If you are a Florida State fan and believe in quality over quantity, then you're going to love the new batch of Seminoles that coach Jimbo Fisher put together Wednesday on National Signing Day.
"I love our class," Fisher said shortly after exiting the war room at the Coyle E. Moore Center. "I think we got a lot of guys we wanted who met our needs. That's the big thing: getting quality people, athletes and students. We met our needs at certain positions, and I think it will create some very good competition for our team. We've got some young athletes who will hopefully compete for starting jobs. That's something you always want as a coach, to build that depth and competition on the football field and make yourself a better football team."
Fisher and Co. officially signed 18 players to a National Letter of Intent, which includes three early enrollees already on campus taking classes this semester -- meaning they will be able to participate in Spring practice.
According to the rankings at Scout.com, FSU got John Hancocks from five five-star, six four-star and seven three-star recruits, plus five-star quarterback Jameis Winston from Hueytown (AL) High School confirmed his commitment to the 'Noles on live TV. While the dual-threat passer is participating in an all-star game and hasn't sent in his NLI yet, he could find himself in front of a fax machine by the end of this week.
Fisher has joked about being an offensive coach that spends the majority of his time recruiting defensive players, and it showed because Florida State landed a handful of the premier defenders available. The headliner is Denton (TX) Ryan High School end Mario Edwards, who has the size and strength of an inside run stopper but the speed and skills of an off-the-edge pass rusher. When Edwards is added to Washington (DC) Edison-Friendship Public Charter School tackle Eddie Goldman and Oxon Hill (MD) Potomac High School cornerback Ronald Darby, a convincing case can be made that the Seminoles got the No. 1 prospects in the nation at their respective positions.
FSU did come up empty on St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood High School defensive end Dante Fowler, as he broke his commitment to the 'Noles and instead inked with rival Florida, but a D-line that loses nobody from a loaded rotation in 2011 now has even more reinforcements on the way.
"You want everybody," admitted Fisher, "but the front we have is tremendous. Eddie Goldman is a great player. Dante, the depth chart bothered him, and that's some of the issues you have. But we're very happy with the guys we got."
In addition to the embarrassment of riches he has along the defensive line, Fisher feels a lot better about his secondary than he did when he woke up in the morning thanks to the addition of Darby and another corner, San Antonio (TX) Brandeis High School's Colin Blake.
"The guys that put their hand in the dirt change the game," Fisher said, "as well as corners. That's why that last commitment [from Darby] was huge, and then people don't realize how good of a player Colin Blake is. You're talking about a player that's 6-2, 185 pounds and ran a 10.6 100 meters also. He's a great athlete. And then Darby, he's a 10.3, 10.4 guy who's great on offense and great with the ball. You put those corners, defensive linemen and of course our ‘backers and safeties, those guys can really make the difference."
It is also worth noting the international flavor of this class, as junior-college-transfer offensive linemen Daniel Glauser and Menelik Watson hail from Switzerland and England, respectively, plus Blake was born English himself.
"It's not a regional world anymore," said Fisher. "It's not a national world. It's a global world. Communication. More guys know what people do. You have a lot of folks over there [in Europe] that know football, a lot of big-bodied people that are athletic and play soccer. A lot of those big guys are developing athletically, and it has opened up a whole new avenue of finding recruits."
Helping take away the bitterness of seeing Fowler head to the Gators is Florida State's success in flipping Jacksonville (FL) First Coast High School linebacker Reggie Northrup from its other in-state enemy, Miami.
On the offensive side of the ball, the crown jewel -- at least until Winston presumably arrives -- is Cape Coral (FL) Island Coast High School tailback Mario Pender, who is one of the early enrollees and should compete for carries as a true freshman.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
'We got a lot of guys we wanted'
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