FSU Offensive Hot Board

Florida State's offense last year looked like they were finally making strides to being like the former Seminole teams after struggling most of this decade. With an improved offense, more playmakers and better coaches, the Seminoles are close to making it back as an elite offense. There are a few missing pieces left to fill, so look for the coaches to fill them with the class of 2010.

Earlier this week NoleDigest looked at the early targets on the defensive side of the ball for the 2010 recruiting class. In 2008 and 2009 the Florida State coaching staff did an absolutely excellent job filling needs and getting the players needed to get the offense clicking again. Continued improvement is expected this season from both the coaches and those watching the team in 2009.

At this time there are a ton of elite level recruits keeping their eyes on the Seminoles heading into the spring and summer. With continued improvements this year there is a good chance we will see some of these top-flight recruits sign with the ‘Noles on Signing Day.

Florida State signed E.J. Manuel in 2008, so signing a quarterback in 2009 wasn't a major focus for the coaching staff. After the position change by D'Vontrey Richardson Coach Fisher decided he needed to bring one in, thus signing Will Secord late in the 2009 process. FSU will look to sign one big-timer in 2010, and here are the early candidates:
  • Jake Heaps- Jake is considered by many to be the number 1 signal caller for the 2010 recruiting class. Coming off a monstrous junior season where he threw for 2,910 yards, 38 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, Heaps has his choice of any school across the nation. Coach Fisher has pegged Jake as his top target and made him the first recruit at this position he offered this year. When the offer came through Jake had his top 10 set in place, but he quickly opened it back up due to his desire to look into the Seminole program. Tuesday night Jake told NoleDigest that he has heavy interest in FSU and that a visit will come soon. FSU is going to battle the big time schools out west for Heaps.

  • Phillip Sims- Phillip is the latest Virginia quarterback to emerge onto the recruiting scene. What separates him from Tyrod Taylor and the others from that area is that he is more of a pro-style quarterback. As a junior he led Oscar Smith to an undefeated season and a state title. In that title game he set a record throwing for 6 touchdown passes, and on the season he threw for 37 total. FSU recently offered Sims, so look for their recruitment to pick up for him soon. Right now there are no favorites for Phillip, as he is saying he is open to the process at this time.

  • Jeffery Godfrey- Godfrey may be the top signal caller in Florida this year. As a junior he threw for 2,126 yards, 26 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has a live arm and understands offenses being a coach's son. The biggest knock on Godfrey is that he lacks prototypical size; he's right at 6' tall and weighs 180 pounds. FSU offered early but some think he's the perfect fit for Rich Rodriguez and his Michigan offense.

  • Nick Montana- Nick was another quarterback who received a very early offer from FSU. One of Montana's biggest attributes is his bloodlines, as we all know who his father is. The Oaks Christian standout relies on a decent arm, good vision and technique. Right now FSU sits grouped together with a bunch of other programs being considered by Nick. NoleDigest feels there isn't much of a shot at this time that Montana will be a Nole.

  • Brandon Doughty- Brandon isn't the national recruit like the other four on this list, but he's one of the top in-state players Florida has this year. Brandon doesn't have offers at this point, but he is a recruit FSU, and many others, will follow this upcoming season.

Running Back
Besides wide receiver this may be the most talented-filled position on the board. There are a ton of recruits the Seminoles are looking at right now, and frankly the ‘Noles will score with any of the ones they sign. Right now here are the top targets heading into the spring:

  • Marcus Lattimore- When the NCAA ruling came out, it looked like FSU had zero shot with the nation's top running back. After a long talk with Jimbo Fisher, Lattimore got the clearance he needed and has put FSU back towards the top of his list of schools he's looking at. Marcus has excellent size as he is 6' 210, and he is a very capable pass catcher out of the backfield. Lattimore doesn't have 4.3 speed, but he has stellar vision, patience and great football speed, meaning once he gets to the second level he usually takes it to the house. Marcus will be recruited by every school in the nation; therefore FSU will be in a fierce battle with several schools. At this juncture it looks like South Carolina, Alabama and North Carolina will be the toughest competitors for the ‘Noles.

  • Eduardo Clements- It is hard to say who is the more highly talked about player at this spot right now: Lattimore or Clements. Eduardo has made it known for almost a year now that the Seminoles are his favorite team. While other programs offered quickly, FSU waited until March to extend the offer. Clements struggled some as junior mostly due to a weak offense line and a lack of creativity from his coaching staff. Many feel that we'll see the Clements of 2007 this year, and if we do, look out because not many will be better than him. Publicly Clements says Georgia is still his leader, but in the end NoleDigest feels Clements will be a Nole. Most likely this will not go all the way to Signing Day.

  • Brandon Gainer- It is flat out sick how many talented running backs are in south Florida this year. Brandon is one of the best of the bunch as he was a primary focus for Miami-Central as a junior. Last fall he was first team All-Dade and 2nd team All-State after rushing for nearly 1,700 yards and 17 scores. Brandon is a physical runner and he gets north and south pretty quickly. What keeps him from being the top back at this stage is Clements is more versatile in the passing game. FSU has offered and he's said they're his favorite.

  • Giovanni Bernard- Bernard has good bloodlines as his brother Yvenson starred for Oregon State a few years ago. Gio was an integral part of St.Thomas Aquinas' run to the 5A state title last year. Bernard is the smallest of this group, but he is compact and tightly wound. He has excellent burst through the line, and he has top-flight balance and vision. A ton of schools have offered Bernard so far, so right now it is too early to get a feel on his recruitment at this time.

  • Ken Malcolme- Ken is a big, bruising back. The Decatur standout fits the bill in what the Seminoles are looking for as he has great size and runs downhill. Malcome said early on that FSU was his favorite, and while that still is the case, he told us earlier this week that he's more open to the process than some think. FSU will recruit him hard along with the rest of this group.

Tight End
Signing a playmaking tight end may be the biggest need on the offensive side of the ball for FSU in 2010. The ‘Noles have 3 scholarship tight ends this year, but going into 2010 they'll only have Bo Reliford and Ja'Baris Little on the roster. Coach Coley has been offering players from all over the nation, but here are the top 5 right now:

  • Xavier Grimble- Xavier has elite size. The Bishop Gorman standout averaged nearly 25 yards per reception last year. Several programs like Grimble's ability to get down the field, as well as his ability to be a dominating blocker from his end spot. Xavier is looking at USC, Oklahoma, Florida, FSU and many other programs at this time. In an update earlier this week Xavier told NoleDigest that the Noles will be apart of his recruitment, so will see what happens if/when he makes a visit.

  • Brian Vogler- As we go down this list one of the biggest commonalities between these recruits is that they all have great size at this stage. Brian stands right at 6'7 ½" and weighs 240 pounds. What makes him tough to stop is that he has decent speed, thus creating match-up problems with linebackers and safeties. Once Brian gets stronger he could be a dominating tight end.

  • Gerald Christian- Coach Coley really likes Gerald as a prospect, but simply put it looks like this one will join teammate Matt Elam as a Florida commitment.

  • Christian Thomas- Thomas will battle Grimble for the honor of being the highest rated tight end out west for 2010. Thomas is more of a pass catching tight end at this stage, but he does show the capability to be an effective blocker. Right now Thomas has interest in FSU, but they sit outside his top 3 of USC, Cal and UCLA. There is talk that he intends on staying out west for college.

  • Nate Askew- Out of this group Nate is the best pass catcher right now. At 6'4" 210 pounds Nate is being recruited as both a tight end and wide receiver, but his frame shows he'll grow into a full time end on the next level. As a junior Askew had 51 catches for 856 yards and 8 touchdowns. With 4.6 speed and a 34 inch vert, Askew is explosive and is a tough match-up for smaller defenders. This week he came out and said Georgia was his favorite, but did mention that FSU is in his top 5.

Wide Receiver
This is a great year in-state for wide receivers, and there are several others across the nation that are garnering interest from top level BCS programs. FSU signed two great ones in 2009 in Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead, and this year there is talk the coaches would like to add 2 slot guys to add to the group. There have been a ton of early offers, but here are the names mentioned thus far into the recruiting cycle:

  • DeJoshua Johnson- DeJoshua Johnson is one of the top playmakers regardless of position in the 2010 class. Last year Johnson moved to quarterback to help his team, thus the reason for him having 500 yards receiving last year. As the team's signal caller Johnson led Pahokee to another state title. At this stage the Pahokee standout shows excellent burst and acceleration, and he is a good route runner for a player who plays several positions. When he is in space, DeJoshua makes people like ridiculous. It is that playmaking ability the Seminoles are going for. At time DJ is going through the whole process, but the ‘Noles will be awfully tough to beat when it comes decision time.

  • Chris Dunkley- Chris is an electrifying recruit for 2010. he has the capability to line up in the slot, as well as lining up out wide as a flanker. Dunkley has standout acceleration and shows constant ability to separate from his man. The recruitment of Dunkley could be interesting. Early on he was considered a Florida lean, but since then he has backed off of that and opened things up to schools all over the nation. FSU is a program to keep an eye on due to his relationship with DeJoshua Johnson.

  • Markeith Ambles- Ambles is the top receiver in the South according to Scout.com. Right now FSU trails several other programs, but this is a recruit the staff likes.

  • Solomon Patton- Patton grew up a fan of FSU, and he was in town earlier this month for a visit. After all of that talk around recruiting circles is that Patton may commit to UF soon.

Editors Note: Look for Christian Green to be recruited as a receiver. With that said there are numerous players here who'll be recruited: Fred Pickett, Jazz King, Terrance Brooks, Kenny Shaw, Josh Reese and B.J. Chitty are just a few of them.

Offensive Line
The Seminoles had two greyshirts come in with the class of 2009 in Garret Faircloth and Blake Snider. With Bryan Stork coming in 2010 offensive line is spot where Coach Trickett can pick and choose his guys. As always look for FSU to sign a few here to add to depth.

  • Ed Christian- The Seminole commitment jumped on the offer when it came from Coach Trickett. Ed told NoleDigest upon his commitment that he'll be playing left tackle for the Seminoles.

  • Brandon Linder- Linder is the most technically sound lineman in the state for 2010. Brandon is an offensive line recruit who has the capability to play all 5 positions along the line. As a sophomore Brandon was the starting center and made All-Broward County. As a junior Linder moved to tackle and earned All-State. Coach Trickett likes multi-dimensional linemen, and Linder is one of the best. FSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida, LSU and a host of other programs are being mentioned by Brandon at this time.

  • Chaz Green- Green is a big, agile lineman who stands 6'6" and 290 pounds. Green has excellent feet and moves well for his size. Whereas many players that big on this level move slow and can't move well, Green gets out and run blocks well. At first FSU wasn't being mentioned with Chaz, and then they offered. We'll learn more about Green's interest after his visit this weekend to FSU's Junior Day.

  • Damien Robinson- The Olive Branch, MS star is a mammoth offensive line recruit. At 6'8" and 330 pounds Robinson is still growing into his frame and is working on his coordination. Damien's high school coach compares him to several former players who made it to the NFL, so that bodes well for Robinson. After signing Aubrey Phillips last year FSU hopes to keep that line going in 2010. Early reports are Mississippi, Mississippi State, Auburn and LSU are among the programs FSU will go head to head with.

  • Eric Mack- Eric comes from Calhoun County in St. Matthews, SC. Mack is a 6'5" 290 pound lineman who can play both guard and tackle. FSU recently got in on Eric and offered, which was a surprise because FSU hadn't been showing a ton of interest leading up to the offer. FSU will get a visit from Eric, and some feel the offer puts the Seminoles up on Mack's list. The in-state schools will be tough to beat.

Editors Note: Just like wide receiver, there have been a lot offers sent to linemen already. There are numerous options here: Nick Demien, T.J. Leifheit, Matt James, Wes Rea, James Hurst, Chase Lafferty and A.J. Cann.

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