Analyzing FSU Recruiting 2002-2006 Part Two

As the 2007 season approaches, the new staff brings renewed vigor & expectations to the FSU program both on & off of the field. The years 2002-06 have been a very trying time for FSU & fans due to a number of things, mainly coaching & recruiting. NoleDigest takes an in-depth look at the recruiting classes for 2002-06 & discusses the impact they had on the performance of the Noles during that era.

Breaking it down

From 2002-2006, Florida State signed 122 kids. 39 of those, or 32%, can be considered misses for an assortment of reasons (which we will breakdown later). 17 players, or 14%, can be considered hits. The remaining 68 players (54%), many of which are still on the roster, can go either way. Therefore, the perception can still be changed of the recruiting for Florida State during this 6 year span.

It is easy to see that from 2002-2006 FSU had a lot of misses with recruiting. The seven causes for the misses are injury, grades, transfer, bust, kicked off, quit and baseball. Like the class breakdowns showed, there were a lot of important positions that suffered for the Noles. A total of seven guys ended up injured. Hopefully that is something that is going to change with the new Strength and Conditioning coach Todd Stroud.

The biggest loss of players was due to grades. An astonishing 12 players just could not qualify, with the biggest hit coming in the 2003 class. It is no coincidence that the 2003 class saw the first class for the Noles that lacked in overall talent. In 2007 and beyond, fans have seen FSU go after high quality kids, but they are taking fewer risks. Examples are John Brown and Torrey Davis in 2007. While they still qualified, it was a chance the coaches were willing to take, wanting kids who were guarantees to qualify.

Nine guys transferred to other universities during the 2002-2006 time spans. While many of these kids never really realized their potential, 3 of the players were hits to the FSU program. Aaron Jones was a beast coming out of high school, but he couldn't shake the injury bug and got buried in the depth chart. He is a guy who could have provided depth to a major position of need. Brandon Warren was a big-time coup for the Noles. His story is no secret, and it has left a very bitter taste in the mouths of the FSU faithful. Clarence Ward was considered a big-time safety when he signed with FSU. For some reason he went right to Coach Andrews' dog house. This is a prospect that could be beneficial to the Noles at a position that is extremely thin on depth and talent.

While FSU hasn't had the problems of other schools in the south, they still have had 7 kids booted off of the team. Clifton Dickson was going to be an All-American defensive tackle, but he made the erroneous decision to break the law. This is possibly the biggest hit to the defensive tackle spot other than Callahan Bright never making it. Fred Rouse was discussed earlier. If he can continue to turn his life around at UTEP, he may be able to realize his all-world potential. Guys like Kenny O'Neal and Matt Hardrick are guys who were dominating in high school, but problems at FSU. Jhermaine McAroy, Cornelius Lewis and Joe Manning were considered reached from the time they signed, and them being removed from the program compounds the error in their recruitment. The other reasons are not as influential as these 4 discussed.

There are 4 topics often discussed in the media and between fans on message boards when it comes to the current state of the Noles: playmakers, offensive and defensive line depth and safety play. Looking at the position breakdown of losses for the Noles it's easy to see why these areas can be considered concerns.

FSU has taken a devastating hit of 9 players defensive tackles just not doing what was expected. FSU recruited the best of the best at this position, but guys just couldn't make the grades or stay healthy. Dickson and Bright are guys you can look at and shake your head with what could have been. The offensive line has seen four guys not make it, showing the questionable coaching and recruiting at that position that has often been a heated topic on message boards.

FSU has a few playmakers at the receiver position, but having guys like Dishon Platt, Fred Rouse and Kenny O'Neal not making it during the 2002-2006 era can be looked at as a reason for poor offensive performance. These 3 guys were expected to due huge things. O'Neal is now at Tennessee and Platt is living in Punta Gorda, Florida having never realized his all-world talent.

Defensive backs and linebacker have each seen 6 guys not make it. Most of the hits the linebackers have taken are due to grades. There is not a concern with depth at this position, but it is a bit eye-popping seeing the misses the Noles have had. The defensive back position has seen guys like J.R. Bryant and Trevor Ford not pan out, and hits to the safety position with Ward. These 3 guys were talented enough to play both safety and corner.

Looking at the Future

With the new staff at FSU, may expect a change for the Noles both on the field and off of it. The 2008 recruiting class is already off to a fantastic start with the number one quarterback in E.J. Manuel and the number one linebacker in Nigel Bradham committed. There are a number of other top targets the Noles are after in Julio Jones, Matt Patchan, Deion Walker, Darrell Scott, Brandon Thompson, T.J. Bryant, etc. If the on-field performance is there, there's no reason why the Noles cannot land several of their targets. The reputations of Jimbo Fisher, Rick Trickett, Lawrence Dawsey and Chuck Amato as great recruiters are there. If the Noles get it done in the games, look out.

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