FSU Football Recruiting: Grading The Entire 2017 Recruiting Class

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Oct 1, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher before the game against the North Carolina Tarheels at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

FSU football recruiting didn’t have a big close on National Signing Day. However, they still signed one of the top classes in the nation.

FSU football went into National Signing Day exactly where you want to be when it comes to the recruiting game.

Programs want to have a large number of students from the class to enroll early. They want the remaining players to be firm in their pledges.

Finally, they want to be in the mix for top talent on the board that remain uncommitted provided they have enough room in that particular class.

FSU had all of those boxes checked, but was only able to convince two of the five targets to come to Tallahassee. It should be noted that all of the remaining targets were recruits from OUTSIDE of the state of Florida.

Two of them were from Texas and the others were from Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia.

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Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) warms up before the game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks

QB

Bailey Hockman

6’2, 190lbs, Powder Springs, GA, ****

QB

James Blackman

6’5, 165lbs, Bell Glades, Florida, ***

Grade-B

FSU football was not able to land an absolute can’t miss QB recruit in this class, but we like what they did here. Bailey Hockman is the son of a football coach that has some physical tools with a high football IQ.

He is also an early enrollee which should help with QB depth. It’s possible that he could surpass JJ Cosentino on the depth chart towards the end of the year unless things change drastically for JJ and he finds confidence from somewhere.

James Blackman has a ton of physical tools, and absolute cannon for an arm. He’s a bit raw compared to Hockman, but has much more upside in my opinion. He’s not an early enrollee which will delay his development compared to Hockman.

Both quarterbacks have the capacity to play with Hockman potentially ready to play earlier with Blackman being more of a game changer if he reaches his potential.

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Nov 26, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) shares a moment with running back Dalvin Cook (4) before the game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs

RB

Cam Akers

5’11, 212lbs, Clinton, Mississippi, *****

RB

Khalan Laborn

5’10, 200lbs, Virginia Beach, Virginia, *****

RB

Zaquandre White

6’0, 210lbs, North Fort Myers, Florida, ****

RB

Deonte Sheffield

5’9, 198lbs, Niceville, Florida, ***

Grade-A+

Oh dear Jesus what a running back class. There are three running backs that are within the top 142 players in the entire country. Two of them are five stars ranked in the top 30 overall players in the nation.

Cam Akers has already enrolled at FSU and will be able to take part in spring practice. So he’ll have an advantage compared to the other backs.  There are some that think he’s more developed than Dalvin Cook coming out of high school.

I heard someone the other day say Laborn reminds them of former Nole Devonta Freeman, and I thought that was applicable.

Zaquandre White could start as a true freshman on just about any team in the ACC. FSU decided to bring Deontre Sheffield onboard out of nowhere. Coach Fisher apparently really likes his skillset.

It’s likely that Coach Fisher will use a running back by committee approach along with Jacques Patrick and Amir Rasul. It’ll be interesting to see how the playing time among all of talented backs is split up.

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Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (80) reacts after making a touchdown in front of Michigan Wolverines safety Dymonte Thomas (25) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Receivers/Tight Ends

WR

D.J. Matthews

5’11, 160lbs, Jacksonville, Florida, ****

WR

Tamorrion Terry

6’4, 208lbs, Ashburn, Georgia, ***

TE

Tre’ McKitty

6’4, 235lbs, Bradenton, Florida, ***

TE

Alexander Marshall

6’7, 240lbs, Bridgton, Maine, ***

Grade-B+

I really like what FSU football did at receiver. They have the best slot receiver in the country in D.J. Matthews, but he’s fast enough to play outside according to Jimbo Fisher. Just an absolute playmaker with the ball in his hands.

Tamorrion Terry is a ultra-talented big body wide receiver that has tons of potential. He can stretch the field vertically with his speed and high point jump balls in the red zone.

The two tight ends FSU brought in will provide ample weapons in the future. Both are athletic with McKitty having excellent speed relative to his size. He’ll cause matchup nightmares for opposing team defenses.

Alexander Marshall played against poor competition but dominated it like he should have. He’s a massive target that could be a real factor in the red zone.

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Nov 11, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles fans cheer their team against the Boston College Eagles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State won 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line

OL

Brady Scott

6’5, 285lbs, Kennesaw, Georgia, ***

LS

Grant Glennon

6’3, 220lbs, Tallahassee, Florida, ***

Grade-C+

FSU football brought in the best offensive line class in the country last recruiting cycle, so there was no need to bring in a ton of linemen this year. There were a couple of offensive linemen that it would have been great for FSU to get, but it wasn’t in the cards as they decided to go elsewhere.

Nevertheless, two players were brought in with Brady Scott and long snapper Grant Glennon. It should be noted that Glennon will likely grayshirt and wait to enroll in 2018 when FSU’s current long snapper has exhausted eligibility.

Scott will surely take a redshirt next season and hit the weight room hard as he prepares to try and make an impact in 2018 or 2019 at the earliest.

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (91) reacts after a sack with defensive end Josh Sweat (9) in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (91) reacts after a sack with defensive end Josh Sweat (9) in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line

DT

Marvin Wilson

6’4, 330, Bellaire, Texas, *****

DE

Joshua Kaindoh

6’6, 250lbs, Bradenton, Florida, *****

DT

Ja’len Parks

6’3, 288lbs, Newberry, Florida, ****

DT

Cory Durden

6’4, 315lbs, Newberry, Florida, ***

DE

Tre Lawson

6’6, 240lbs, North Augusta, South Carolina, ***

Grade-A+

Does anyone remember what happened in 2013? This is a MASSIVE defensive line haul, not to mention senior Derrick Nnadi is coming back for his senior season in 2017.

Marvin Wilson is the No. 1 defensive tackle recruit in the country. Think of him as a Derrick Nnadi junior at this point.

Joshua Kaindoh is arguably the best player in the entire class and has already enrolled at FSU this spring.

Ja’len Parks and Cory Durden are arguably the two best defensive linemen in the state of Florida.

Tre Lawson has incredible length and a good motor as well. These are the types of hauls that give teams a chance to play for a National Championship.

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Nov 11, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Patrick Towles (8) directs traffic before being tackled by Florida State Seminoles linebacker Matthew Thomas (6) during the first quarter at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers

LB

Leonard Warner

6’4, 226lbs, Snellville, Georgia, ****

LB

Adonis Thomas

6’3, 230lbs, Senatobia, Mississipi, ***

LB

DeCalon Brooks

5’11, 197lbs, Tampa, Florida, ***

Grade-B

This would have been an A had FSU been able to seal the deal with four-star Levi Jones. Nevertheless, FSU addressed needs here with Matthew Thomas and Ro’Derrick Nnadi both exhausting their elgibility after 2017.

FSU brought in some talented linebackers in 2016 with Dontavious Jackson and Emmit Rice. Adonis Thomas is a JUCO linebacker that should create immediate depth as he has enrolled for the spring semester.

Leonard Warner is a bruising linebacker that can play sideline-to-sideline and his length will be an asset against spread teams.

When’s the last time FSU has linebackers coming in at this size as true freshman?

DeCalon Brooks is a talented legacy recruit that will probably fill a role similar to Nate Andrews who’s currently on the team.

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Sep 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Derwin James (3) celebrates after a play in the fourth quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Camping World Stadium. Florida State Seminoles won 45-34. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs

CB

Stanford Samuels III

6’2, 175lbs, Hollywood, Florida, ****

S

Cyrus Fagan

6’2, 182lbs, Daytona Beach, Florida, ****

S

Hamsah Nasrildeen

6’3, 210lbs, Concord, North Carolina, ****

CB

Ontaria Wilson

6’0, 160lbs, Ashburn, Georgia, ***

Grade-A

An excellent haul of defensive backs here. Stanford Samuels is a five-star legacy recruit who will likely compete for playing time as a true freshman.

The only thing missing would have been four-star safety Maleik Gray who ultimately decided to stick with his Tennessee commitment.

However, that situation allowed FSU to flip Hamsah Nasrildeen from South Carolina. Some people are calling him Derwin James lite, which isn’t a bad thing. Nasrildeen has the rare ability to play either linebacker or safety and be huge against spread teams with his speed and length covering tons of ground.

Cyrus Fagan is one of the best safeties in the country, a great centerfielder type that can cover tons of ground and extremely long.

Then there’s the unknown recruit in Ontaria Wilson who can out of nowhere to receive a FSU offer along with his high school teammate Tamorrion Terry. However, Wilson looks to be a heck of an athlete would could develop into an excellent player while at FSU.

At the very least he provides needed depth.

Feb 1, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Marvin Wilson talks with the media after signing with the Florida State Seminoles at Episcopal High School. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 1, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Marvin Wilson talks with the media after signing with the Florida State Seminoles at Episcopal High School. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Final Thoughts

This really is an excellent class for FSU football. Actually, let’s take a quick look at this class by the numbers.

  • If Glennon’s removed due to his grayshirt, this class is 52 percent blue chip.
  • Two players ranked in the top 10 overall in the 2017 class are early enrollees (Akers and Kaindoh).
  • There are five players in this class that were the No. 1 player from their respective state.
  • Seven of the players from this class are within the top 100 players overall in the 2017 class.

So, there’s a great deal of elite talent in this class, but the players that are rated three-stars have the potential to be huge contributors. Tamorrion Terry has four-star talent as does James Blackman, Cory Durden Alexander Marshall and Tre Lawson.

There’s an excellent mix of athleticism, size and length in this class on both sides of the ball. This wil allow FSU football to do some creative things on both sides of the ball because of personnel.

Last but not least, this class has excellent depth that will help build upon the last two recruiting cycles.

Could National Signing Day have gone a bit better? Absolutely, it would have been great to land Levi Jones and Henry Ruggs III. However, the staff did an excellent job on the trails and already have a great start to the 2018 recruiting class.

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