Florida State won the recruiting battle according to ESPN. Some services have Alabama winning and I have no problem with either winning it. Time will tell who helped themselves the most.
Florida State’s top rated recruit is 5 star Cornerback Devonta Taylor. He is the top rated Corner in the entire country and pretty much by every recruiting service that exists.
He is credited with a 4.4 40 which should be pretty close. He is also a top return man in much the same fashion as a Deion Sanders. He is a special teams standout from punt returns, kick returns and he also played on kick coverage teams. On offense, he played Wide Receiver and some times Slot
Back and he was just too athletic and fast to be caught.
His specialty, however, is Cornerback and he just might be the very best out there as the ratings imply. He recognizes plays quickly and comes up quick in run support and he is pretty much what is considered a lock down Corner.
My only negative about Taylor is he loves to hit, but he doesn’t care to wrap up which is the common trend with Defensive Backs these days. That works well in high school, but not as well at the upper levels of football. Fantastic prospect overall and should challenge for playing time on day one.
The Seminoles also landed 7th ranked Cornerback Carlos Becker. He picked the Seminoles over Ohio State and probably the rest of the world. What I like best about Becker is he is listed as 6-3 and he can run in the 4.4 range. He is very fluid with great closing speed when the ball is in the air and he totaled 10 Interceptions a a senior so he is a ball hawk. Another thing about Becker is he is very physical and he looks like he enjoys run support and hitting ball carriers. Watching this guy, I am doubting there are 6 Cornerbacks in the country that are better.
The Noles also picked up Kyle Meyers a 6-0, 170 Cornerback out of New Orleans. He was only a 3 star, but he has a lot of potential as well. He’s a very fluid and smooth athlete with excellent coverage skills. He will have to wait his turn in Tallahassee but the talent is there.
Keion Joyner is a 6-3, 235 Outside Linebacker prospect from Havelock, North Carolina. ESPN has him as their 8th rated Outside Linebacker which I am in agreement with. He has the speed and athletic ability but looks a little tentative at times. It’s hard to say if Joyner has an early impact with the Seminoles because they are normally fairly deep at Linebacker, but this kid looks like a guy that can help.
Dontavious Jackson is a talented 6-2, 245 Inside Linebacker from Houston, Texas. The Seminoles broke the Texas Longhorns hearts on signing day with one of the few Longhorn misses on the day. DJack is an old school heavy hitting Middle Linebacker type that is difficult to block and brings the wood on play after play. He’s also good in pass coverage and had some picks in high school. This guy is a beast and could make an early impact.
The Seminoles signed 2 more Outside Linebacker prospects in Joshua Brown from Charlotte, North Carolina and Emmett Rice from Miami. Both are really slim at the moment and both are really fast. But, they need a year in an off season program, probably.
Janarius Robinson was ESPN’s 14th rated Defensive End prospect. The 6-5, 247 Panama City, Florida native reportedly runs a 4.6 40 making him a threat off the edge which he is. I can’t verify an accurate 40 time and those things are nearly always stretched, he is super quick and can chase down a Quarterback. He has really long arms and could beef up considerably at Florida State.
Brian Burns is another Defensive End they were able to sign out of Fort Lauderdale. He is a 4 star, but listed at 6-5, 215 and will need some time to fill out at the college level. He does have a knack for getting to the Quarterback.
Shavar Manuel was ESPN’s 10 rated Defensive Tackle coming to Florida State out of IMG Academy in Tampa. Manuel grew a lot as a senior after being a 230 pound Defensive End as a junior. Defensive Tackle is a huge need for almost every school and Manuel will have a chance at playing pretty quickly for Florida State. The currently 6-4, 280 Manuel is very quick and aggressive for his size.
Hometown guy Cedric Wood is a 6-3, 290 Defensive Tackle that is very aggressive, quick and talented. From what I have seen of him, when he grabs you, then you go down. He is ESPN’s 22nd rated Defensive Tackle but he has enormous potential.
Walvenski Aime is the 3rd rated Junior College Defensive Tackle and he is every bit that. At 6-5, 290 he reportedly runs in the 4.7 range and that might be accurate. There is video of him catching a runner 40 yards downfield. He is hard to block and shoots through gaps very quickly and easily to get pressure on a Quarterback. He looks equally dangerous against the run and the pass. He should help
the defensive front out immediately.
Malik Henry is one of the best Quarterbacks in the country in the 2016 class and he signed with the Seminoles. ESPN has him rated as the 2nd best Dual Threat Quarterback in the country behind only Shea Patterson who signed with Ole Miss. Right now, Henry is much better of a runner than a passer. He is elite at avoiding the pass rush and taking off on a scramble, maybe as good as anyone in the last few years. His passing is adequate and he has a strong enough arm but it’s not going to impress you all that much. With Sean Maguire returning for his senior year, I would almost think that Henry redshirts unless they want to work him in slowly.
The Seminoles signed Amir Rasul from Coral Gables. Rasul is another blue burner from South Florida much like Dalvin Cook. He is rated as the 7th best Running back in the country which I highly question. He is one of the more impressive ones I have seen. The only thing he lacks is incredible size, but with his speed that’s not a factor.
The Noles return 4 quality backs led by All American Dalvin Cook, but it’s going to be difficult to keep Amir Rasul off the field. He is that good.
Wide Receiver is not a huge need for the Noles but you can really never have enough when you use that many. Keith Gavin is a big receiver at 6-3, 220 from Crawfordville, Florida. At first glance, Gavin looks like a big guy with average speed, but he ran back kickoffs for scores so he is fast
enough. He will add to a very talented group of receivers.
The Seminoles went North to sign Tight End Naseir Upshur from Philadelphia. Upshur is an incredible blocker and he’s mean as a pass catcher. He tends to attack defenders with the ball in his hands instead of running around them he loves to make contact with them and run over them. He’s a also is a quality Defensive End.
Gabe Nabers is the lowest rated recruit in this class and he is a little undersized at 6-3, 225. But, he is super quick and he’s a play maker on both sides of the ball. He plays Defensive End as well as Tight End and H-Back and he is a tremendous athlete. I assume that Florida State wants to use him at Tight End and I believe he will excel there. However, the Seminoles ave Ryan Izzo and Mavin Saunders returning.
Landon Dickerson is the 5th rated Offensive Tackle in the country and he is really good. On the high school level, when Dickerson hits an opponent they went down. He is extremely powerful and strong with great quickness for a 6-5, 305. To prove his athleticism, Dickerson lined up at Defensive End
and dominated there as well with not only strength, but excellent quickness.
Definitely, he is one of the best Offensive Tackles in America and I would not be surprised at all if he sees playing time as a true freshman.
The Seminoles also grabbed the 11th rated Offensive Tackle in Jauan Williams. I am not a fan of big fat Offensive Linemen and Williams is definitely not that at 6-7, 305. At that size, Williams looks buff. He has excellent feet and when he locks up with an opponent he often drives them 10 to 20 yards downfield. Excellent prospect at Offensive Tackle.
Josh Ball is a 6-8, 325 Offensive Tackle out of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Ball is also very impressive and moves like a much smaller man. He dominated against really big Defensive Linemen and threw them around like rag dolls.
Mike Arnold is the 4th Tackle in this class. Arnold had to spend a season at a prep school and doesn’t impress quite as much as the first 3 Tackles and may be more suited for Offensive Guard. The 6-5, 305 Arnold is still loaded with a ton of potential and he will get excellent coaching at Florida State.
Offensive Guard and Center:
Baveon Johnson is the top rated Center in the country and he is huge at 6-3, 340. Redshirt freshman Alec Eberle was the starting Center for the Noles last season and he will have a hard time holding off Johnson unless they move one of them to Offensive Guard.
Andrew Boselli is the son of Tony Boselli who was one of the top Offensive Linemen in the history of the game. At first glance, I did not want to like the younger Boselli because he is oddly shaped.
But, the kid is a player with a mean streak that seems to love driving people off the ball. He is an excellent run blocker, but also is good as a pass blocker. I was way more impressed with the 3 star Boselli than I thought I would be.
The Seminoles signed 2 kickers to replace Roberto Aguayo. One of the replacements is his younger brother Ricky Aguayo.
But, they also signed Logan Tyler.
This is an outstanding recruiting class and they really helped themselves out at Cornerback, Linebacker, Quarterback and Offensive Tackle. But, they pretty much helped themselves at every position.
Florida State will be in the national picture for years to come.