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 today with the DMV region: (DC, Maryland, Virginia). This series will hopefully serve as a reminder of what we can realistically expect after FSU signs another class of highly-regarded talent.
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 to be applied in 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.
3-star Jamar Jackson (DE): Injuries prevented Jackson from making any impact before he left the team. Final Grade: 3-star
3-star Zach Hillery (OG): Never qualified academically. Final Grade: 3-star
5-star E.J. Manuel (QB): Manuel led Florida State back to national prominence with bowl game wins over South Carolina, Notre Dame, and an Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois that capped a 12-2 season. He was taken in the first round by the Buffalo Bills. Final Grade: 5-star
5-star Eddie Goldman (DT): Goldman was a quality backup for the first two years he was in Tallahassee. When he got his chance to start he was a force in the middle of the Florida State line during the 2014 season. His performance in the 2014 Clemson game may have saved the season for the Seminoles. Will likely be taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Final Grade: 5-star
5-star Ronald Darby (CB): Darby has been one of the best cornerbacks in college football the last two seasons. Teams refused to throw at him for most of his career. His elite athleticism and speed will likely make him a first or second day pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Final Grade: 5-star
4-star E.J. Levenberry (LB): Levenberry was a quality back up for the last two seasons, but ultimately decided to transfer after receiving little playing time in 2014. Final Grade: 2-star
4-star Derrick Nnadi (DT)
4-star Rick Leonard (DE)
3-star Brock Ruble (OT)
3-star Alec Eberle (C)
5-star Josh Sweat (DE)
Projected Average: 4.17 Stars
Final Average: 2.8 Stars
Performance/Projection Ratio: .67 (Below 1.0 “Below Expectations”)
The 2007 class is the anchor that weighs this class down, but with the way the region has trended since 2008 it could end up as the highest-rated region for Florida State within the next a few years in terms of hit rate. From 2008–2012, Florida State brought in just four players, but over the last year alone Florida State has brought in five, three of which were very highly rated.
Outside of 2007, the players that Florida State has brought in from this region have lived up to their expectations. The three 5-star players the Noles have brought in all left as 5-stars. Only EJ Levenberry failed to meet his expectations. Florida State fans will hope this trend continues, though it’s likely to be more difficult to pull top players out of the DC/Maryland region over the next few years thanks to improvement at Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan.