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18 posts from February 2013

February 06, 2013

Seminoles Land 22 Recruits in Class of 2013

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Florida State has finalized its 2013 recruiting class and has now received letters of intent from all 22 of their commitments. 

“I'm very proud today,” said Fisher. “Thought we really met some needs and got some big time commitments today. I think our new staff did a great job.”

Fisher may be playing it modest there. Heading into his fourth year at the helm of the program, he may have just turned in his strongest performance despite bringing in one of the lower ranked classes of his tenure.

It will still be a top 10 recruiting class, but the Seminoles had been in the top five the last few years and some fans may point to the drop in ranking as a sign that Fisher is slipping a little. Not the case. Acting as Florida State's de facto recruiting coordinator over the past month and a half Fisher not only managed to absorb six coaching losses and cobble together a new staff, he also held his class together with very few defections and managed to land a couple of high profile prospects in the final days.

While he didn't do it alone, he had a hand in almost everything and Florida State has managed to weather what could have been a very tumultuous off-season as a result of it. 

Of the 22 players signing letters of intent, only 21 will ever see the field. Fisher and FSU are honoring Richy Klepal's scholarship despite the fact he will not qualify medically. Concussion issues forced Klepal, who enrolled early, to end his career before ever taking the field for the Seminoles but he will still get the opportunity to attend Florida State on scholarship after Fisher worked out a deal on Klepal's behalf.

"He was loyal to us, we're going to be loyal to him," said Fisher on Wednesday afternoon.

Two other players, four-star DE Demarcus Walker and four-star OLB Freddie Stevenson also enrolled early and will have a chance to participate in Spring practice.

The rest of Fisher's class features a good balance of speed and power. Walker and four-star DT Keith Bryant are both highly-touted defensive linemen that should add to FSU's already solid depth in the trenches.

John Franklin III, Levonte Whitfield and Ryan Green are all speed demons. Franklin was a little-recruited QB prospect out of south Florida that Fisher raved about for his potential in a read-option offense, while both Whitfield and Green are four-star athletes that bore considerable attention during the recruiting process.

There was a little bit of attrition though and not everything unfolded perfectly for Florida State in the final days. Austin Golson, a four-star offensive line prospect de-committed to FSU and signed with Ole Miss. Last week four-star DE Davin Bellamy also de-committed, he later signed with Georgia. 

FSU also missed on South Florida target Denver Kirkland, a high school teammate of Thomas who was alienated by UM last week but opted to go with Arkansas over the Seminoles.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Stacy Coley- who many thought would sign with FSU- picked the hometown Hurricanes over the Seminoles. Jimbo Fisher admitted that even caught him by surprise but that he started to suspect something was up when he saw Coley crying before the announcement on TV.

But all in all, Fisher's South Florida haul was solid this year. In addition to pulling Bryant and Thomas out of Miami on National Signing Day, FSU also grabbed four-star WR Jesus Wilson from Christopher Columbus. 

Here's a look at Florida State's 22 recruits from the 2013 class:

Matthew Thomas, OLB, Booker T. Washington, 6-3, 205
Jalen Ramsey, CB, Brentwood Academy, 6-1, 195
Ryan Green, ATH, St. Petersburg Catholic, 5-10, 197
DeMarcus Walker, DT, Sandalwood HS, 6-3, 265
Levonte Whitfield, ATH, Jones HS, 5-9, 176
Ira Denson, OG, Madison County HS, 6-4, 317
Keith Bryant, DT, Atlantic Community HS, 6-2, 305
Marquez White, CB, Northview HS, 6-1, 175
Isaiah Jones, WR, Milton HS, 6-4, 200
Ro’Derrick Hoskins, OLB, Maynard Evans HS, 6-3, 215
Freddie Stevenson, OLB, Bartow Senior, 6-1, 230
E.J. Levenberry Jr., ILB, C.D. Hylton HS, 6-3, 230
Tyrell Lyons, OLB, First Coast HS, 6-2, 220
Jesus Wilson, WR, Christopher Columbus, 5-11, 175
Nate Andrews, WR, Fairhope HS, 6-0, 195
Ryan Hoefeld, C, Brother Martin HS, 6-3, 287
Desmond Hollin, DE, ASA College (JuCo), 6-4, 275
John Franklin III, QB, South Plantation HS, 6-1, 171
Jeremy Kerr, TE, St. Petersburg HS, 6-5, 254
Davarez Bryant, DE, New Smyrna Beach Senior, 6-4, 240
Wilson Bell, OL, Blount HS, 6-4, 305
Richy Klepal, OL, Plant HS, 6-4, 285

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

Four-Star DT Keith Bryant Picks FSU Over Miami

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In the on-going battle for South Florida, the Seminoles pulled out another win to even things up with the Hurricanes on the day. FSU lost out on FB Augustus Edwards early in the morning and later, in what was frankly a surprising turn of events, also lost out on Northeastern HS WR Stacy Coley. Both signed with the University of Miami.

But head-to-head on players the school are now 2-2, with FSU claiming five-star LB Matthew Thomas out of Booker T. Washington this morning and now, just moments ago, also signing four-star defensive tackle Keith Bryant from Atlantic Community HS in Delray Beach.

Bryant chose FSU over UM and several other schools. 

Florida State is losing a lot from their 2012 defensive line, Ends Bjoern Werner, Brandon Jenkins and Tank Carradine are all gone as well as defensive tackles Everrett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud. But FSU is also loaded with depth at the position. Jimbo Fisher says time and time again that he believes in an SEC-style approach to building a defense and that starts with elite athletes up front.

Last year the Seminoles pulled four major defensive linemen in Mario Edwards Jr., Chris Casher, Justin Shanks and Eddie Goldman. While all four are trending upwards, you can never have enough good players in the trenches and the Seminoles have added two more in this class.

Bryant is a 6-2 292-pound defensive tackle who should fit nicely into Jeremy Pruitt's defense. He joins four-star strongside defensive end Demarcus Walker, who flipped from Alabama to FSU hours after the BCS title game and then enrolled early, in Jimbo Fisher's 2013 class.

Bryant will cut his teeth in the summer with most of the rest of the recruits, but could still potentially push to see the field in 2013. Either way he represents quality depth at an all-important position and his commitment is also a good way to ensure the Miami Hurricane D-Line- a major point of weakness which desperately needed depth in its own right- doesn't get a very good player to fill that need.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

Florida State Picks Up Major Commitment From Matthew Thomas

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Matthew Thomas, the talented five-star linebacker from Booker T. Washington HS in Miami has decided to sign his letter of intent with the Florida State Seminoles.

This is a major pull for Florida State on a number of levels. For starters, it's a coup in the recruiting battle with the University of Miami. The Hurricanes went hard after Thomas, a South Florida kid, and in the days following James Coley's departure from FSU and arrival at UM, looked as if they might be inching ahead as the favorite.

Thomas opted to stay in-state but head to the panhandle, spurning his hometown team and giving Jimbo Fisher and his staff another five-star recruit (two in two days counting Jalen Ramsey).

The 6-3 205-pound linebacker should also challenge for playing time immediately. Florida State's linebacking corps was already thin thanks to graduation and the departure of starters Vince Williams and Nick Moody. Outside of Christian Jones and Telvin Smith, there's not much experience on the Florida State roster. There are a trio of second year players who should challenge for playing time in Spring, and Karlos Williams could always move to linebacker after he showed his ability at the position in last year's ACC Championship game. But this addition should also be a huge boost to the Seminoles' depth.

Yesterday night LB EJ Levenberry confirmed his commitment and LB Freddie Stevenson is already enrolled at FSU, but Thomas is the gem of the class and could really turn into a special player at FSU.

Thomas runs in the 4.5-40 range, he is powerful and explosive and should fit extremely well into Jeremy Pruitt's defense. 

Florida State did miss later on Thomas' high school teammate Denver Kirkland who opted to sign with Arkansas over FSU and Miami.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

Seminoles Lose Out on Austin Golson

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Florida State got a little bit of bad news to start National Signing Day, after a good Tuesday in which they flipped five-star corner Jalen Ramsey from USC and confirmed the commitment of EJ Levenberry, former FSU-commit Austin Golson announced on Wednesday morning that he would be heading to Ole Miss to play football instead of enrolling in Tallahasee to play for the Seminoles come next season.

Golson was committed to Florida State for much of the year but decided to re-open his recruitment a little over a week ago. Once that happened Ole Miss was in. 

The 6-6 285-pound offensive lineman would have been a big pull for the Seminoles, but the writing has been on the wall for about a week that Golson was unlikely to remain a 'Nole come signing day.

So far, as of this writing Florida State has 8 letters of intent in, they are hoping for 22-24 on the day. 

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

February 05, 2013

Snaer Hits Third Game-Winner in 13 Days, FSU Beats GT 56-54

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Michael Snaer doesn't need a three pointer to beat a team at the buzzer.

On Tuesday night, coming off a tough loss at home to Duke, Michael Snaer delivered another game-winning shot on the road in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. But this time it came in the form of a finger roll. With 18.8 seconds remaining the Seminoles in-bounded the ball with the game tied 54-54 and quickly got the ball into the hands of their senior leader. 

"The coach had faith in me to get the ball to me," said Snaer after the game. "My teammates did a good job of spacing the floor, trusted me to get off a good shot and I did."

Snaer ran the clock down, faked out his man and then drove the ball on the Tech defense, releasing his shot with only tenths of a second left. And for the third time in 13 days he bailed out a Florida State performance that was inconsistent at best.

After starting the game on 13-0 run, Florida State managed to squander the lead by the half and actually headed into the locker-room trailing the Yellow Jackets 27-26. 

It was a tale of the Florida State season in 20 minutes of basketball. The Seminoles showed their potential when they jumped out to an early lead before succumbing to all the usual vices that keep them from playing at a consistently high level. The shooting went cold, there were defensive mistakes and at times things looked downright sloppy. 

Florida State still managed to improve on a number of fronts, they had 20 rebounds in the first half and actually out-rebounded an ACC opponent for the first time in nine games. They shot 50 percent for the game. But they also turned the ball over 16 times and the rebounding fell off down the stretch in the second half.

The improvement is evident, the consistency is not.

Snaer lead the Seminole scoring with 15 and also added four rebounds and four assists. Boris Bojanovsky and Kiel Turpin also added 10 and had a very solid night under the hoop for Florida State.

The Seminoles improved to 5-4 in the ACC and 13-9 overall. For FSU to have any shot at reaching the post-season though, they need either another ACC tournament championship or a very impressive end to the year.

"I think [the young guys] are starting to get it," Snaer said. "I'm starting to get it, it's my first time being a leader in this position, but I think we have a bright future ahead."

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

EJ Levenberry Gives 'Noles Fans a Scare, Sticks with FSU

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This morning Florida State fans got good news when it was reported that 5-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey had de-committed from USC and would now be heading to Tallahassee in the Fall to become a Seminole.

But de-commitments are a double-edged sword and LB EJ Levenberry threatened to remind Seminoles fans of that with an impromptu announcement on the eve of National Signing Day.

Levenberry is a 4-star linebacker out of Virginia who was already committed to Florida State but made a late visit to Tennessee where it was rumored his father was pushing him to go. The 6-3 230-pound LB had already committed once back in April, complete with an announcement in his high school gymnasium with the band playing the Warchant behind him. So the new impromptu announcement gave plenty of Florida State fans reason to be concerned. Especially considering the late push from the Vols.

But ultimately Florida State won out. Part of that may be due to the fact that the guy who initially recruited Levenberry at UT was then-DC Sal Sunseri- who now coaches at FSU.

Either way Florida State added valuable depth to the linebacker position when Levenberry confirmed his commitment to the Seminoles.

Levenberry is a bit of a 'tweener with some scouting services rating him as an outside linebacker and others with him inside. More of a run-stuffer than anything, he will likely find himself in a reserve role early on while he develops at Florida State. 

Linebacker is one spot where the Seminoles are a bit thin though. Vince Williams and Nick Moody both graduated and aside from Telvin Smith and Christian Jones, safety Karlos Williams is arguably the next most experienced player at the position. Ukeme Eligwe, Reggie Northrup and Terrance Smith are all likely to make a push during Spring practice along with Freddie Stevenson who enrolled early.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

Report: FSU Flips 5-Star Corner from USC, Adds Jalen Ramsey

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With just over 24 hours left in the recruiting period, coaches are feverishly working the phones, making final pitches to recruits and trying to lock down the last remaining prospects in their 2013 classes.

Last year Florida State pulled All-ACC Freshman and team defensive rookie of the year CB Ronald Darby in the 11th hour. Jimbo Fisher's national signing day press conference was literally delayed as the coaching staff awaited Darby's letter of intent to come through.

This year the Seminoles are hoping to close in much the same way, by adding several high profile players in the final hours of national signing day.

It's been a tumultuous couple of months for Jimbo Fisher, he's lost six assistant coaches- including James Coley to rival Miami. But no matter, already on Tuesday morning, a day before NSD, the 'Noles have reportedly flipped a major recruit from USC to FSU and will see their national recruiting ranking take a nice jump as a result of it.

Per SB Nation's Bud Elliott, 5-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey has de-committed from Southern Cal and will sign with FSU tomorrow thanks largely in part to the work of Fisher and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

Pruitt of course made waves when he flipped Demarcus Walker from Alabama to FSU just hours after the BCS National Championship game. The 4-star strongside defensive end is already enrolled at Florida State and will participate in spring practice.

As for Ramsey, he is a 6-0, 190-pound corner from Brentwood Academy in Tennessee. Originally recruited by Tee Martin at USC, he verbally committed back in July but has reportedly been persuaded to switch his commitment to FSU. Ramsey is a 4.5-40 guy who should compete immediately for playing time much as Darby did last season.

He's also the first major piece to fall in what Florida State hopes will be a big week for the program. FSU is still under consideration by several recruits that will announce tomorrow, including South Florida's own Matthew Thomas and Stacy Coley. Both of whom are also being heavily recruited by the University of Miami and former FSU-OC James Coley.

We'll know a lot more at the end of tomorrow, but for now the final recruiting push is off to a good start for Florida State.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

February 02, 2013

Seminoles get Blown Out By Blue Devils 79-60

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Within about four minutes Saturday afternoon's game between the 5th-ranked Duke Blue Devils and the Florida State Seminoles was over. Duke started on an 11-0 run, had an 18-2 advantage by the first media timeout and easily handled FSU 79-60 at the Tucker Center to improve to 19-2 on the season.

For Florida State, the loss both puts into serious jeopardy the Seminoles post-season chances, but also shines light on deficiencies that have plagued FSU for much of the season.

Without Terrance Shannon, and with Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo still developing, Florida State is vulnerable inside. They struggle to rebound and teams can penetrate and find points in the paint. 

That was the case early on against Duke as the Seminoles shot poorly and watched the Blue Devils make good passes and run their offense effectively on the other end of the court. The Seminoles shot just 29% in the first half to Duke's 62% and went into the locker room trailing by 20, 42-22.

"I wasn't disappointed in our looks or our execution," said Leonard Hamilton. "I think early on they were [a lot more] disruptive. We were over-playing, but even though we were over-playing we were able to get good looks and get the ball where we wanted to. They kept us from our first or maybe our second option, but then we went to our third, fourth option and those guys were open as well but we still didn't finish."

Despite getting good looks, nothing was dropping for the FSU offense on what ended up being a very cold shooting night. And on the defensive end, Duke continued to make the extra pass, find the open shooter and hurt Florida State when things didn't open up inside.

Things improved in the second half, but after two three-pointers from Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon started things off, Duke's 26-point lead proved far too big for Florida State to cut into.

For most of the final 20 minutes it was as if the Seminoles were treading water, scoring points just to keep pace with Duke and their 20-plus point lead. 

Even as the Florida State scorers started to find some rhythm it was too little too late. Duke had jumped out far enough early on that nothing the Seminoles did managed to get them back within striking distance.

Michael Snaer had a rough night, shooting 3-13 and contributing just 7 points. Aaron Thomas was the lone bright spot for the Seminoles, scoring 14 points on 4-7 shooting and managing to carry the Florida State offense as it lurched to an uninspired first half start. Okaro White had 7 and Ian Miller was held to just 4. 

FSU did manage to shoot 56% in the second half, but it was not nearly enough and Duke's 59% kept the Blue Devils well ahead of pace on their way to a 19-point lead. 

“We’re 4-4 [in the ACC] and if we’re going to have to find a way to get back into the NCAA conversation we’re going to have to do something exceptional, we’re going to have to do something outside the box,” said Hamilton. “We’re not going to have very much room for error.”

Next up for Florida State, road games at Georgia Tech and Wake Forest before they host Miami at the Tucker center February 13th.

Notebook: Leonard Hamilton was much more positive following Saturday's loss than usual, despite some offensive issues he spoke highly of Florida State's adjustments on the defensive end and chalked up the first half to a 'bad shooting day...' Duke shot 60% on the afternoon, one of the highest opposing shooting performances Leonard Hamilton's defenses have given up in several seasons... Hamilton said afterwards that for FSU to make the NCAA tournament now they're going to need to do something big, "something outside the box," and that they have no margin for error... Hamilton concluded by saying his team's biggest issue is not playing hard, it's playing smart and with consistency.

 

Follow Patrik Nohe on twitter for all the latest Florida State Seminoles news and updates.


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