derek Jones, Duke - 10 recruits (85.82)
9 (64). L.D. Scott, Louisville - six recruits (85.37)
10 (84). Garrick McGee, Louisville - seven recruits (83.71)
 2 years ago '13        #4670
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Rasul A Difference Maker At Running Back

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher called his newest running back, Amir Rasul, a ‘difference-maker’.

Running backs coach Jay Graham is excited about the addition of the South Florida prospect.

“Really good player. Even better young man,” Graham said Wednesday night.


Graham spoke about the player the Seminoles are adding to their talented backfield to complement players such as Dalvin Cook and Jacques Patrick.

“One thing to describe this kid, he’s got speed. He can run. The thing you can also see with him, great cutting ability, 10.38 in the 100 meters, he’s not a track guy, he is physical. You can see that on tape. Great hands out of the backfield,” Graham said.

As Graham was speaking, highlights of Rasul as a senior were being shown behind him. Those highlights included Rasul turning the corner and separating from defenders for a score.

“You can see him right there, when he turns it on, they can’t catch him,” Graham said. “Very important for us to get a back with speed that can do everything we want them to do.


“He’s weighing about 203 right now. Gonna be a big physical back with great speed,” Graham added.

If his family tree is any indication, Rasul should find success at the next level.

“Dad played running back, grandfather was a hall of fame football player in college, his uncle also played running back so he comes from a great lineage,” Graham mentioned.
 2 years ago '13        #4671
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Vols legacy names top five, sets decision date

After reopening his recruitment less than two months ago, Amari Rodgers announced Thursday night that he's ready to announce his college decision again soon.

The Top247 junior wide receiver from Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic High School posted on his Twitter account that he will be making his college decision known Feb. 14, and he will be choosing between Tennessee, Florida State, Clemson, Wake Forest and Alabama.

Rodgers, who decommitted from Southern California in December, is the son of USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin, a former Tennessee quarterback who led the Vols to the 1998 national championship.


The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Rodgers visited Clemson last weekend along with top-100 junior wide receiver Tee Higgins of Oak Ridge (Tenn.) High School, who decommitted from Tennessee on Thursday night. The 247Sports Crystal Ball points to Clemson as the favorite to land Rodgers, with the Tigers getting 73 percent of the current predictions.

Rodgers is ranked the nation's No. 245 overall prospect and No. 34 wide receiver in the 247Sports Composite for the 2017 class.

Stay tuned... pic.twitter.com/gXXy18mihz
 2 years ago '13        #4672
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Levonta Taylor named to Parade All-America Team

Florida State defensive back signee Levonta Taylor was named to the 2015 Parade All-America Team, which was announced on Friday.

Taylor is considered the nation's top cornerback. He is ranked No. 7 overall in the nation by the 247Sports.com Composite.

The complete team can be found here.
 2 years ago '13        #4673
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Specialists Were A Top Priority For FSU In 2016

When it comes to recruiting, specialists are an afterthought in most people’s minds. But for Florida State, the positions of kicker and punter were top priorities in the 2016 class.

“Very important that we were replacing two really good specialists,” special teams coordinator Jay Graham said during Wednesday’s recruiting party.

FSU signed two of the nation’s best specialists in Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy kicker Ricky Aguayo and Nixa (Mo.) kicker/punter Logan Tyler.


Aguayo is an early enrollee.

“Ricky, brother of Roberto, he’s a great kicker in his own right. 6-1, 200 pounds. Strikes the ball really well,” Graham said.

Tyler will arrive over the summer. Graham made sure to point out that Tyler was far more than simply a kicker or punter for his high school squad.

“Logan, he played about seven different positions on offense and defense, so he was pretty tired when he was kicking the ball. To play quarterback, receiver, fullback, tailback, he just loves the game,” Graham said. “Averaged 43 yards per punt. Rushed for a thousand yards in back to back seasons. Very good athlete. This is also a kid, he can hit it from well over 60, strong leg.”


Both Aguayo and Tyler pledged to the Seminoles in June, immediately after participating in FSU’s specialists camp.

“We got two of the top specialists in the country,” Graham said. “We had every kicker in our camp. These guys came out on top.”

With the departure of punter Cason Beatty and kicker Roberto Aguayo, the newcomers will have a shot to compete to fill those vacancies heading into the 2016 season.

“That is a very unique group of specialists,” head coach Jimbo Fisher added on Wednesday evening. “”That’s a great group of young kickers.”
 2 years ago '13        #4674
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Talent, versatily highlight FSU's additions at LB

Florida State will be short on experience at linebacker in 2016. With the graduation of Reggie Northrup and Terrance Smith, along with Lorenzo Phillips' expired eligibility, the Seminoles' coaching staff will be taking a long look at a talented group of newcomers to fill spots.

One of them is early enrollee Josh Brown, who has earned praise from a.ssistant coach Bill Miller.

"Really a great athlete here," Miller said. "He’s really a very intelligent kid. You can’t be a knucklehead and play this game anymore. There’s just too much involved in it as far as processing and visualizing what you’re keys do.


Miller said that Brown, primarily a prep OLB, will work at inside and outside linebacker this spring.

"He can be either an inside backer or have an ability to rush off the edge as an outside backer here too," Miller said. "We’re going to figure that out in the spring, that’s one of the great things that we have (with) him here."

FSU's coaching staff also landed a talent when they brought inside linebacker Dontavious Jackson out of Houston and to FSU. Miller said he and FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and recruiting coordinator Tim Brewster made a recent visit to Jackson's high school.

"He’s a natural leader," Miller said. "He’s very articulate and I mean great leadership qualities, as well as being a thumper. He will knock the you know what out of you. Very athletic guy. But again, it takes more than just that. It’s athleticism, it’s toughness and explosiveness.”


Miller said Keion Joyner is versatile and can play inside or outside linebacker. He spent most of his time on the outside in high school.

"Just a very athletic and physical kid and another kid that’s a very astute learner," Miller said.

Miller feels that Emmett Rice, a three-star OLB, went under the radar as a recruit but has impressed the staff with his athleticism.

"He’s another one of them that has tremendous speed and the ability to develop power and thrust on contact," Miller said.

As Miller was talking, the video screen behind him showed highlights of Rice delivered a punishing hit.

"Yeah, there’s a bunch of those," Miller said. "That’s what I was saying when I first saw him too, I went, 'Ohhh.' ”
 2 years ago '13        #4675
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FSU Bolsters Defensive Line With New Additions

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher lives by the old adage that you can never have enough linemen.

“When you got a chance to get those guys, you better jump all over them because high quality offensive and defensive linemen are hard to find,” Fisher said. “You take as many as you can get because of injuries and sometimes they just aren’t there.

“The next year their many not be the quality of the crop the year before,” Fisher added.


Such is the case in 2016 where Florida State bulked up on both sides of the ball in the trenches. On defense, they added five total defensive lineman.

One of the top additions was defensive end Brian Burns. Lawing credited Bill Miller for doing a ‘great job of developing a relationship’ with Burns.

“Brian is an excellent athlete. Very talented,” defensive ends coach Brad Lawing said on Wednesday evening. “First time I saw him he really reminds me of a guy I had at South Carolina years ago named John Abraham, who just retired, he’s on 133.5 sacks in his career.

“He is a tremendous athlete,” Lawing added. “Brian’s got a tremendous future ahead of him. Will be a big player in our ‘Rabbits’ package, a lot of our pass rush stuff that we do. Young kids can impact your passing game on defense a lot sooner than the run game and we anticipate that with him.”


Another addition was a long-time pledge, and now an early enrollee, Janarius Robinson.

“Gonna be a big time player,” Lawing said of Robinson. “He’s got a chance to be a 280-285 pound defensive end. Can run, just gotta get him bending off the edge. But he can run. I think he can be a lot like DeMarcus Walker but a better athlete. Janarius is a tremendous athlete.”

The class was capped off on National Signing Day when the Seminoles flipped Shavar Manuel from the Gators. Manuel is listed as a defensive tackle, but the Seminoles intend to line him up on the edge early in his career if his body will allow it.

“Shavar, if he keeps his weight down he can be an end. If he eats a little bit too much he’s going to turn into a tackle. We’re going to start him at end,” Lawing said. “Shavar is a tremendous athlete.”

With Manuel expected to start his career at defensive end, that means the Seminoles are bringing in a pair of defensive tackles to bolster the depth in the midle.

“I’m excited about them. You didn’t hear much about them because they committed early,” defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins said about the duo on Wednesday.

The pair – Walvenski Aime and Cedric Wood – are both already enrolled.

Aime comes from the junior college ranks.

“6-4, 300 pounds … He’s a big, physical powerful guy. Athletic. I like him. A great kid. He got 3 years to play. 3. Yes sir, no sir,” Haggins said. “Big kid that can run. I’m gonna have to get out of his comfort zone this spring probably. To go with the guys I have right now I’m very excited about this one. Actually he’s from Florida but he went to Junior college at Fort Scott. He can push the pocket, rush the passer, stop the run. Types like that, he reminds me of Travis Johnson … Probably better athlete.”

Wood is a local who was the first pledge for the 2016 class.

“He was committed to us for about a year … This kid never wavered,” Haggins said. “Ced is another big strong powerful kid. About 6-3, 305 pounds. A great kid, a great family. I’m really excited about this kid also. He can stop the run, he can rush the passer too. You want those types. Godby, hometown guy. Never wavered.”
 2 years ago '13        #4676
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FSU's Ten Most Wanted Recruits For 2017


Now that Signing Day has past for the 2016 class we turn our attention to 2017. Here are the ten most wanted recruits for next cycle.

Florida State already has a solid foundation built for the 2017 cycle with five commitments already.

D.J. Matthews
5'11" / 160 lbs
WR RANK
15
COMMITTED

AnalysisMatthews is fun to watch. He plays fast. On the smaller side, so likely a slot on the next level. Could be a really good slot. Very explosive. Plays fast whether he is going north-south or east-west. Can stop and go well and is tough to stop in the open field. Hands are a real strength. Really has good concentration. Needs to fill out his frame and get stronger. A true playmaker.

Ja'len Parks
6'4" / 274 lbs
DT RANK
8
COMMITTED

AnalysisParks is likely a three-technique on the next level, but he could be a heck of an offensive guard too. He is so athletic for a big guy and he can get up the field as a defender and pull as an offensive lineman. On defense, he gets in the backfield, he closes down the line of scrimmage, and he chases the ball well. His biggest a.sset is his athleticism. He can run. Still a very raw prospect and he needs to work his hands and learn moves.

Zaquandre White
6'0" / 207 lbs / 4.73s
RB RANK
19
COMMITTED

VanDarius Cowan
6'4" / 215 lbs
OLB RANK
2
COMMITTED

AnalysisWhen you watch Cowan play, you see violence. He is looking to punish the ball carrier or the quarterback he is in pursuit of. Has played a mix of end and linebacker in recent years, but his home being inside backer in 2015. On the next level, depending on scheme, he could play inside in a 3-4 front, be a hybrid on the outside in that scheme, or be a terror at rush end in a 4-3. He is strong, he plays fast, and he is physical. Nice frame, too.

Bradley Jennings Jr.
6'3" / 215 lbs
OLB RANK
NR
COMMITTED
With those commitments already in mind here are the Top-10 most wanted recruits for the 2017 cycle.
1. 4-star CB Stanford Samuels III

Samuels is an elite cornerback with great size, athleticism, and understanding of the game. He is already the No. 15 recruit in the 2017 Scout 300, and it wouldn't surprise me if he rose even higher than that. He is also a Florida State legacy, and landing him will be one of the key pieces for the 2017 class.

Stanford Samuels III
6'2" / 170 lbs
CB RANK
3
INTERESTS

AnalysisSamuels III is how you draw up big-time corners in todays game. Size can be looked at as a strength or area for improvement because his length is off the charts, but yet he is thin, so he needs to add mass/strength. He gets his hands on a lot of passes and his recovery speed is a real strength. Not afraid to come up and make a play against the run. Very instinctive player, can bait the quarterback, and then make a play on the ball.

2. 4-star OT Alex Leatherwood

Leatherwood is one of the Top-2 offensive tackles on the board for next cycle, and even though he has been committed to Alabama for months the Seminoles are not going to let up on the talented lineman. He was dominant at the Jimbo Fisher Camp last July, and is a top priority for the staff.

Alex Leatherwood
6'5" / 295 lbs / 5.23s
OT RANK
15
INTERESTS

AnalysisLeatherwood passes the immediate eye test. Has great size with good balance in upper and lower body. Very strong and uses that power when he gets his hands on defenders. Really moves guys around and likes to put them on the ground. Better run blocker at this time. Can get to the second level. More of a right tackle type on the next level. Solid feet, but can improve pass sets. Solid in and out of his stance.


3. 5-star OT Calvin Ashley

Ashley is the other offensive tackle at the top of the board for the Seminoles. He and Leatherwood are 1A and 1B. Ashley is committed to Auburn at this time, but Florida State isn't going to go quietly on this one. Ashley is a physically dominant player that stands out even among the best players in the country.

Calvin Ashley
6'6" / 310 lbs
OT RANK
3
COMMITTED

AnalysisAshley is an offensive tackle who can be that left tackle and protect a quarterback's blindside on the next level. Athletic with a great frame. Has good feet and keeps his feet moving well when driving guys off the ball. Has very good reach at tackle. Solid agility and mobility for a guy his size. Has shown the ability to run the speed rush guys out and stone the bigger ones. Can really improve his pad level and his leverage. Relies more on his big body right now, so needs to work on his sets and playing lower. He has real potential and he loves to finish his blocks.

4. 4-star S Maleik Gray

Gray came to camp last year, and, even with multiple Top-100 safeties in attendance, he stood out as the best. He's long, athletic, and has the exact type of attitude that is coveted in a defensive player. He is an Alpha Dog.

Maleik Gray
6'2" / 205 lbs / 4.58s
S RANK
4
INTERESTS

AnalysisGray spends a lot of time inside the box on the high school level, but he will likely start out in the secondary at safety in college. He could become a hybrid due to his size, his ability to play the run, and how effective he can be used in blitz packages. He really can run and close on the football. Plays with his instincts and he stays around the ball. Very athletic and shines at running back some as well. Home is on defense.

5. 4-star RB D'Andre Swift

Swift is arguably the top running back in the country for 2017, and for good reason. He excels in every facet of the game, and is one of the best receiving running backs in the country. He is good friends with 2016 signee Naseir Upshur, and grew up liking the Seminoles.

D'Andre Swift
5'9" / 204 lbs
RB RANK
3
INTERESTS

AnalysisSwift is a powerful, explosive and strong runner. He has quick feet and can make subtle cuts in the hole or make a player miss in the open field. He is rugged and physical, and can run between the tackles or outside. He is thick and durable and tough to bring down on first contact. He plays with a low center of gravity. Swift also is a plus catching the ball, and he runs routes well. -- Brian Dohn

6. 4-star OG Tedarrell Slaton

Slaton is the top guard in the country, and comes from a school that has been very kind to the Seminoles for the past few years. Slaton has a chance to be the third straight five star from American Heritage to sign with Florida State.

Tedarrell Slaton
6'4.5" / 341 lbs / 5.29s
OG RANK
1
INTERESTS

AnalysisSlaton looks like a grown man on the hoof. He is extremely strong in his lowerbody and upperbody. He just overpowers his opponent much of the time. His punch is impressive and he really shoots his hands well. Plays tackle, and could be a right tackle, but projects as an elite guard on the next level. Really bends well for a young man his size and fires off the ball. Needs to improve his footwork in pass protection and his hand placement. Simply nasty OL.


7. 4-star DE Malik Herring

Herring is one of the top defensive ends in the country for the 2017 cycle. He's got great size and athleticism, and has already visited the Seminoles multiple times over the past year. He is one of the top defensive ends on the board for Florida State.

Malik Herring
6'3" / 253 lbs / 5.28s
DE RANK
13
INTERESTS

AnalysisSOPHOMORE EVALUATION: Herring is one that passes the eye-test right away. He has broad shoulders, natural strength, and he is one who could project as a strongside end or defensive tackle on the next level. Most effective with his size and strength now. Needs to improve on burst off the ball and first step at end. Strong at the point of attack and he can get penetration into the backfield. Better against the run at this time.

8. 4-star WR James Robinson

Robinson is one of the top receivers in the country for the 2017 cycle, and, even though he has named Clemson his leader, Florida State is not going to go away. The Seminoles will be hard after Robinson until next signing day.

James Robinson
6'3" / 190 lbs
WR RANK
18
INTERESTS

AnalysisThere is not much that Robinson does not do well. He is a receiver who can go vertical or take it across the middle for the catch in traffic. He is explosive when he gets the ball and he has shown the ability to get separation. He is big and physical, so combine those with his speed and he is a big play waiting to happen. He gets yards after the catch with his speed or with size, and his ability to break the tackles.

CLOSE
9. 4-star CB Jamyest Williams

Williams is one of the most fun to watch players in the country regardless of class. He's a true competitor that could play on either side of the ball, but will likely play defense. He was the only underclassman named to the 2016 All-Opening team, and was one of the top players at the Jimbo Fisher Camp last July.

Jamyest Williams
5'9" / 170 lbs / 4.52s
ATH RANK
7
INTERESTS

AnalysisThere is not much Williams cannot do at a high level. What an athlete he is. Plays with toughness and a real attitude. Has a chip on his shoulder between the lines. Can be viewed as an athlete because of his versatility. Can be a corner, but nickel may be his best spot. He strong as a running back too. Can be compared to Tyrann Mathieu. Great ball skills. Really good instincts. His height and length is not ideal, but do not doubt this one.


10. 4-star RB Khalan Laborn

Laborn is another top running back that the Seminoles are after, and they will need more than one this cycle. Laborn is teammates with Florida State signee Levonta Taylor, and came down to visit with him for the Jimbo Fisher camp last July.

Khalan Laborn
5'9" / 195 lbs / 4.6s
RB RANK
5
INTERESTS

AnalysisLaborn is an electrifying playmaker who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. He is a running back with good instincts and vision. Laborn has quick feet and is very elusive. He is also a very dangerous receiver and return man. Laborn must continue to get bigger, but there is no doubt he is one of the top prospects in his class and he has all the tools to become a big-time player in college.
 2 years ago '14        #4677
Primetime24 
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$37 | Props total: 12 12
I wonder if people at IMG was wanting Manuel to go to uf.Something is not right since Weinke left.It just seems weird that he had so much pressure he would have to fake commit to be left alone.Great Class and cant wait to see them in Garnet and Gold
 2 years ago '15        #4678
Preacher Mane 8 heat pts
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$4,974 | Props total: 11129 11129
Love these updates
 2 years ago '15        #4679
Milk Bone 22 heat pts22
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$3,038 | Props total: 1565 1565
Jaboo rookie of the yr. But he was supposed to the next Jamarcus Russell.
 2 years ago '13        #4680
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FSU Meets Needs Without Sacrificing Talent

Florida State hit big with the 2016 recruiting class, and met all their needs at the same time.

It was a great day for the Florida State coaching staff as the Seminoles closed on six 4-star or higher prospects. The Seminoles already had an impressive class heading into Signing Day, and the new additions pushed it over the top. Florida State finished with the No. 3 class on Scout, but finished with the No. 1 class according to ESPN.
Florida State finished with 15 recruits rated in the Top-300 and a 68 percent blue chip rating for the class with two kickers and a fullback included. The Florida State coaching staff did an excellent job of meeting their needs at every position while not sacrificing talent to do so.

Quarterback: 4-star Malik Henry was one of the best for the cycle. No one questioned his on the field ability, and he's already on campus ready to compete for the starting job.
Running Back: 4-star Amir Rasul gives the Seminoles the speed back that they were looking for. He is an excellent receiver out of the back field, and, while it was a down year for running backs across the board, Florida State got the one they wanted.
Full Back: 3-star Gabe Nabers was a late addition to the class, but he's a true full back for what Florida State wants to do on the offensive side of the ball.
Wide Receiver: Florida State got their guy in 4-star Keith Gavin. He's a freak athlete with great size and ability. The Seminoles only needed one here, and got the one they were after.
Tight End: Florida State lost out on 5-star Isaac Nauta, but landed arguably the toughest player in the country. He's going to be a multi-year starter for the Seminoles.
Offensive Line: Florida State landed the best offensive line class in the country. 4-star tackles Josh Ball and Jauan Williams both provide excellent size, length, and ability. 4-star guard Landon d!ckerson and 3-star Mike Arnold are both big, physical players on the interior. 4-star center Baveon Johnson and 3-star Andrew Boselli are total opposites, but compliment each other well. Johnson has the size and ability to be the top center in the country. Boselli isn't physically imposing, but he's smart, and gets better with each rep he takes. Both will contribute before they're finished at FSU.
Defensive End: The Seminoles landed two of the most highly sought after defensive ends in the country in 5-star Brian Burns and 4-star Janarius Robinson. Both Burns and Robinson will need time to develop, but both have the potential to be elite players in the future.
Defensive tackle: Florida State landed a very nice mix at defensive tackle. 4-star JUCO DT Walvenski Aime comes in with 3 years to play 3, and will have a chance to compete for playing time this spring. The Seminoles also brought in 4-star Shavar Manuel and 3-star Cedric Wood. Both will get some time to develop before they're needed.
Linebacker: Florida State had a big need at linebacker, and they met it head on. 4-stars Keion Joyner and Dontavious Jackson are both highly thought of. Jackson is a true middle linebacker that is a head hunter while Joyner is able to play outside or inside. 3-stars Josh Brown and Emmett Rice are both very underrated. Brown is already on campus, and will f!ght for playing time this spring. Rice will need time to put on some weight, but he could end up as the best of the group with his ability.
Defensive Back: It all starts with 5-star cornerback Levonta Taylor here. Taylor is a true alpha dog that has never met a receiver he couldn't lock down. He backs it up with his play on the field, and will be an immediate impact player for the Seminoles. 4-stars Carlos Becker and Kyle Meyers are both long, athletic prospects that can play either safety or cornerback. Something Florida State prioritizes in their recruitment.
Special Teams: Florida State landed two of the best kickers in the country in 3-stars Logan Tyler and Ricky Aguayo. Aguayo is already on campus so he will have a leg up on the kicking competition, but Tyler may be the best specialist in the entire country. It will be interesting to see how the battles play out.
Florida State turned in arguably their best class under Jimbo Fisher in 2016. It's comparable to the 2011 class that was able to lead the Seminoles to the 2013 National Championship. I'm sure Florida State fans wouldn't mind a repeat of that.
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