FSU is coming off what was viewed as a solid 2008 class. They received production from Jermaine Thomas, Jarmon Fortson, Andrew Datko, Nigel Bradham, Corey Surrency, and Markus White. FSU redshirted E.J. Manuel. Their big needs in 2009 where overall upgrading the talent level, the DL, and some bigger WR's.
2009 FLORIDA TALENT(13): RB Lonnie Pryor, RB Chris Thompson, WR Rodney Smith, WR Willie Haulstead, OG Henry Orelus, OL Bryan Stork, DE Brandon Jenkins, DT Jacobbi McDaniel, DT Demonte McAllister, LB C.J. Mizell, S Jajuan Harley, S/WR Willie Downs, DB/WR Xavier Rhodes
FSU hit a home run in the Sunshine State. They locked down the 'Big Bend' Area for some big-time talent. Mcdaniel, Downs, Mizell, and Thompson are headlining talent. FSU went to Tampa for McAllister and went to Dade for Smith and Rhodes. You won't find a better 1-2 punch at DT in the nation. Many believe that Mizell is the best LB in the Southeast. Jimbo got his 'big' WR's in Smith, Haulstead, and perhaps Downs or Rhodes. FSU is real young on the OL, thus it was not a need, but these two in-staters have plenty of potential. Perhaps, the biggest gem however is under-rated Lonnie Pryor. He is a workhorse back who flat produces. It won't surprise to see him getting a lot of reps from Day One.
FSU landed headliner Greg Reid who was nothing short of fantastic during the week of the Under Armour game in Orlando. Big-time pull for the Garnett and Gold. FSU needed a QB for depth and came in at the 11th hour and swooped up Will Secord. Bobby Petrino has a great track record with identifying QB's, Secord had been to committed to play for Petrino at Arkansas. FSU landed two nice out of state offensive linemen. Also, they received LOI's from two Safeties(Demps and Bright) from states FSU recruits well(SC and GA). FSU picked up legacy Dan Hicks mid day as another TE.
ONES THAT GOT AWAY
Gary Brown: Despite landing two of the top three DT''s in the state......this was the third and he was in FSU's backyard. Despite an early commitment to UF, Brown was thought to be one player that FSU could turn. It never happened.
Jawanza Starling: The second year in a row where former pipeline Lincoln sent their best prospect elsewhere. Over the years FSU has taken many marginal Lincoln prospects to secure the 'Headliner', and back to back misses has to leave a sour taste in their mouth. When he chose USC, that made it two years in a row where the top Lincoln prospect spurned FSU for USC. Is the pipeline busted or just in need of repair?
TELL ME WHY
The Second DE: This seems to be the spot where FSU comes up one player shy every year. Yes, they had Ed Stinson, but he has been gone for months. They recruited Vernon and Dye hard, but those were uphill battles the whole way. They needed one here.
GRADE: A-. FSU did what they had to do. They locked down the local talent, were active in Dade, and signed the big WR's that Jimbo was looking for. The hole at DT should be solved with McDaniel and McAllister. Downs showed at the Army All-American game just what a special talent he can be. Greg Reid brings a big-time play-maker in the mold of Buckley and Sanders to the mix, great pull. Lonnie Pryor is a tremendous athlete with a great work ethic. All things considered, this is a great class for FSU.
TWO YEAR HAUL
QB(1): E. J. Manual, Will Secord
RB(5): Jermaine Thomas, Carlton Jones, Tavares Pressley, Lonnie Pryor, Chris Thompson
FB(1): Ja'Baris Little
WR(7): Corey Surrency, Jarmon Fortson, Avis Commack, Joshua Gehres, A.J. Alexander, Rodney Smith, Willie Haulstead
TE(1): Bo Reliford, Dan Hicks
OL(9): Andrew Datko, Zebrie Sanders, Rhonne Sanderson, Jacob Stanley, David Spurlock, Henry Orelus, John Prior, Bryan Stork, Aubrey Phillips
DE(4): Markus White, Everett Dawkins, Toshman Stevens, Brandon Jenkins
DT(3): Moses McCray, Jacobbi McDaniel, Demonte McAllister
LB(4): Nigel Bradham, Nigel Carr, Vincent Williams, C.J. Mizell
CB(2): Terrance Parks, Greg Reid, Xavier Rhodes
S(6): Nick Moody, Ed Imeokparia, Willie Downs, Jajuan Harley, Gerald Demps, Justin Bright
K(1): Dustin Hopkins
A LOOK AHEAD: Looking forward, FSU has few glaring needs. DE is the one spot that eluded FSU recently, they need a solid '2' there in 2010. The 'Big Bend' Area will not be as loaded in 2010, but the state is. The Jacksonville area is strong next year, FSU always does well there. A play-making type of WR like De'Joshua Johnson from Pahokee should be another thing that FSU is looking for. He would complement this class of big, physical types down the road. The standard '3-4' on the OL and perhaps '3-4' LB's as well. FSU is recruiting elite RB Lattimore(SC) hard already, he seems to be a priority.