In 2003, FSU and Clemson offered some of the same players, and went up against each other for two current players in David Overmeyer and DeCody Fagg. At the time FSU was in need of lineman, and they were able to beat out Clemson and a host of others for the Georgia standout. In Fagg, FSU landed one of the biggest wide outs in the south for the 2003 class. The Quincy Shanks star was looking at several SEC schools, as well as Clemson, but he decided to stay home a play for his childhood favorite.
2004 say FSU and Clemson's on-field performances began o even out, but the recruiting for Noles was still able to get the better of Clemson in the battle for the same players. Xavier Lee was an all-everything recruit coming out of Daytona-Seabreeze, and a guy who was considered a can't miss player who left high school owing all of the major records in Florida high school history. As he has continued to struggle to win the quarterback battle, it was still a great get for the Noles. Tony Carter was a tad underrated coming out of Jacksonville, and it was these underrated Florida kids that Clemson has made a killing off of. There is no debating the payoff Carter has been for the Noles since he signed out of high school.
2005 saw the struggles at FSU beginning to come to light, especially when they went through the shellacking in Death Valley. Also Clemson began to take that on-field success and translate it into winning recruiting battles over the Noles. The 2005 class was a success for both programs, as both were in contention for a number of players. Clemson was able to beat FSU, and a host of others, for the signature of James Davis. The Atlanta area standout has been a major contributor to the Clemson program. Josh Miller, a linebacker from Manning, SC was a kid that then linebacker coach Kevin Steele went after, but was almost a near lock to stay in state. FSU was really impressed with Miller coming out of high school, but they were never able to land a visit to impress the Manning High standout.
It wasn't all a wash for the Noles in the 2005 class. Maybe the biggest coup for the Noles was landing Jamie Robinson, who was considered one of the top 2 players in the state as a senior. FSU was able to stay on the big-time corner and shock the in-state schools when he signed for the Noles. Other out-of-state kids that FSU was able to land were Derek Nicholson, a linebacker from Winston-Salem North Carolina and Matt Dunham, the record holding running back from Columbus, Georgia. Nicholson was almost a lock to become a Nole with his brother being a player, and FSU was able to secure the commitment from Dunham early in the process. Three players were from Florida in Antone Smith, Geno Hayes and Rod Owens. Smith and Hayes look to contend for All-ACC honors this year, while Owens is still getting back from injuries. All 3 off these players were some of the best in the state of Florida for the 2005 class.
2006 saw Clemson win its 3rd game out of 4 against FSU, and the recruiting battles heating up between the two. Myron Rolle was the top overall athlete and according to some the top overall player in the 2006 class. While Clemson was not in it in the end, FSU was able to beat a host of school to land the potential All-American candidate. Dekoda Watson was a kid who was under the radar that burst onto the scene after a dominating Shrine Bowl. FSU was able to turn the heat up late on him and steal him from the in-state schools. Daron Rose, Ochuko Jenije, and Marcus Sims were Florida standouts that were never really going to go anywhere else but FSU.
Clemson probably landed the biggest shock of the recruiting battles when superstar running back C.J. Spiller spurned the Noles and Gators to play for the Tigers. There is no debating that the coaching at FSU had a part in the decision for Spiller, but it was still a major blow to the program. Antonio Clay committed to almost every school he visited, including FSU, but signed with Clemson on signing day. Some thought FSU had a legitimate shot to land Ricky Sapp, but Clemson was able to keep him home, which was a blow because of FSU's need of defensive ends. Byron Maxwell was a standout corner from South Carolina, but just as Sims and Rose were never going to leave the state, Maxwell was never going to go anywhere else. Two players that Clemson was able to land from the state of Florida were Chris Chancellor and DeAndre McDaniel. FSU did not offer these kids for several reasons; FSU liked other kids at corner and McDaniel was not going to qualify.
Coming off of the 2007 season, FSU made wholesale changes to the staff after a terrible 7-6 season that saw the worst season in 30 years under Bobby Bowden. Off the field FSU was able to handle Clemson in recruiting, as they landed several players Clemson went after. Brandon Paul, Antwane Greenlee and Jatavious Jackson were all offensive players that FSU needed and were able to secure after the coaching changes. Jamar Jackson was a top 10 player from Virginia that considered several schools. As for Clemson, the only loss for the Noles was Marcus Gilchrist, a suburb athlete who looks to be a contributor to Clemson sooner rather than later.
Moving forward to the 2007-2008 season, it seems like the importance of this individual match-up is paramount. FSU was able to beat Clemson for the services of Nigel Bradham, Nigel Carr, C.J. Holton and Travis Arnold. British Footman was never offered. Clemson was able to beat out FSU at the need position of offensive line when they got an early commitment from A.J. Harmon. There are several players left on the board, though.
Jamie Harper is a superstar running back from Jacksonville, FL. Rumors are he is favoring Clemson after favoring the Noles early on. It is important for FSU to show on-field production. It looks like this head-to-head match-up is just getting started. Dalton Freeman is a big-time lineman who liked the Noles as a kid. Brandon Thompson's recruitment has been confusing lately in terms of favorites. The one time heavy Clemson lean seems to be looking around more, but it is still up in the air if FSU is still being considered. Everette Dawkins, Robert Quinn and Quinton Coples are all kids that can potentially be impressed with a dominating performance this Monday versus Clemson. Can FSU turn it around on the field and get it done versus the Tigers? Throughout the 6 year struggle for FSU, they have still been able to recruit. If they can get it done versus Clemson, they may be able to separate themselves more on the recruiting trail from the Tigers.