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Written by joshua | 01 February 2012

Is has arrived! National Signing Day is finally upon us, and the Seminoles are poised to close with a a bang. We will have a running thread where will will post a profile of each of the Flroida State commitments as they sign and fax in their letters of intent. 

 

Confirmed LOI

 

RB Delmarick "Mario" Pender (Early Enrollee)

6'0” 200lbs

Island Coast High School, Cape Coral, FL

ESPN-4*

Rivals-4*

24/7-4*

Pender is an early enrollee who might already be the most physically talented running back on the Seminoles roster. Pender is a back who possesses big play ability but carries the frame necessary to be a feature back or the front man in a running back rotation as he boast one of the best size speed combinations in the country at the running back position.

After sitting out his sophomore season, Pender exploded unto the national scene with a tremendous junior campaign and subsequent commitment to Florida State. Pender also was a high school track rival of Clemson's star freshman receiver Sammy Watkins, having clocked as low as a 10.62 time in the 100 meter dash. Pender compares favorably to former Miami Hurricanes and Killian High School standout Lamar Miller. With his early arrival, Pender is presented with a great opportunity to earn a supporting role in the running back rotation at Florida State as he gives the Noles a true game breaker at the position.

 

OL Daniel Glauser (Early Enrollee)

6'6” 315lbs

New Mexico Military institute, Roswell New Mexico

Rivals-3* 

Glauser is a player who is a native of Switzerland. He's has two years to play two seasons and has shown remarkable improvement from the 09' season to 11'. Glauser is an early enrollee who will benefit from being able to work in the spring with Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett in terms utilizing better technique. He projects either as a right tackle or guard at the FBS level as he is powerful drive blocker with a nasty disposition that reveals a genuine passion for the game. Does not possess the footwork to operate at the left tackle spot but is pretty good athlete out in space getting to the second level and initiating contact with linebackers.

Going into the 2012 season it is hopeful that Glauser will be able to at the very least provide quality depth and perhaps compete for a starting position along the offensive line. Even if he doesn't start, he will most assuredly see his share of playing time due to the physical nature of the position and the likelihood of injuries occurring within the starting unit. Glauser will thankfully have a spring and fall camp under his belt before he is asked to contribute. Glauser was also offered by Arkansas and Oklahoma State as well

 

Punter Cason Beatty (Early Enrollee)

6'3”225lbs

Olympic High School, Charlotte, North Carolina

Beatty is a sizeable punter weighing in at 225 pounds. He'll be taking over for departing All American Seminole punter Shawn Powell. Beatty is a good athlete as well passing for over 800 yards as a quarterback during his junior year in high school.

 

K Roberto Aguayo

6’0” 190lbs

South Lake High School, Groveland FL

ESPN- 3*

Rivals- 3*

24/7- 3*

Aguayo has received numerous accolades, and awards for his kicking ability. This young man not only has a very strong leg, but he is also extremely accurate from distance. Aguayo is ranked in the top five amongst kickers by many outlets.

This young man committed to the Florida State Seminoles exactly one year, and one day ago after a junior day visit to Tallahassee. He has accepted a greyshirt offer form FSU, and will enroll in January of 2013.

 

QB Sean Maguire

6'2” 200

Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, NJ

ESPN-3*

24/7-3*

Maguire is a player who possesses a strong arm with decent mobility as he was the first quarterback to commit to the Seminoles for the 2012 recruiting cycle. Now, it had always been Florida State's plan to sign two quarterbacks in order to generate increased competition along the depth chart, it was just a question as to which quarterback would commit first knowing that Florida State would continue to actively recruit the position.

Maguire completed his senior season passing for just under 1200 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions for the Seton Hall Prep Pirates. Maguire is a player who brings a number of intangibles to the quarterback position. His field awareness, football IQ, and competitive nature only compliment his primary physical talent, which is 'plus' level arm strength. Between Maguire, Jameis Winston, and last year's lone quarterback signee; Jacob Coker, the Seminoles have continued to stock pile prospects with premium arm talent.

 

OL Menelik Watson

6'7”320lbs

Saddleback Community College, Mission Viejo, CA

Rivals-3*

247-4* 

Watson is an interesting prospect for a variety of. First, he is a native of England who played basketball for a year for Marist College. He proceeded to transfer to Saddleback community college and participated in his first year of organized football this past season. Watson was a teammate of current Oregon commit; Kyle Long, as they were the bookends along the Griffins offensive line this past season. Watson is obviously lacking in the experience department but physically the raw tools are definitely there. Watson is a player who has the footwork and short area quickness to mirror pass rushers effectively, and a wingspan that will enable him to prevent speed rushers from threatening the edge when used properly.

Despite his relative lack experience Watson could see some playing time next season. While ideally, he could redshirt to gain a better understanding of his craft, from a physical standpoint Watson is probably more ready to play than anyone else Florida State could have brought in at offensive line. He played right tackle primarily at Saddleback but projects to left tackle for the Noles. In my opinion, he will be one of the most physically gifted prospects Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett will have the task of developing. Watson was offered by schools such as Auburn, the University of Washington, California, San Diego State, and Rutgers

 

WR Marvin Bracy

5'9” 175lbs

Boone High School, Orlando, FL

ESPN- 4*

Rivals- 4*

24/7-4*

Bracy is known primarily as the fastest high school track star in America. He rise on the track was a meteoric one, as he didn't begin competing until his sophomore year in high school. He's trained by former Florida State sprinter Ricky Argo who has tutored several sprinters who later became Florida State football players as well. Bracy is well on his way to possibly becoming the fastest high school sprinter ever clocking a wind aided 10.05 100 meter dash last year as a junior.

On the gridiron Bracy has shown tremendous improvement as a wide receiver over the past two seasons, his only two as a varsity player. His immediate impact on the Noles will be first and foremost as a kickoff returner bringing his electric speed to Doak Campbell Stadium. Bracy will probably be brought along gradually as a receiver and by the time he is implemented into the regular rotation figures to be a dangerous element in the Noles passing game and offense as a whole.

 

DB P.J. Williams

6’1” 180lbs

Vanguard High School, Ocala FL

ESPN- 4*

Rivals- 4*

24/7- 4*

Williams, the Under Armour All-American, is one of the nation’s more versatile defensive backs. He is blessed with very long arms, very fluid hips, and great range. Williams can play either safety, or cornerback at the next level, and because of his attributes he should excel at either position.

Williams was Florida State’s very first verbal commitment of the 2012 class. He has remained a solid commit throughout the process. After a visit to Miami, he gave the Hurricanes serious consideration, before deciding to shut things down, and become a Seminole.

 

DE Mario Edwards Jr.

6’4” 297lbs

Ryan High School, Denton TX.

ESPN- 5*

Rivals- 5*

24/7- 5*

Edwards jr. is not only the top recruit in the Noles 2012 class, but he is considered by many the top high school athlete in the country. The nation’s top defensive end has dominated the competition in the lone star state in recent years, while making national headlines and becoming an elite recruit. Edwards has freakish agility and speed for a young man his size, and often has his way with opposing lineman.

Edwards, who is the son of former FSU defensive back Mario Edwards, will follow in his dad’s footsteps by becoming a Seminole. Edwards’ recruitment never lacked a dull moment, and he kept the FSU faithful on the edge of their seats by continuing to entertain a handful of other schools.

Last week, upon returning from an official visit to LSU, Edwards spoke with the Florida State staff and solidified his commitment, closing the door on his recruitment. This young man is sure to have a bright future in Tallahassee, and may one day follow his dad’s footsteps once again, to the NFL.

 

Colin Blake, CB

Brandeis High School, San Antonio, TX.

6’3, 185 lbs.

40 yard dash: 4.5

Rivals: 4 star

247: 3 star

ESPN: 3 star


Blake is the type of kid that the Florida State staff feels has strong potential. Despite being 6’3, hepossesses the hips necessary to remain at corner in the FSU defensive scheme, which would put him inthe same mold of a Keelin Smith from the 2011 class. It’s a unique combination to have and while hemay be a little rough around the edges initially, Colin Blake has legitimate talent to be cultivated that
Florida State is excited about.

Blake is not the type of player that you would expect an early impact from, but he will certainly have anopportunity to grow and compete later in his career, as his tools are outstanding. As with all players, hissuccess will depend greatly on how hard he is willing to work for his opportunity.

 

DE Chris Casher

6’5” 250lbs

Davidson High School, Mobile AL.

ESPN- 4*

Rivals- 4*

24/7- 4*

There is no doubt in my mind that Casher was the first guy off the bus for his Davidson high team. This physical specimen doesn’t only look the part, but he is one of the nation’s top defensive ends.  Casher’s mixture of size, strength, and speed is matched by few others in the country.

While Casher sat out his senior season do to transfer rules, he was very impressive in both the Under Armour All-American practices, and the game itself. This young man has a very high ceiling, and has yet to tap into his full potential. Casher has been a longtime Seminole pledge and has never once waivered in his commitment, even with hometown Alabama after him.

 

Reggie Northrup, LB

First Coast High School, Jacksonville, FL.

6’2, 215 lbs.

40 yard dash: 4.68

Rivals: 4 star

247: 4 star

ESPN: 4 star

Northrup is a talented LB who spent the majority of his recruitment committed to the Miami Hurricanesbefore flipping to the Noles, which obviously makes his case juicier than others. He finished his seniorseason with nearly 200 tackles, 39 tfl and 10 sacks.

Florida State has a history with recruiting kids from First Coast and it likely won’t end with Northrup.Plans for his freshman season are unclear at this point, as some think he may need a redshirt whileothers are not convinced the depth at linebacker will provide FSU with that luxury. Either way, this is ahigh quality pickup for the Noles made even sweeter by the fact that it’s a great athlete snatched fromthe jaws of the Miami Hurricanes. He has the tools to be a complete LB and his development in Garnetand Gold should be fun to witness.

 

Eddie Goldman, DT

Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington D.C

6’4, 310 lbs.

40 yard dash: 4.8

Rivals: 5 star

247: 5 star

ESPN: 5 star

Eddie Goldman is a consensus 5 star prospect and top 10 player in the nation. He is widely consideredthe best DT prospect in the entire 2012 class. He brings outstanding size and strength along with verygood quickness and technique to the table and has the ability to be an early contributor at most schoolsin the country.

Goldman is very much a “rich get richer” type of pickup for the Noles, as they are absolutely loadedat the DT position. How well he’s able to fight for playing time and how soon he sees the field is anunknown, as it is typically tough for true freshmen DT’s to make an impact. That being said, Goldman iswhat would be considered an elite prospect, much like last year’s phenom, Tim Jernigan. This is a kid who will deal with high expectations throughout his career.

 

DT Justin Shanks

6’3” 310lbs

Prattville High School, Pratville AL.

ESPN- 4*

Rivals- 4*

24/7- 3*

Shanks, a defensive tackle out of national powerhouse; Prattville High School is a solid pick up for the Seminoles. The Army All American is blessed with tremendous strength and mobility for a young man north of 300lbs. He is a run stuffer, with a great motor.

Shanks chose Florida State over in state power Alabama and has never once waivered in his commitment. Tennessee made a late push for Shanks, but the big man has his sights set on Tallahassee and becoming a factor along the defensive line in the coming years.

 

TE Christo Kourtzidis

6'4” 238lbs

Lutheran High School, Orange, CA

ESPN-3*

Rivals-4*

24/7-4* 


Kourtzidis projects as more of a traditional in-line Tight End, much more so than the split out h-back types you presently see. He provides a very solid compliment to last year's Florida State signee and current starting Tight End Nick O'Leary. Kourtzidis is a quality blocker who in high school competed in one the state of California's most competitive sections (Pac-5 region). This past season, Kourtzidis' improved his pass catching ability to add a valued dimension to his overall skillset. At nearly 6-5 and around 240 pounds with room to grow, Kourtzidis cuts an already imposing figure that will only be enhanced once he gets into the Noles strength and conditioning program.

Kourtzidis' inclusion into the class wasn't as widely followed as some other commits. Now that's primarily due to the nature of the tight end position, but he gives Coach Jimbo Fisher additional flexibility as he can be utilized in the much talked about “Jumbo Spread” formation which includes three tight ends on the field at once, all with pass catching ability (Kourtzidis would be lined up at the line of scrimmage with the other two in the slot). With the departure of Senior Tight End Beau Reliford, Koutzidis will be relied upon early to provide a physical extra blocker to the Noles offense.

 

LB Ukeme Eligwe

6’3” 220lbs

Stone Mountain High School, Stone Mountain GA

ESPN- 4*

Rivals- 4*

24/7- 4*

The Army All-American out of Stone Mountain is a special athlete at the linebacker position. Eligwe has a great mixture of size and speed to go along with his superior instincts. He has very good closing speed on backs, and has good hips, and agility to use while in pass coverage.

Eligwe has always been a solid commit, and one that often publicized his passion for the Seminoles, at least until a recent visit to Cal. Upon returning, he got cold feet and wanted to delay his decision. He decided the night before NSD that he was ready to sign, and officially became a Seminole.

 

Ronald Darby, CB

Potomac High School, Oxon Hill, MD.

5’11, 175 lbs.

40 yard dash: 4.31

Rivals: 4 star

247: 5 star

ESPN: 4 star

 

Ronald Darby is arguably the best corner in the country and is rated such by both 247 Sports andScout.com. The addition of Darby to the 2012 class for FSU is absolutely huge as the Seminoles havecontinued to stockpile excellent secondary talent. He is one of the fastest players in the country,as he also has very promising track talent that he will continue to develop at Florida State. What’sencouraging about Darby to go along with his speed is the size. He has room to add muscle and isalready sturdily built with good height.

Darby will have a chance to compete early for playing time in nickel and dime situations, but that will bea tough uphill battle despite his great talent. Before he is done in Tallahassee, it is reasonable to expect him to become a multi-year starter.

 

DT Dalvon Stuckey

6’2” 300lbs

Walton High School, De Funiak Springs FL

ESPN- 4*

Rivals- 3*

24/7- 4*

 

Stuckey often gets overlooked by the more heralded prospects that FSU brought in along the defensive front, but this young man is no slouch. Stuckey is a very strong young man, that plays the run well and often finds himself in the backfield making plays.

Stuckey has been committed to FSU well over a year ago, and he never once waivered in his commitment. Unfortunately, the young man will likely not qualify and will be placed in JUCO. We wish Stuckey the best of luck, and hope to see him in the Garnet and Gold someday.

 

 

- FSU quarterback commit, Jameis Winston has not, and will not sign his letter of intent today, as he is playing in an all star game in Texas, and he would like to get back to Hueytown, Alabama to be with his family when he signs his LOI with Florida State. He once again re-affirmed his commitment to the Seminoles   today on ESPNU.  

 

- Former FSU commit Dante Fowler Jr. decided this morning to flip, and sign with the Florida Gators.

 

- There has been specualtion that longtime Florida State defensive tackle commit, Dalvon Stuckey is a risk to not qualify acidemically, and may enroll at Pear River Community College.

 

 

 

 

 


 


Written by joshua | 30 January 2012

If National Signing Day is the recruiting junkies Christmas, then old Saint Nick is loading up the slay with blue chip athletes. In a matter of hours, the nation's top high school football players will ink their letters of intent, making one fan base very happy, while disapointing a host of others. Many agree that in order to build a championship contender, you must consistently recruit elite talent. While you cannot win a national title on signing day, you can definitely put the wheels in motion towards reaching that goal. There is a definite correlation between teams who consistently recruit well, and teams who are often in the BCS. Programs such as Alabama, USC, Texas, and LSU are perennial title contenders, and just as often contenders to bring in the nations top recruiting class. 

This year is no different, with the usual suspects jockeying for position to land the nation's best class. One team that hasn't been in the natonal championship hunt in some years, but has put together some solid recruiting classes, is the Florida State Seminoles. Coming off, what many called the nation's best recruiting class in 2011, the Noles are poised to bring in a consensus top five class, with limited scholarships to offer. FSU's class currently sits at 16 verbal commitments, with three of them already enrolled in classes. FSU made great use of the limited scholarships at their disposal this cycle, and brought in a class with many high profile, high ranking recruits, at positions of need.

Florida State is still in the running for a number of high profile recruits, both undecided and those committed to other programs. The Florida State coaching staff has done a wonderful job in the month of January getting these targets on campus for official visits, and being sure not to leave any stone unturned when it comes to these recruits perception of the university. Jimbo Fisher has made a name for himself as a closer on the recruiting trail since he took over for Bobby Bowden, who happened to be a pretty darn good closer himself. The final recruiting pitches have been made, and the crew at Unconquered Noles is ready to unveil our final 2012 mock recruiting classes. 

 

Derrell Warren's Mock Class

 

QB- Jameis Winston, Shawn Maguire

RB- Mario Pender

WR- Marvin Bracy

TE- Christo Kourtzidis

OL- Menelik Watson, Daniel Glauser, Adam Duckett

DT- Justin Shanks, Dalvon Stuckey, Eddie Goldman

DE- Mario Edwards Jr., Chris Casher, Dante Fowler Jr.

LB- Ukeme Eligwe, Reggie Northup

DB- P.J. Williams, Ronald Darby, Colin Blake

P- Cason Beatty

K- Roberto Aguayo

 

Adam Tolliver's Mock Class

 

QB- Jameis Winston, Shawn Maguire

RB- Mario Pender

WR- Marvin Bracy

TE- Christo Kourtzidis

OL- Menelik Watson, Daniel Glauser, Adam Duckett

DT- Justin Shanks, Dalvon Stuckey, Eddie Goldman

DE- Mario Edwards Jr., Chris Casher, Dante Fowler Jr.

LB- Ukeme Eligwe, Reggie Northup, Josh Harvey-Clemons

DB- P.J. Williams, Ronald Darby, Colin Blake

P- Cason Beatty

K- Roberto Aguayo

 

Josh Flanagan's Mock Class

 

QB- Jameis Winston, Shawn Maguire

RB- Mario Pender

WR- Marvin Bracy

TE- Christo Kourtzidis

OL- Menelik Watson, Daniel Glauser, Adam Duckett

DT- Justin Shanks, Dalvon Stuckey, Eddie Goldman

DE- Mario Edwards Jr., Chris Casher, Dante Fowler Jr.

LB- Ukeme Eligwe, Reggie Northup

DB- P.J. Williams, Ronald Darby, Colin Blake

P- Cason Beatty

K- Roberto Aguayo

 

Be sure to stay tuned to UnconqueredNoles.com all day tomorrow, as we will have every aspect of NSD covered. We will have updates as the announcements take place, and also when the LOI's make their way through the fax machines. Also, be sure to follow all three of us on Twitter, and also follow our main Twitter handle (@Unconquered_FSU

Derrell- @yssd

Adam- @Primediscussion

Josh- @YeahFlanny

Written by Adam Tolliver | 29 January 2012

The answer? REAL FAST. Seriously, this kid's future will likely be in Track and Field where his talent is flat out off the charts. On Sunday, the FSU commit slated to play WR and KR for the Noles this coming Fall ran the world's fastest indoor 55m time of the season. His 6.08 is absolutely blazing speed. Make no mistakes, he is not a track guy making an attempt at playing football. He is going to do wonders for Florida State in both sports and in my guestimation will be one of the more popular athletes on campus. Here are a few important clips to watch to help grasp his talent in both sports. Note the guy claiming a false start on Bracy for the duration of the race. If you watch closely, you'll see that he clearly took off after the gun sounded. See the clips after the jump.

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Written by Scott Crumbly | 28 January 2012

Miller making a difference on offense

Since returning from suspension in December, sophomore has sparked offense off the bench

Scott Crumbly

Sports Editor: FSView

During their current five-game win streak, the Florida State Seminoles have seen their offensive output jump by seven points per game, from 70.6 points per contest through the first 15 games to 77.6 per game.

While the players insist that the team hasn’t made any major adjustments—both Michael Snaer and Deividas Dulkys said Friday that the players have started doing the “little things” better—there has been one major addition to the offense that has contributed to the increased production. That addition is Ian Miller.

Since returning in December from an academic suspension that held him out of the team’s first 11 games, Miller has brought a scoring threat that the FSU offense desperately needed. The sophomore is averaging 11.2 points per contest in nine games since returning on Dec. 22 at Florida, and he has dropped 15 or more points in a game five times. All while playing 24 minutes a night as a reserve.

Although Miller’s average in FSU’s current five-game ACC win streak has dipped to nine points per game, he played a big-time role in the outcome of two of those games. Against Virginia Tech, Miller came up huge for the ’Noles in the second half, scoring eight of his 15 points in the final 20 minutes to help FSU jump-start their current hot streak.

“He’s a tremendous talent,” Snaer said of Miller. “He’s just one of the few guys you have on a team who can just get their own shot whenever we need a bucket. He did it against Virginia Tech a few times whenever we just needed a bucket—he’ll hit somebody with a crossover and the next thing you know, he’s pulling up and we’ve got a bucket.”

Against Maryland on Jan. 17, Miller matched his career-high with 18 points to help FSU pull away from the Terps in the second half. Miller was ultra-efficient on the evening, hitting on 4-of-7 field goals (57 percent), including 2-of-3 from behind the arc (66 percent). He also connected on all eight of his free throws, bringing his season total to 25-of-28 from the charity stripe.

Miller’s shooting percentage only sits at 38 percent for the year, but Snaer made it a point to say that the percentages “don’t tell the truth” of just how deadly of a shooter he really is.

While the Seminoles have certainly found their stride as a team offensively—better ball movement and execution in setting and using screens have helped create more open shots, which they’ve capitalized on as a squad—Miller’s contributions cannot be understated.

“Ian is a great scorer,” Dulkys said. “He can really put up numbers, and plus the depth—just another guy to bring off the bench that teams have to worry about.”

With FSU now in sole possession of the ACC lead after six conference games, the ’Noles will now play the role of frontrunner with Miller beginning to settle into his role on offense.

“That’s what we need, so that’s what I do,” Miller said of his sixth-man role. “Because we’ve got to play defense, that’s what we do. But offense is one of my good skills, so that’s what I’m here for.”

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Written by joshua | 20 January 2012

With National Signing Day only 12 days out, the rumors have begun to run rampid surrounding the nations top high school football players. One young man, who has not been able to stay out of the limelight sice he arrived on the scene is, Florida State verbal commit Dante Fowler Jr. The 5* defensive end out of St. Petersburg, FL has been committed to Seminoles for well over a year (12/5/10) but has had to adress numerous rumors about a possible defection. 

Both the Florida Gators and the USC Trojans have not let up on the Under Armour All-American, and will continue to recruit this young man until his signs his letter of intent on February 1st. Earlier today, while he was en route to the University of Florida for his official visit, I caught up with Fowler to get the latest on his recruitment. 

Fowler began our conversation be stating that his is still "100% committed" to the Seminoles. I then went on to ask Fowler how he would feel is FSU were to bring in another defensive end before signing day (notably Leonard Williams). Fowler responded by saying that it would in fact affect his commitment to Florida State. When asked how exactly it would affect his commitment, Fowler responded by saying, "I don't know".  

Being that Fowler was on his way to Gainesville, I asked him if there was anything the University of Florida staff could do to sway him away from Florida State and he responded by saying, "It's all FSU." 

In speaking with Fowler I did get the vibe that if the FSU were to accept the commitment from another defensive end, which likely would be Leonard Williams at this point, that Fowler would indeed open up his recruitment and re-evaluate his options. As I previously stated, both USC and UF are coming on strong for Fowler's services, and this one will be a battle up until National Signing Day.  

Written by Derrell Warren | 19 January 2012

Latest with FSU targets:

Eddie Goldman: Defensive Tackle

Friendship Academy

Washington, DC

The race for the nation’s number one defensive tackle has really heated up over the last few weeks. This was thought to be a Florida State/Alabama battle heading into the week of the Under Armour game. A few developments that took place over that stretch along with the departure of Alabama’s lead recruiter for Goldman, Sal Sunseri to Tennessee was thought to have left the Noles in the lead. Now Goldman has released a list of four finalists for his services that include Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, and Miami. Alabama has already initiated a visit between Goldman and Coach Sunseri’s replacement; Lance Thompson while Florida State was thought to be the leader for Goldman’s services based in large part to Goldman’s relationship with FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins. Now Auburn, on the heels of hiring new defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder, is thought to have made a significant move recently in their efforts to land Goldman with some recruiting insiders now projecting the big defensive tackle to sign with the Tigers. This is primed to be a three team race (FSU/Alabama/Auburn) with Miami possibly looking on the outside.

Menelik Watson: Offensive Tackle

Saddleback Community College

Mission Viejo, California

Really no other way to put it: But in my opinion, Watson is almost a “must have” in this year’s class by virtue of the dearth of viable offensive line prospects on FSU’s radar this late in the recruiting process. Watson has very limited football experience but is an athletic prospect with a large degree of physical gifts that offensive line coach Rick Trickett would be tasked with tapping into. Make no mistake; Watson is a high risk high reward type of prospect but one who if he develops properly, has yet to play his best football as he’s only scratched the surface of his potential. Watson is being heavily courted by the Auburn Tigers and listed them as his leader after an official visit there. The Noles however, made up a lot of ground reportedly during his official visit to Tallahassee and sit in good position for his services with less than two weeks left. Although his final trips will be to Rutgers on January 20th and the University of Oregon on January 27th, this is thought to be a Florida State/Auburn battle.

 

Ronald Darby: Cornerback

Potomac High School

Oxen Hill, Maryland

Things have been looking more and more positive with Darby lately. The former Notre Dame commit enjoyed his official visit to Tallahassee. Now, having so recently re-opened his commitment it would be prudent to expect Darby to take his time before pledging to another program. It was announced this morning that the two sport athlete will not be taking anymore visits and has a final three of FSU, Auburn and Notre Dame. This is great news for the Noles.

Colin Blake: Cornerback

Brandeis High School

San Antonio, Texas

Now this is one of the more intriguing prospects remaining on the Florida State recruiting board. Blake is relatively new to the sport having completed just his second year of high school football after having been primarily a basketball player. In just two short years however, Blake has risen to become one of the top defensive back prospects in the state of Texas and made a September commitment to the Texas A&M Aggies. Blake however, has decided to open up his recruitment (Still technically committed to A&M) and officially visited the Seminoles this past weekend. Now there are many different layers to Blake’s situation as former Oklahoma commit and Under Armour All American Devante Harris committed to Texas A&M right on the heels of Blake’s trip to Tallahassee. That gives the Aggies a total of six defensive back commitments currently and one would have to think Blake may indeed be looking to jump ship due to the fact A&M chose to accept Harris. Now even in the event that Blake doesn’t plan on sticking with his Texas A&M commitment Florida State would still face competition for Blake’s signature from the Oklahoma Sooners, who are in the market for a big cornerback and Blake (6-3 185) certainly fits that bill. Now, lots of things still need to fall in place but if they do this would be a tremendous get for the Noles.

Nelson Agholor: Athlete

Berkley Prep

Tampa, Florida

Agholor has played things close to the vest during the majority of his recruitment. However, it is understood that Florida State had long been running third in the competition for this talented athlete’s signature behind The University of Florida and Southern California. Florida had long been thought to be his leader but his official visit to Tallahassee combined with The University of Florida continuous recruiting of wide receivers (Agholor’s project college position) signal that the competition to land the Tampa product is far from over. This will be interesting to observe down the stretch, much more so than initially anticipated.

Leonard Williams: Defensive End

Mainland High School

Daytona Beach, Florida

There are some who feel Florida State may have nudged into the lead for the big defensive lineman. I will say that Williams’s recruitment has been much too unpredictable for me to agree with that assertion. While from all accounts he had a great time during his official visit to Florida State I would advise those hoping that the Noles land Williams to beware of the lingering effects of the post visit “high” and reassess things as we head into the stretch run. Reasons for this not only include the drastic swings in who he has been perceived to favor (Auburn has been thought to be his latest and strongest leader yet) but also the fact that Florida State also has three defensive end commits and may just be done at the position. With two weeks left it might be better just to observe how this one plays out.

Andrus Peat: Offensive Tackle

Corona Del Sol

Tempe Arizona

The Florida State staff has done a great job recruiting the big offensive lineman from Arizona. But Peat has maintain interest in programs closer to home (USC, Stanford) while always having the option of joining his older brother Todd Peat Jr. at Nebraska. While Peat has done a great job giving all the team he has an interest in a chance to land his services, I venture to say the Noles have a lot of work to do in regards to this recruit. The staff’s last chance may be this weekend on his official visit to Florida State.

Reggie Northrup: Linebacker

First Coast High School

Jacksonville, Florida

Northrup is still presently committed to the University of Miami but the standing of that commitment is in serious question with less than two weeks left until signing day. Northrup has been listening to the likes of Arkansas, USF, and North Carolina since his June commitment to the Canes. His fifth and final official visit will be to Florida State on January 20th and if Northrup does indeed decide to bring his entire family (as planned) then that bodes well for the Noles chances to flip his commitment.

AJ Leggett: Cornerback

South Miami High School

Miami, Florida

Leggett recently committed to the Marshall Thundering Herd program. He still has an official visit planned for the last weekend prior to signing day. We will see if he indeed decides to show up on campus.

 

Tracy Howard: Cornerback

Miramar High School

Miramar, Florida

Howard is one of the most highly sought after recruits in the nation. Many different fanbases have had their hopes up in regards to landing his signature. He recently listed Florida and LSU as his two favorites. He recently canceled a trip to LSU however to officially visit the Florida Gators. No trip to LSU has been rescheduled. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still has one in-home visit with Howard and the hope of landing the star defensive back may just rest on that.

Ricardo Louis: Wide Receiver

Miami Beach High School

Miami Beach, Florida

Louis is an Auburn commit but is definitely looking around. Most would assume that is due to the present uncertainty surrounding the Auburn program now as they continue their search for an offensive coordinator. Louis was a surprise visitor to FSU late this past weekend and those in the know seem to feel he is a prime candidate to flip. He is a big (6-3 205), strong, fast, physical kid who could contribute to the Noles either as a wide receiver or safety. Louis has not set a final decision date but is also visiting the University of Georgia this weekend with fellow Auburn commit, Jaquay Williams giving the impression that his Auburn commitment is shaky at best.

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Written by Adam Tolliver | 14 January 2012

Not only was the win/loss outcome on Saturday afternoon a surprise, but the true shock came in the nature of victory for Florida State. As the #3 North Carolina Tar Heels made their way to Tallahassee on Saturday, few would have given a flailing Seminole basketball team a true shot at taking home the victory. How do they respond? By beating one of the top two teams in the ACC by 33 points, snapping their 9 game win streak and handing them their first loss since December 3rd against Kentucky.The Seminoles' 90 to 57 victory on Saturday is the type of victory that can help turn a season around for the better and create some serious momentum and confidence.

The big story of the day is Deividas Dulkys and his career high 32 points, 4 assists and shooting a blistering 12 of 14 (85.7%) from the floor. His 8 three pointers made set a single game ACC record. He was about as hot as a player can be in today's game and did so within the flow of things without forcing shots or making bad decisions. Best of all, he brought the same intensity on both ends of the floor. In addition to his offensive numbers, Dulkys added 4 steals, 1 block and 1 rebound. Could this be a turning point in the season for Dulkys? It would be a welcome change for the Noles.

Other strong individual performances came from  (F) Okaro White and (G) Michael Snaer, who both poured in double digit efforts with 12 and 17 points respectively. In all, this was total team effort on the back of Dulkys outstanding performance, in which the Noles completely limited and stifled the explosive UNC offense from start to finish. The Tar Heels were forced into 23 turnovers and shot just 4-19 from beyond the arch on the day. Next up for the Noles is Maryland at home on Tuesday night.

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Written by Derrell Warren | 13 January 2012

Thoughts on Offensive line recruiting

I’ve decided to address this issue since there has been much fuss about Florida State's offensive line recruiting during the 2012 cycle. While there has been much frustration expressed amongst Nole fans, I'm not sure if Florida State's offensive line situation as a whole has been put into proper context. In my opinion it is more of an issue of developing the young linemen already on the roster and cultivating sufficient depth as opposed to any supposed recruiting failures by the staff this cycle. A lot is being made of Florida State's struggles landing offensive line commits this year. That frustration was exacerbated with the de-commitment of mammoth offensive tackle Alphonse Taylor who committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide to play on the other side of the ball as a Nose Tackle.

The reality is that the Seminoles were simply not going to land an outstanding offensive line class this cycle after having landed nine offensive line commits in 2011 (Prior to the transfer of Tackle Jordan Prestwood to Notre Dame). It is indeed rare for true freshmen to make a meaningful contribution in their first year so there simply are no 'quick fix' options available via current high school prospects to help alleviate the problems that existed along the offensive front this past season. I am of the thought that it might be more prudent to see how Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett is able to develop both the cohesiveness and overall performance of the offensive linemen who are already on the roster. That proposed development is something that can be augmented with whatever newcomers do indeed arrive. The player development aspect of the equation will be something to further evaluate as we head into spring. It would also be nice if the Noles managed to stay healthy upfront during the 2012 season as well

Florida State should bring back a minimum of twelve scholarship offensive linemen heading into spring. It is absolutely imperative in my opinion that the Noles add a minimum of three additional linemen to ensure the ability to go at least three deep at every offensive line position as they go into fall camp. With all that being said, let’s take a brief look at a few of the offensive line prospects still left on the board:

Menelik Watson

Saddleback Community College

Mission Viejo, California

Watson is a JUCO player who has played football for only a year but carries a tremendous amount of upside due to his size and his background as a basketball player. Watson proclaimed the Auburn Tigers as the leader for his services after his official visit to the 'Plains'. We're likely to get a better read of the Seminoles chances of landing Watson once he visits Tallahassee. He does plan on visiting the Oregon Ducks later in the process however, who have already landed a commitment from Watson's JUCO line mate Kyle Long.

Andrus Peat

Corona Del Sol High School

Tempe, Arizona

Peat reportedly struggled in Orlando during the Under Armour All Star Game practices. During the course of the game however, Peat was by far the most effective blocker on the Black team holding his own against Florida State defensive line commit Mario Edwards Jr. As most who follow recruiting would know, Peat's older brother Todd Peat Jr. is a freshman defensive tackle for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Peat has handled the recruiting process very well in my opinion, having given multiple programs a legitimate shot at landing his signature come signing day. But at this time most signs point to him joining his brother in Lincoln, Nebraska, none the least of which is the late November commitment of his teammate and cousin, Avery Moss to the Cornhuskers.

Evan Goodman

Lakeland High School

Lakeland, Florida

I'll go out on an Island by myself on this one: Most insiders expect Goodman to land in Tempe, Arizona with his twin brother Devin who is a freshman offensive lineman for the Sun Devils. However, reading the tea leaves on this situation I would have to believe that Evan is very much in play having initiated contact with the staff and plans of being accompanied by his family on an unofficial visit to Florida State this month that will be on his own dime. I could be wrong, but personally I'm confident that the staff has a legitimate chance to flip Goodman. We'll see

Caleb Gulledge

Prattville High School

Prattville, Alabama

Gulledge is presently committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide as defensive linemen. Apparently not much contact has been made with this prospect by the staff in recent weeks. Although Gulledge is a current teammate of Florida State defensive tackle commit Justin Shanks and 2013 OL commitment Austin Golson (6'6, 275 lbs.)

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Written by Derrell Warren | 11 January 2012

Recruiting quick hitters

Davonte Neal: Cornerback

Chaparral High School

Scottsdale, Arizona

Neal is a new face to pop up on the radar of most Florida State fans but he is a well-known commodity on the recruiting trail due to his play making ability which allowed him to notch 1317 yards (On 100 carries) and 16 touchdowns rushing and 1113 yards (On 62 catches) and 14 scores receiving. A feature offensive player, Neal shined this summer in the nationally televised 7 on 7 Showcase “Gridiron Kings” as a cornerback alongside UCLA commit Marcus Rios. The Florida State staff has reportedly spoken with Neal in hopes of securing an official visit from the speedy athlete. His recruitment has been fairly quiet but Neal seemed to be a prime target of the USC Trojans before Pasadena, California cornerback Kevon Seymour committed to USC during the US Army All Star Game this past Saturday. Although he currently plays high school ball in Arizona, Neal is actually an Akron, Ohio native whose only official visit has been to Notre Dame but plans on visiting the Arkansas Razorbacks January 13th before visiting the Buckeyes January 20th. Neal has yet to determine where his January 27th official visit will be and will most likely take a fifth and final trip after national signing day so whoever secures his services will have to exercise a bit of patience. It is understood that Florida State is presently in contention for that visit. In this era of super-sized athletic wide receivers the prospect of a five foot nine cornerback would give some fans a bit of pause. Neal is the outlier in that case as he is an exciting and aggressive athlete that Florida State fans should covet in my opinion.

*Update: It appears that getting Neal on campus for a visit will be a bit more difficult than anticipated, as it appears Ohio State, Miami and perhaps both AZ schools will be getting official visits. Whether or not the coaches will spend as much energy to make this happen, with things looking increasingly better with Ronald Darby is yet to be seen.

 

Evan Goodman: Offensive line

Lakeland High School

Lakeland, Florida

Goodman is a prospect that is committed to Arizona State where his twin brother Devin is presently enrolled as a freshman and a member of the Sun Devil football team. At the moment Goodman is still committed to Arizona State presumably in large part due to his brother's presence. However, Goodman (Who incidentally has a lot of FSU fans in his family) officially visited Florida State September 16th for the Oklahoma game and has initiated further contact with the FSU staff. As it stands, Goodman will make one last trip to Tallahassee with family in tow giving the Noles one last impression to sway his commitment. Goodman would be a welcomed addition given the difficulty Florida State has had in securing offensive line commits this cycle (This has more to do with the large size of Florida State's offensive line class last recruiting cycle as much as anything else in my opinion).

Ronald Darby: Cornerback

Potomac High School

Oxen Hill Maryland

As most probably know by now, Darby was a longtime Notre Dame commit who de-committed from the Irish this past weekend. Also, Darby is a track athlete who is good friends with Florida State commit and top high school track star Marvin Bracy. With the news that top cornerback target Tracy Howard has the University of Florida and LSU both ahead of the Noles in the quest for his services, Florida State's pursuit of Darby has heated up. Darby's situation is similar to current quarterback commit Jameis Winston in the fact that he is a multi-sport athlete who most likely would have to feel equally good about the standing of both of his chosen sports at a school before giving his commitment. In other words: A school's track program would have to appeal to Darby nearly as much as its football team. Fortunately for Florida State its football and track programs are of both of high caliber. It also doesn't hurt that Darby spent the week in Orlando at the Under Armour game around his good friend Bracy, who likely reminded him several times of this fact.  UF and Clemson were both thought to be major players here, but the biggest competition now appears to be Maryland, with ND still being a presence.

 

Reggie Northrup: Outside linebacker

First Coast High School

Jacksonville, Florida

Northrup is a linebacker from Jacksonville's First Coast high school which has seen several recent prospects make their way west to Tallahassee to suit up for the Noles. The situation with Northrup however is a bit different due to the fact that Northrup didn't seem to be as heavily pursued as some recent top players from the Buccaneer program. This was exploited as Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes secured an early summer commitment from the 6-2 210 pound product. Northrup however proved his mettle in the presence of the Florida State staff the very next month at the second session of the Jimbo Fisher camp as he secured a formal offer from Florida State. His stock has only risen since then as he put the finishing touches on a campaign in which he registered 165 tackles with 39 ½ going for loss, giving Leesberg(Fla) High School linebacker and Stanford commit Noor Davis legitimate competition for the unofficial title of 'best linebacker in the state' for this past season. Some Cane insiders have listed his commitment status as tenuous at the moment and Northrup appears to be looking around. Northrup has scheduled an official visit (His fifth and final) to FSU on January 20th. Now, understand that the prospects of flipping this commit have improved over the past few weeks, but it isn't quite a done deal at this point.  

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Written by Derrell Warren | 05 January 2012

Florida State's early entry draft candidates

Part one

CB Xavier Rhodes

Rhodes was matched up against Notre Dame Wide Receiver (and probable first round NFL draft pick) Michael Floyd. Rhodes shadowed Floyd all over the field before suffering a knee sprain early in the third quarter. Up until that point Rhodes had fared well against the 6-3 220 pound receiver having held Floyd in check to the tune of three catches for a mere 20 yards (Floyd had been targeted eight times up to that point). Matchups like Rhodes vs. Floyd are intriguing due to the fact that it gives both players a chance to measure themselves against players who closely resemble the type of talent they'll be competing against on the next level. And although Rhodes did well, there were some flaws that were exposed. Rhodes top end speed may have to be questioned due to Floyd getting a step on him on one play where the ball was overthrown and was beaten on another deep ball. However in that instance, Floyd dropped the pass. With all that being said, Rhodes was playing press man coverage against Floyd in both instances. I'd have a bit more concern if he was playing off man coverage and still managed to get beaten on a vertical route. On the positive side, Rhodes was extremely physical with Floyd at the snap and won the majority of their battles at the line of scrimmage using his long arms to consistently re-route Floyd and disrupt the timing between Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees and his primary receiver.  

Xavier Rhodes

NFL comparison:

Rookie CB Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens

Like the 6-2 205 pound Smith, Rhodes is a tall, rangy cornerback (6-2 215) who uses his length to disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage. At first glance, some may think of Rhodes as a candidate to move to free safety at the NFL level due to his size. However, Rhodes has the knee bend to sink low in his stance, transitions well out of his backpedal ,and has the lateral quickness to mirror sharp breaking routes effectively. I don't think he'd run a 4.46 40 yard dash like Smith did at the combine last year but as long as he can run around a 4.52 I don't think his draft stock would be adversely effected.

Should he stay or go?

While only Xavier himself knows what factors will play the biggest role in his decision, what I do know is this: If Rhodes indeed declares he will cast himself in a pool of the deepest cornerback class I've ever seen. The 2012 cornerback draft class is deep in terms of both quality as well as sheer numbers as there are around 17-20 draft eligible cornerbacks who will be fighting for position within the first three to four rounds. That being said; even though nagging early season injuries prevented Rhodes from being able to sufficiently build on the success of his breakout 2010 season this past year he still possesses a rare size/skill combo at cornerback that is coveted by NFL execs and player personnel types. If he can secure himself a spot in the top 50 players chosen then I would suggest he leave. Even though he's still relatively inexperienced at the position having only been a full time cornerback for two seasons, he's been a quick study and a more consistent player than former Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson who's currently a starter in his second year with the New Orleans Saints. Granted, Rhodes has probably benefitted from better coaching the past two seasons under FSU defensive coordinator/defensive back coach Mark Stoops. In my opinion if Rhodes leaves, it will be simply a matter of him taking advantage of an opportunity to fulfill his dream and we should all wish him well. If he stays it would be for the purpose of securing himself a spot in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

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