The Florida State Seminoles have one of the most historic and prestigious programs in all of college football. No, they aren’t quite in the same class as the likes of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Alabama Crimson Tide, at least in terms of all time historical significance, but they’ve certainly been more significant than the Irish the past 20 years.
Bobby Bowden was the grand architect of it all. He won 377 games, 12 ACC Championships, 2 National Championships, and developed 2 Heisman Trophy winners. Unfortunately, he received only a slightly better ending to his career than his life-long counterpart, Joe Paterno. Bowden, for all of his successes, was essentially forced out. At least he had a hand in choosing his successor, Jimbo Fisher.
What Fisher and Bowden share in common is their ability to attract top-flight talent. Bowden recruited some of FSU’s all time greats- Charlie Ward, Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks…the list can go on and on. Bowden also recruited some of the biggest flops in the history of recruiting, especially recently. Guys like quarterback Xavier Lee (class of ’04), defensive tackle Callahan Bright (’05), receiver Fred Rouse (’05), running back Antone Smith (’05), and linebacker Ernie Sims (’03) were all supposed to bring back the glory days. They were all some of the most highly touted and heavily recruited players of the decade. All were legendary busts, especially Lee.
Granted, Sims had a decent couple of years in Tallahassee and a few mediocre years in the NFL, but he never resurrected the program like he was supposed to.
Now that Fisher is in charge, the ‘Noles are still recruiting at a breakneck speed, just like Bowden did, only they’re experiencing better success. The highly touted players are coming in and succeeding. Highly touted players like quarterback E.J. Manuel and safety Lamarcus Joyner are actually living up to the billing. Fisher is proving he can recruit great athletes and develop them as well.
The ‘Noles are hoping the class they are developing for 2013 can live up to its billing as well. Some rank their current class as highly as 12th nationally, with about three more months to go until National Signing Day. If Florida State continues winning, their class will certainly continue to grow and get better. But in the meantime, let’s look at this years class more closely.
This years class is remarkably balanced. Out of the 18 current commits, 10 are on offense and 8 are on defense.
John Franklin is the only quarterback in the class, and he’s an intriguing prospect to watch. He has elite speed, even by FSU standards, but has to develop mechanically. Fisher is a master quarterback guru, so it should be fun to watch his development. Ryan Green is the lone running back on board, and he’s one of the best nationally.
Isaiah Jones, Tony Stevens and Levonte Whitfield make up an excellent receiving trio, and could see time early. The ‘Noles have an excellent offensive line class brewing with tackles Austin Golson and Richy Klepal, guard Ira Denson and center Ryan Hoefeld. And that’s just on offense.
The defensive prospects are just as talented.
End Davin Bellamy is a fantastic pass rusher who fits the mold of great FSU defensive linemen. The linebacking corps is one of the nations best with Ro’Derrick Hoskins, E.J. Levenberry Jr., Tyrell Lyons and Freddie Stevenson on board. Watch for Levenberry, especially. He’s one of the best players in the country and could be the next sensational FSU linebacker.
The defensive backs are all very athletically gifted. Cornerbacks Adrian Baker and Marquez White and safety Michael Johnson all will bring some physicality to the backfield, something FSU always wants.
FSU should steamroll the Maryland Terrapins this weekend, but they will certainly have their hands full the weekend after that against the Florida Gators. If Florida State wins these next two games, and wins the ACC Championship, there are going to be some fans clamoring to see the ‘Noles in the National Championship game. The case can be made, especially with only one loss (although it was to a downtrodden North Carolina State program).
But with Florida State relevant again, their recruiting is only going to pick up more steam.
ACC teams better watch out. The ‘Noles are back.