Dec 31, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher reacts after quarterback Sean Maguire (not pictured) threw an interception in the third quarter against Houston Cougars in the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome. The Cougars won 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
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The rich got richer as FSU football put the finishing touches on another remarkable recruiting class on Wednesday, blending stars with underrated prospects.
The Marvin Wilsons and Cam Akers of the world are always going to headline a recruiting class, as they should. The FSU football staff did a great job at reeling in the big fish for the 2017 class. However, not every signee is going to come with the accolades of the aforementioned players.
Jimbo Fisher and staff have a track record of identifying underrated talents, such as Cam Erving and Devonta Freeman . Some have even dubbed FSU “Free Scouting University” due to major programs offering sleepers shortly after FSU does. Let’s take a look at some of the underrated signees from the 2017 class.
Dec 31, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detailed view of Florida State Seminoles helmet on the sidelines before a game against the Houston Cougars in the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Zaqaundre White: Running Back, North Fort Myers, FL
As a composite four-star and the number seven player at his position, it may seem silly to some to call Zaquandre White underrated. I think White’s ranking is fair, but he’s underrated by fans as he’s often overlooked because FSU signed two backs ranked ahead of him. Let that sink in, a top ten back in the country is ranked the third best in FSU’s 2017 class.
At 6’0 210 lbs, White already has the requisite size for a college running back. White’s senior film speaks for its self with jaw dropping run after jaw dropping run featuring a refusal to go down at initial contact, complimented with 4.5 speed.
FSU signed a trio of absolute studs at running back in 2017. The last two seasons Dalvin Cook has dominated the carries, and for good reason. However, Jimbo Fisher has expressed his desire to rotate and keep his running backs fresh. Between Akers, Laborn, and White he should be able to do just that with little to no drop off in production.
Aug 30, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; The Florida State Seminoles cheerleaders take the field before the start of the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Alexander Marshall: Tight End, Bridgton, ME
Alexander Marshall is a large human-being. The 6’7 240 lb three-star tight end towers over the competition he faced in Maine. In fact if it weren’t for the competition (or lack thereof) that Marshall faced in high school, I believe Marshall would easily be a composite four-star.
Marshall possesses unique athleticism and coordination for an athlete of his size. At times on Marshall’s tape it looks like he is on the field playing against a bunch of children. FSU tight ends coach Tim Brewster has referred to Marshall as “Baby Gronk”, that’s high praise and high expectations.
With two upper-classman tight ends on the roster, Marshall will have time to fill out his frame and adjust to the jump in competition before he is needed on the field for FSU football. With time to add weight, Marshall can be a great factor in both the run game as a blocker and the passing game as a receiving tight end.
Nov 29, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles mascot Chief Osceola rides Renaeade on to the field prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State Seminoles defeated Florida Gators 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Ontaria Wilson: Cornerback, Ashburn, GA
Ontaria Wilson was virtually an unknown in the recruiting world. That is, until Free Scouting University came in with an offer in January. Wilson jumped on the offer immediately and became the second cornerback in FSU’s class. Wilson checks in at six foot tall, possessing the size that the Seminoles covet from their cornerbacks.
Playing in rural Georgia, Wilson didn’t get much exposure through-out his high school career. Despite the lack of exposure or a recruiting ranking, the FSU staff saw something in Wilson and when watching the prospects film, it’s easy to see why he received an offer.
When the offer first came, many theorized it was a ploy to sign Wilson’s teammate Tamorrion Terry, but one look at the tape and that theory can be debunked. Wilson is a very athletic player that has the potential to be another great find by Jimbo Fisher.
Nov 29, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles mascot Chief Osceola prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Cory Durden: Defensive Tackle, Newberry, FL
Durden is the lower-ranked of the two defensive tackles FSU football signed from Newberry, FL in 2017. Despite the three-star billing, Durden is a big get for the Noles, right out of the rival Gators backyard. Durden checks in at a formidable 6’4 316 lbs and possesses athleticism not often seen for a defensive tackle.
Similar to FSU’s haul at running back, you are in business when your third highest rated defensive tackle is someone with the potential of Cory Durden. With the defensive tackles currently on the roster, plus the two peers of Durden, FSU has the luxury of not needing Durden to contribute right away.
Odell Haggins is one of the best defensive tackles coach in all of college football and he has to be salivating at the opportunity to coach a player like Durden. The defensive tackle rotation is remarkable for FSU now, and it might just get better with players like Durden coming down the line.
Nov 30, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles helmet on the field prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tamorrion Terry: Wide Receiver, Ashburn, GA
Terry is the most underrated player in FSU’s 2017 class and a teammate of aforementioned underrated signee Ontaria Wilson. As it did Wilson, the rural nature of Turner County led to Tamorrion Terry flying under the radar. It certainly wasn’t his talent level that allowed him to go largely unnoticed.
Terry is a big receiver at 6’4 208 lbs with a great combination of size, speed, and overall athleticism. If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch Terry’s senior film, I recommend you do so immediately as it’s thoroughly entertaining. Terry is a smooth athlete with speed to separate and excellent ball skills.
Due to attrition FSU is now in a hairy situation when it comes to wide receivers. While the Noles were not able to land Henry Ruggs or Devonta Smith, Terry has the potential to be just as good as both, if not better.