Since 2007, Florida State has signed recruits from 23 different states. As is true with every program, some have turned out to be superstars while others have failed to live up to expectations. The Seminoles’ hit rate in Jimbo Fisher’s tenure, however, has been unusually good, even for an elite program.
In order to get a better picture of where Florida State has had the most success, we have broken down Florida State’s recruiting by region, also dividing Florida itself into five regions. We continue with the third installment of our series with the Orlando/Tampa area, the third of the five Florida regions.
It is important to clarify realistic expectations for given recruits, as a 5-star should obviously be measured by a different standard of expectations than a 2-star. Our standard expectations for these articles are as follows:
5-stars: Expected to be a difference-maker at his position, a multi-year starter, potential All-ACC or All-American selection, and high draft pick.
4-stars: Expected to be a solid starter and an eventual draft pick.
3-stars: Expected to make a significant impact for at least one year.
2-stars: Expected to provide depth.
Players can obviously exceed, meet, or underperform relative to these expectations.
For this series, we will re-rank each player based their Florida State career. A player who plays like a 5-star will add 5 points to his region. The same system will be used for players who are in the 2 to 4-star range. A player who transfers away from Florida State, does not qualify, or is dismissed before making a contribution will be given zero stars. Medical disqualifications will not count against the region.
The total points will then be divided by the number of eligible signees to get the average for the region. Players who have signed within the last two years will not be included in this final calculation, as it is generally too early to assess their impact.
The Orlando/Tampa area has provided the Seminoles with the most recruits since 2007 with 35.
3-star Will Furlong (OG): Will Furlong transferred to North Alabama in 2009. Final Grade: 0-star (Transfer)
4-star Kendall Smith (LB): Kendall Smith was a very solid player for the Seminoles starting at middle linebacker his junior and senior years. Final Grade: 3-star
2-star Ty Jones (RB): Jones started a few games but mostly provided solid but unspectacular depth at the RB position. Final Grade: 3-star
2-star Rhonne Sanderson (OL): Sanderson was a key reserve and special teams player but was medically disqualified due to a foot injury. Final Grade: NA (MDQ)
3-star Vince Williams (LB): Williams was a multi-year starter at middle linebacker and an eventual draft pick. Final Grade: 4-star
4-star Moses McCray (DT): McCray started a few games early in his career but eventually struggled with injuries and mostly provided depth at defensive tackle later in his career. Final Grade: 3-star
4-star Demonte McAllister (DT): A bit of a tweener at defensive end/defensive tackle. McAllister was up and down and fought some injuries during his career and ultimately was passed by younger players. He played a key role in the 2013 National Championship season providing key depth. Final Grade: 3-star
3-star Willie Haulstead (WR): Haulstead was a key piece to the offensive puzzle in 2010, but injuries and an eventual academic disqualification prevented him from ever making an impact again. Final Grade: 3-star
5-star Christian Green (WR): Green was a bit of a disappointment as he never panned out after showing flashes of ability his freshman year. He finally got into the endzone, but finished his career with just one touchdown. Final Grade: 3-star
4-star Christian Jones (LB): Jones was a multi-year starter at linebacker. Despite not quitemeeting the high expectations he started with Jones was a solid player during his time at FSU. Final Grade: 4-star
4-star Kenny Shaw (WR): Shaw was a multi-year starter at slot receiver and always in the right position. He finished second on the team in receiving yards in 2012 and third in 2013. He signed with the Cleveland Browns, but is now in Oakland. Final Grade: 4-star
3-star Jared Haggins (WR): Haggins provided solid depth at wide receiver in 2012 but was injured for the National Championship run in 2013. He did not see the field much in 2014. Final Grade: 3-star
3-star Terrance Brooks (S): Brooks exceeded his expectations during his career at Florida State. He was a multi-year starter at safety before being drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL draft. Brooks will go down as one of the best safeties in the history of the program. Final Grade: 5-star
3-star Chad Abram (S/FB): Abram signed as a safety, but moved over to the offensive side of the ball after the departure of Lonnie Pryor. He only started one year at fullback, but he played a big part of the National Championship team. Final Grade: 3-star
4-star Darius Cummings (DT): Cummings transferred to JUCO before finally transferring to the University of Florida. Final Grade: 0-star (We considered giving negative points since he transferred to Florida)
3-star Terry Bell (DT): Never made it to Florida State. Signed with a JUCO. Final Grade: 0-star
4-star Nick Waisome (CB): Provided depth at the corner position. Size has proved a limitation in FSU’s current scheme, and did not make a big impact during his time in Tallahassee. Final Grade: 3-star
4-star Jordan Prestwood (OL): Transferred to Notre Dame and then washed out of South Bend. Final Grade: 0-star
5-star James Wilder (RB): Wilder was a cornerstone of his recruiting class and perhaps the most significant offensive recruit for Fisher before Jameis Winston. Wilder was a big part of the running game over the 2012-2013 seasons and ended his career with 20 touchdowns. Final Grade: 4-star
5-star Karlos Williams (S/RB): Initially signed with Florida State as a safety but lacked great instincts and lateral fluidity in coverage and was unable to crack the rotation. Already having flashed big-play ability as a return man, Williams switched to running back in 2013 and flashed elite potential. He was Florida State’s second leading rusher in 2013 and was slated to start in 2014. However, Williams didn’t live up to the loft expectations his 2013 campaign has set for him and was eventually passed on the depth chart by freshman Dalvin Cook. Final Grade: 4-star
3-star Trey Pettis (OL): Transferred to Florida Tech. Final Grade: 0-star
4-star Marvin Bracy (WR): Bracy may be the fastest person in America and as such chose to leave school to compete for the United States Track and Field team. As we are all patriots here at NoleDigest, we will not hold that against him. Plus he was instrumental in landing his cousin, Kermit Whitfield, who turned in one of the iconic plays in FSU history in the BCS National Championship Game. Final Grade: NA (USA!)
4-star P.J. Williams (CB): PJ Williams is one of the top five corners in college football and is projected to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft next season. This season he will again start at corner. Final Grade: 5-star
3-star Roberto Aguayo (K): Kickers aren’t normally rated that high, but in certain cases a higher Grade is warranted as they can majorly affect games. Aguayo is that sort of kicker. He won the Groza award for the best kicker in college football as a redshirt freshman. Final Grade: 5-star
2-star Davarez Bryant (TE/DE)
3-star Jeremy Kerr (TE)
3-star Roderick Hoskins (LB)
3-star Kermit Whitfield (WR)
2-star Richy Klepel (OL)
3-star Freddie Stevenson (LB/FB)
4-star Ryan Green (RB)
4-star Ja’Von Harrison (WR)
3-star Adam Torres (DT)
4-star Corey Martinez (OG)
4-star Demarcus Christmas (DT)
4-star Jacques Patrick (RB)
5-star George Campbell (WR)
5-star Derwin James (S)
Total Recruits: 38 (24 from 2007–2012)
Projected Average Grade: 3.64
Actual Average Grade: 2.86
Performance/Projection Ratio: 0.79 (below 1.0 is “below expectations”)
The Orlando/Tampa region has been a homerun or strikeout area for the Seminoles. The hits have been smashes, but there are quite a few strikeouts on this list, which brings the actual average down. The 2013 class looks like it will help improve this average, but right now it is too early to tell for sure.
One interesting trend is that all but two of the linemen on this list were busts (exceptions: McAllister and McCray, neither of whom met his potential either), while the skill players on the list almost universally met or exceeded expectations (exceptions: Christian Green and Nick Waisome to date). By all appearances, this looks like a solid area for skill talent while linemen from this area might need a bit more scrutiny.