Bobby Bowden has always been known to close strong on National Signing Day. This year, that wasn't the case. "This year reminded me of an Easter egg hunt," Bowden said, "The past few years, our basket's been half full, and we've had to find some Easter eggs. This year, it was more like your basket is full, so where you gonna put them if you get them? That's' different from the way our recruiting has normally gone. I think a lot of that is because of our organization."
With one of the tougher National Signing Day's for Florida State, Coach Bowden is still looking at the positives of it. "You lose a guy over here you've liked to have had and a guy over there, but you don't worry about the guys you didn't get. I'm more interested in the guys we did get. The way I look at it is that this a group that I don't think we could afford to swap with anybody in the country." said Bowden. "We based a lot of this recruiting on needs. If we don't do that (fill needs), everything else is just secondary. Another thing that was a lot more important to us than in years past is, does this kid have a chance to play for us now? Because for the first three ball game we're gonna have 12 scholarship guys out."
"I think this group has more maturity than we have had in groups past in regards to being able to help us immediately. And they better." Bowden said looking at the three early enrollees (Terrance Parks, Vince Williams and Nigel Bradham). "Not just these guys either, but our entire class."
The defense lost five starters and eight total players due to graduation or the NFL draft this past season. That along with missing eight other players on defense for the first three games made recruiting very important on the defensive side of the ball. "We've got a lot of pretty good football players coming in this year," Said Coach Andrews, "and we're certainly going to need some of them to help this fall."
"Our biggest thing is that we have an outstanding group with potential that can come in and make an impact right now." Andrews said, "We have several guys, without mentioning any names, that will be able to come in and have a chance to start right away. We also have several unique guys at different positions."
"You look at (Terrance) Park, and he doesn't look like a cornerback. But he says he can play it and he has all the physical tools to do so. He played pretty good against Julio (Jones) in that all-star game." said Andrews. "Then you have (Nigel) Bradham, who already is built for this level of football and could probably play about any position on defense. He too has a chance to be special, and (Vince) Williams too. The advantage those three have is a spring to practice and work or and that will do wonders for them. I think Myron Rolle can attest to that. But I'm excited about the entire class we have coming in and can't wait for them all to get here and see what we really got."
As far as the offensive side of the ball, Florida State may have missed out on the nation's top receiver, but brings in an outstanding overall class. "I'm very excited," said offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher of the offensive class, "All these guys ready to come in and contribute as freshman. One thing we wanted to accomplish was that we wanted to increase the size of the team, but not lose that home run threat, and I think we definitely did that."
One position that Jimbo Fisher was extremely excited about was wide receiver. Corey Surrency is one of those players that will be expected to make an immediate impact. "He's a legitimate 6'5", can run and jump and has super ball skills. What separates him from most big guys is that he can drop his weight and run routes like a little guy. Let me tell you guys right now, he's special."
Another player that will line up at wide receiver is Jarmon Fortson who Florida State stole from Auburn just days before signing day. "He can do it. He'll line up at wide out and go catch a ball then over at full back and knock down a linebacker and then go line up at tail back. When you look beside his name, it says football player." boasted Fisher. "He's just a super competitor and he's gonna be an excellent wide out."
The crown jewel of the offensive class is considered by most to be five-star quarterback E.J. Manuel. "I went and watch all of them (quarterbacks) and is E.J. gonna be the best? I don't know. But he's the guy I wanted so we went out and got him." said Fisher. "We wanted a guy with all the athletic tools but also one who can lead and I feel he is that guy so I went out and got him."
After a down year of recruiting, Florida State was able to storm back with a top 5 class despite missing out on several players they hoped to land today. The coaches were more than please with what they are bringing in for this upcoming season. Future head coach Jimbo Fisher couldn't be more excited about the future of the program. "The kids coming here are all ones that want to play for us and kids we feel we can count on to come in an get it done right away. That's what we wanted from this class and that's what we got."