Florida State signed 32 players in 2008, here is a look at the good, the average, and the ugly.
Andrew Datko: Started final 12 games as a freshmen and every game since when healthy. A home run on the recruiting trail and a player who has the chance to play on Sunday's.
E.J. Manuel: While he has not been "the starter" yet......he has started many games and has won the last two bowl games. He IS "the starter" now and expectations are sky high for the next two years. Has enormous upside with his arm and feet.
Nigel Bradham: Long-time starter for FSU, he returns for his senior season where he has the chance to earn All-American honors. Learned new system as a junior and is expected to benefit greatly in year two. He has an NFL future in front of him.
Zebrie Sanders: Long-time starter that returns for his senior season and money year. Seemingly has improved with more experience and is clearly one of the top 10 RT's in college football. Has basically started since day one.
Markus White: Signed out of Butler Community College(originally from West Palm Beach), White gave FSU three good years and he started for two. He was recently selected in the 7th round of the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins.
Bo Reliford: Has started plenty of games and was just coming into his own late last season. Missed the Spring due to grade issues, but is expected to be in good standing for August camp.
Jermaine Thomas: Quick, fast player that has made contributions since he arrived on campus. Capable of making some big runs. Has had some issues off the field, but we hope those are behind him. In the mix next season. Has started plenty of games.
Everett Dawkins: Versatile linemen that has settled in at DT. Part of four man rotation at DT and has the ability to get after the QB. Has struggled a little to add weight. Valuable defensive linemen.
Ty Jones: Has gotten better every season at FSU and had some flashes of brilliance last year. Steady contributor who fights the injury bug a little. Power back type.
David Spurlock: Solid starter that was expected to move to Center in 2011. Has had some concussions and his senior year is in doubt at this time. Tough, versatile player when healthy.
Terrance Parks: Returning starter at Safety that must hold off the youngsters to keep job. Highly touted coming in, Parks has been solid and showed in the Spring game that he might be ready to take the next step.
Nick Moody: Fierce hitter who provides 1-3 big shots every game. Started as a RS soph. Struggles in coverage where he must improve to hold onto starting spot. Could be a LB at his size(6'1, 225).
Jarmon Fortson: Flashes of brilliance and he was poised for a big 2010 season before being kicked off the team for off the field issues. The talent was clearly there for him to be an impact player which keeps him out of the ugly category.
Blake Snider: Still on team and was expected to make a move in the Spring, but injuries have kept him from making a bigger impact. If healthy, he can be valuable depth, if not a starter.
Rhonne Sanderson: Versatile linemen that has seen some spot starts, but has been unable to grab a starting role.
Garrett Faircloth: Signed as an OL project, it is the next two years that will determine his legacy at FSU. Has shown the ability to be a starting type OL and will have a legit shot in 2012 when Datko/Sanders graduate.
Vincent Williams: Is in the mix for the starting MLB spot in 2011 and has been good depth thus far.
Joshua Gehres: Has flashed potential, but faces an uphill battle for PT, particularly after a knee injury in the Spring. Capable of contributing.
Corey Surrency: Caught 12 balls during his junior year and was expected to break-out as senior. A silly NCAA rule did not allow him to play as a senior, cutting his career short. Surrency had fought through a lot of turmoil in his life.
Avis Commack: Injuries have hurt the former WR. A move to CB has re-ignited his career and he is expected to be a break-out performer in 2011.
Ja'Baris Little: Local, solid contributor that has provided solid depth at FSU.
Moses McCray: His talent is not in question, but a series up injuries has made him the invisible man. Now faces an uphill battle for PT. Has the chance to surprise if he can get healthy.....and stay that way.
Tavares Pressley: Injuries de-railed his career. He always impressed when healthy though and talent wise could have helped. Signed out of El Camino, originally from Arcadia, Fl (Desoto County).
Nigel Carr: Had starting potential before being dismissed for off the field issues.
Ed Imeokparia: Suffered an early ACL injury and was never able to enter the mix. Has left FSU.
A.J. Alexander: Highly touted athlete that never settled into a position before deciding to transfer. No impact on the field.
Joe Tonga: Late signee from JUCO who contributed a little on special teams
Toshmon Stevens: Still at FSU, but has never been able to add weight and has an uphill battle for playing time in 2011.
Travis Arnold: Never contributed at FSU.
Anthony Hill: Despite signing with FSU, he never arrived.
Verdict: This is a VERY under-rated class in the annals of recruiting. There may not be much STAR POWER in terms of first round picks in the NFL draft, but 24 players make the "good" or "average" list and that does not include the two re-signees(certainly McCloud is a good already).
In a day and age when 50% is excellent on the recruiting trail, this is simply a terrific class.
Yes there were some off the field issues with a few of the players, but at the end of the day that is par for the course and it is not abnormally bad. Carr and Fortson were tough losses as they are FSU starting caliber players. However, it should be noted that Coach Fisher made a statement with those two and FSU has not had any such issue's since the defections.
Injuries have really hurt McCray, Snider, Spurlock, Pressley, and Commack.
This class is VASTLY different than last year's(2007) that we highlighted. And because of that, expectations are rightfully high for 2011.