Tony Steward, LB, St. Augustine (Menendez)
Steward has been thought of as a FSU lean for months, but has recently made public comments that he is open to the process. He had a terrific visit at Clemson and has spent time at several other schools. The talented Linebacker is as good of physical specimen as exists in the state; his combination of raw size, power, and speed make him perhaps the top LB in the Southeast. When you have a player of his caliber, we are going to have to fight for him. Are we buying the amount of interest he says he has in other schools? Yes to a certain degree, but in the end he will go where he is the most comfortable and that should be FSU.
Bobby Hart, OL, Fort Lauderdale (St. Thomas)
Hart is generally considered the next player to perhaps "pop" with a commitment(and put some pressure on other OL targets to get on board). The Seminoles landed good friend Rashad Greene two weeks ago and that is big here. Hart has a ton of offers, but it is a really good situation at FSU this year for Offensive Linemen and he is in-state. He would be a prime candidate to earn early playing time, perhaps as quickly as his redshirt freshmen(or true sophomore) year. Hart is very young for his grade age wise, but he is physically mature and he will be coached up this year at STA.
Aaron Lynch, DE, Cape Coral (Island Coast)
FSU hosted the 6'6, 255 pound Lynch yesterday and things went well on that visit. ND had taken an early lead for his services and they still sit in good shape, but FSU, UF, and Clemson have all made a move for the big timer. Lynch is an absolute beast who seems to add five pounds a month to his frame. It would be very tough to find a player with more upside, this is a prospect who probably runs in the 4.75 range at that size. Lynch is still raw, but they simply don't make many like him. He could conceivably play DE, DT, or OT at the next level. FSU has the depth chart and we are in-state, two big factors here.
Projection: In the game at this time
Ray Drew, DE, Thomasville (Thomas County)
Drew is playing the game rather well at this point, no one seems to know exactly what he is thinking at this time. There is certainly interest in FSU, some might even say we held the lead at one point. He came through Tallahassee with his family two weeks ago and things went extremely well on that visit. While he is out of state, Drew is actually closer to FSU than any other player on the list and we have a pair of his former team mates on the roster (Anthony McCloud and DeBrale Smiley). He is viewed as one of the top 10 DEs in the country and similar to Lynch, the opportunity to play early is staring him in the face. UF and Miami have recently tried to jump into the fold and of course there will be heavy SEC interest in Drew.
Projection: Tough to know as Drew is playing the game, the next step is to see how often he gets to Tallahassee in the coming months. FSU in this......somewhere.
Tim Jernigan, DT, Lake City (Columbia)
Is he a Gator lock? Most seem to think so, but that is not entirely the case. Jernigan camped at FSU the past three years and he clearly has more than a passing interest. Jernigan is athletic enough to play DE, but it is inside that his ceiling resides. Jernigan's terrific first step, ability to find the football, and pass rushing skills put him in the elite category not just in Florida, but the country. He can be a one man wrecking crew. While Jernigan is a monster, we do already have two DTs committed and signed perhaps four last year; we also have Lonnie Gosha and Terry Bell on the board. The point is that Jernigan may not be the "need" that Lynch/Drew are, but it sure would be nice to out recruit UF here and Jernigan is generally regarded as the best of the lot.
Projection: Gator as of today, but there is a puncher's chance of turning him.
Why do we call out these five? Simple, if the Noles can land more than three of these five, this class really takes off and starts to become a Top 5 class in the country. This is the elite talent, the kids who many think will line up on Sunday in the future. We are in the game with all five and hold a lead for at least two.
It is a long time until signing day, right now FSU has a very solid class going. While there is plenty of upside in the class today, we need to bring in that big-time talent, the no brainers. Guys who are just physically better than anyone else.
The foundation was laid in 2010 with Jeff Luc, Christian Jones, Lamarcus Joyner, Christian Green, and Greg Dent being some of the top players in the country. Adding similar talent this year would just about complete the re-building process.
These five fit that description and NoleDigest.com will be there to track these players and many more throughout the process.