NoleDigest Roundtable II

Mack, Fish, and Nate offer their thoughts on three different topics. Assessing the 2009 recruiting class, looking at Florida State's strengths and weaknesses, and proposing a plan for football players and academics.

Assess FSU's 2009 recruiting class.

Mack- Florida State is off to an excellent start. Recruiting is a marathon and not a sprint though. FSU must finish strong but you have to love the start. Recently WR Willie Haulstead made a commitment to the Seminoles. Haulstead is a big receiver (6'3) with good speed (4.5). DE Ed Stinson is one of the best defensive players in the state. S Gerald Demps helps the situation at safety. DE Brandon Jenkins is a talented player that has yet to fulfill his potential. RB Chris Thompson is a quick, elusive back that runs with authority. LB CJ Mizell is a big time player that will contribute next year. S Jajuan Harley is one of the best safeties in the country. WR/S Willie Downs is probably the top player in Tallahassee. DT Jacobbi McDaniel is one of the best players in the country that will contribute immediately.

Fish- One thing FSU has needed to do a better job of is recruiting the state of Florida. Add in some Georgia kids and the class should be great. FSU biggest problem over the past 5-6 years is landing half a class outside of Florida. This year alone 8 of the 9 prospects committed to them are from Florida. Then you take a look at those prospects and FSU is landed the top guys at their position. Jenkins and Stinson are two of the top three defensive ends in Florida this year. Add to that they lead for Ryne Giddens. That would give them the top three guys at a position of need. Then you look at the safety position. The Seminoles needed to hit that position hard. They got one of the top guys in Florida (Harley and possibly Downs), are one of the leaders for another (Starling) and have guys like John Scott ready to pull the trigger for them. Landing guys at position of need have been a problem for the Seminoles. That does not seem like the case this year. FSU is off to a phenomenal start. Demps, Stinson, Jenkins, Haulstead, Downs, Thompson, Mizell, Harley and McDaniel, you must be kidding me. This looks like potentially FSU best class on paper in the past ten years.

Nate- FSU's 2009 class is off to a great start. The coaches probably couldn't ask for much better than where they're at now. Florida State needed defensive linemen and safeties, and they have hit those spots hard with Jacobbi McDaniel, Brandon Jenkins, Ed Stinson, JaJuan Harley and Gerald Demps. They've landed two big time playmakers in Willie Downs, who is the top wide-out in the panhandle for 2009, and the newest commitment in Willie Haulstead, who is one of the top 30 wide receiver in the nation. If C.J. Mizell gets the off-the-field stuff right, the coaches have a gem at linebacker. FSU's class should only get better, and they are on pace for a top 5 class. The best part about it is that 8 of the 9 players are in-state kids.

5 star DT Jacobbi McDaniel

What is FSU's biggest weakness right now? Strength?

Mack- The biggest weakness right now on the team is the lack of depth at defensive tackle and at defensive back. The loss of Letroy Guion to the NFL was big. FSU needs Moses McCray to ready to play. After the first team defensive backfield who have great individual talent, there is a huge drop-off. FSU needs incoming players (Parks, Alexander, Moody, Imeokparia) to be ready to compete for playing time.

FSU's strength right now is at receiver or linebacker. With Carr, Goodman, Owens, Easterling, Reed, and eventually Parker still on campus that's a solid group. When you add Corey Surrency, Jarmon Fortson, and Avis Commack it becomes even stronger. At linebacker, Florida State has the deepest group of LB's in the ACC and can match up with any team in the country.

Nate- Of the several, I think one of the biggest weaknesses of the team has to be at safety. Right now the coaches have 3 guys with big-time experience in Myron Rolle, Darius McClure and Jamie Robinson. Robinson's transition during the spring keeps this position from being an utter nightmare for the Noles. For FSU it is these 3 and no one else. Rod Roberts is a walk-on who showed he could play some minutes, and Roosevelt Lawson is another walk-on who'll be depended on. Not a good a situation. The biggest strength for FSU will be at wide receiver. While it looks like Preston Parker will miss just a few games, the Seminoles learned this spring that they have young guys who can come in and make plays in 2008. Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling came on this spring, but they have to get more consistent catching the ball. Richard Goodman was doing well before the injury, and Greg Carr adds the potential for the big play. With Rod Owens healthy and the 2008 kids coming in (Corey Surrency, Jarmon Fortson and Avis Commack), look for the options to be plenty. When Parker comes back, the potential line-up of Parker, Surrency and Carr could be lethal in a 3 wide set. If Reed and Easterling can carry over their good springs, FSU will be in good shape.

Fish- Lack of play makers. There are a few guys on both sides of the football that have the potential to be play makers but none of them have stepped up. FSU needs someone on both sides of the football that could change the momentum of a game on one play. The strength of FSU team will most likely be at receiver or linebacker. Both positions have not only talent but depth as well.

If you could propose a plan to FSU as far as academics and football players what would it be?

Mack- Florida State has a solid plan already in place. If I were to propose a plan the first thing I would do is have all of the first and second year players stay on campus. In their third year if they have over a 2.7 GPA they can move off of campus. I would also make a rule that if you miss a class then the whole team gets punished as a result of your actions. If a player continues to miss class then that player will be suspended. I would also make every player take study hall together. Lastly, I would also have the teachers send weekly progress reports to the academic support staff.

Fish- Honestly, I think FSU should take fewer kids that are academic risks in the first place. At some point you have to start recruiting better kids. In 2006 FSU landed over 10 kids with academic problems. It is no surprise to see that many of those were involved in FSU recent academic scandal. You can take a risk here or there but at the end of the day taking too many prospects with grade issues will come back and bite you in the :)

Nate- It seems as though the players at FSU have free reign with what they can do. While it is micro managing, I think the administration at FSU needs to go back to basics. Mandatory study hall, with the players signing in and out would be my first implementation. I think that the person running it needs to not have any ties to the program at all, someone within the administration to hold the players and coaches accountable for the team. If players have good grades, there should be a reward like not having to attend a mandated amount of study sessions.

While attendance is "expected", let's get real. It is college. The professors need to have a better relationship with the coaches, letting them know what is going on with players. Set a guideline to how many classes the players can miss. Say it is 3. You miss more than 3 classes; you're suspended from the team. While it may seem drastic, the situation at FSU is in shambles. More accountability from the top to the bottom needs to be established.

I am not familiar with the details that these players face with their expectations from the school and coaches, but it seems like these kids aren't being watched like they should. While some of it falls on these players, the "adults" need to force the situation. Strictness needs to be paramount right now, and these players shouldn't be given an inch. When improvement is seen, then maybe the players can regain some freedom from being watched all the time in what they're doing. To be honest, the best thing that could happen is to make all of the players live together. But that probably won't happen.

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