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2 posts from October 31, 2013

October 31, 2013

Counting stars: A breakdown of UM-FSU on defense by talent, recruiting hype

And now for the second half of the breakdown between the Hurricanes and Seminoles.

DEFENSIVE LINE

> Miami: DE Anthony Chickillo (6-4, 277, Jr., 4-star, No. 3 DE in 2011 by Rivals); Shayon Green (6-3, 264, Sr., 3-star, No. 65 DE in 2009 by Rivals); David Gilbert (6-4, 256, Sr., 4-star, No. 12 DE in 2009 by Rivals); Ufomba Kamalu (6-6, 285, Jr., 2-star, unranked JUCO in 2013 by Rivals); Al-Quadin Muhammad (6-3, 240, Fr., 4-star, No. 3 WDE in 2013 by Rivals); Tyriq McCord (6-3, 235, So., 4-star, No. 7 WDE in 2012 by Rivals); DT Justin Renfrow (6-6, 320, Sr., 3-star, No. 43 DE in 2009 by Rivals); Olsen Pierre (6-4, 305, Jr. 3-star, unranked in 2011 by Rivals); Curtis Porter (6-1, 325, Sr. 3-star, No. 54 DT in 2009 by Rivals); Luther Robinson (6-3, 296, r-Sr., 4-star, No. 18 DT in 2009 by Rivals).

> FSU: DE Eddie Goldman (6-4, 303, So., 5-star, No. 2 DT in 2012 by Rivals); Mario Edwards (Jr., 6-3, 277, So., 5-star, No. 1 DT in 2012 by Rivals); Chris Casher (6-4, 260, R-Fr., 4-star, No. 4 WDE in 2012 by Rivals); Demonte McAllister (6-2, 290, r-Sr., 4-star, No. 4 SDE in 2009 by Rivals). DT Nile Lawrence-Stample (6-1, 305, r-So., 4-star, No. 29 DT in 2011 by Rivals); NG Timmy Jernigan (6-2, 296, Jr., 4-star, No. 2 DT in 2011 by Rivals); Jacobbi McDaniel (6-0, 295, R-Sr., 5-star, No. 2 DT in 2009 by Rivals); Desmond Hollin (6-3, 270, Jr., 3-star, unranked JUCO in 2013 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. If not for the transfers of Justin Renfrow and David Gilbert for Miami, the talent gap here would be much wider than it already is. FSU has three 5-star recruits in its defensive line rotation and three highly-touted 4-stars that were top five at their respective positions. UM doesn't have any 5-star recruits on the d-line and only two who were top five at their respect positions in Chickillo and McCord.

> What's happened: That all being said, UM's front is vastly improved from a year ago. UM ranks 39th in run defense (141.7 yards per game) has tallied 22 sacks (the Canes had 13 all of last season). FSU's run defense ranks 29th (135.7 yards per game) and the Seminoles have produced 17 sacks with only five coming from their linemen. All that being said, Jernigan is the highest-rated NFL prospect of all the current draft-eligible defensive linemen in this game. ESPN ranks him second among DTs. CBS Sports rates him sixth best among and a potential second rounder. McAllister is next at 11th among DTs according to ESPN.

> Real edge: FSU, but not as widely as people think. For all the hype FSU's linemen got out of high school, only Jernigan has been a consistent force up front. Miami does its work collectively, but still gets the majority of its pass rush from third-down specialists like McCord and not enough from its starters. FSU has produced 19 quarterback hurries this season and only allowed five. UM has produced 13 QB hurries and allowed 17.

LINEBACKERS

> Miami: MLB Jimmy Gaines (6-3, 240, Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals); Raphael Kirby (6-0, 235, So., 4-star, No. 5 OLB in 2012 by Rivals); OLB Tyrone Cornelius (6-2, 225, Sr., 3-star, No. 38 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Denzel Perryman (6-0, 240, Jr., 3-star, No. 25 ILB in 2011 by Rivals); Alex Figueroa (6-3, 235, Fr., No stars, no ranking in 2012 by Rivals; Thurston Armbrister (6-3, 233, Jr., No stars, no ranking in 2011 by Rivals)

> FSU: MLB Terrance Smith (6-4, 215, R-So., 3-star, No. 18 OLB in 2011 by Rivals); OLB Christian Jones (6-4, 235, Sr., 5-star, No. 2 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Telvin Smith (6-3, 218, Sr., 4-star, No. 18 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Reggie Northrup (6-1, 220, So., 4-star, No. 30 OLB in 2012 by Rivals); Dan Hicks (6-4, 260, R-Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2009 by Rivals); Ukeme Eligwe (6-2, 240, R-Fr., 4-star, No. 2 OLB in 2012 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. It's almost puzzling how Miami has managed to survive at linebacker considering the of lack of talent recruited for the position. Gaines, recruited by former assistant John Lovett, had only a couple other offers (Buffalo, UConn and Syracuse). Figueroa didn't have any offers and Armbrister, a converted safety, was a late addition by Golden.

> What's happened: Gaines has developed into a lot more than anyone really expected, tallying 158 tackles in 21 career starts. Perryman, the only Butkus semifinalist in the ACC, has blossomed into UM's best defensive player despite being thrown into the fire right away as an undersized freshman. CBSSports rates him as the eighth-best draft-eligible outside linebacker and a potential second or third round pick in April. FSU's Jones, meanwhile, sits atop the board as the top projected inside linebacker by CBSSports and a second round pick. Teammate Telvin Smith ranks 12th among outside linebackers and a potential fourth rounder.

> Real edge: FSU. Jones (33 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks) and Smith (49 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 sack) are elite players. UM has one in Perryman and a couple overachievers. It should be noted by the way Jones plays a lot of defensive end, too and told reporters in Tallahassee this week he sees himself as a defensive end now.

SECONDARY

> Miami: CB Tracy Howard (5-11, 184, So., 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2012 by Rivals); Ladarius Gunter (6-2, 196, Jr., 3-star, unranked JUCO in 2012); Antonio Crawford (5-11, 187, So., 3-star, unranked CB by Rivals); Artie Burns (6-0, 190, Fr., 4-star, No. 15 CB in 2013 by Rivals); S Kacy Rodgers (6-2, 212, Sr., 3-star, No. 37 CB in 2010 by Rivals); Rayshawn Jenkins (6-1, 208, So., 3-star, No. 32 S in 2012 by Rivals); Deon Bush (6-1, 203, So., 4-star, No. 6 S in 2012 by Rivals); AJ Highsmith (6-0, 208, Sr., 3-star, unranked ATH in 2009 by Rivals).

> FSU: CB Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 190, Sr. 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2010 by Rivals); P.J. Williams (6-0, 190, So., 4-star, No. 9 S in 2012 by Rivals); Ronald Darby (5-11, 190, So., 4-star, No. 2 CB in 2012 by Rivals); Nick Waisome (5-10, 176, Jr., 4-star, No. 8 CB in 2011 by Rivals); S Jalen Ramsey (6-1, 195, Fr., 5-star, No. 3 CB in 2013 by Rivals); Terrence Brooks (5-11, 200, Sr., 3-star, No. 45 CB by Rivals in 2010); Keelin Smith (6-3, 185, R-So., 3-star, No. 34 CB in 2011 by Rivals); Nate Andrews (5-11, 208, Fr., 3-star, unranked ATH in 2013 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. Outside of Howard, Burns and Bush, Miami's secondary is made up of mid-level talent according to recruiting gurus. While FSU has two five star recruits starting (one at corner and one at safety) and the rest of its corners are all four-star prospects.

> What's happened: FSU has allowed the fewest passing yards in the country (153.7), ranks fifth in passing efficiency defense (97.34), has 29 pass breakups and 10 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns). Joyner, a player FSU took out of UM's backyard at St. Thomas Aquinas, has been dominant. He's posted 27 tackles, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 3 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles in his senior season and is projected to be the second free safety taken in April's draft according to CBS Sports. Brooks, his teammate, has 22 tackles, 4 PBUs, 2 FF and 2 INTs. He's projected to be a third or fourth rounder. UM ranks 17th in pass defense (200.6 yards per game) 10th in passing efficiency defense) and has 22 passes broken up and 12 interceptions. Howard leads the way with three.

> Real edge: FSU. Miami, obviously a lot younger than FSU in the secondary, didn't look good against the one good pass offense it faced in North Carolina, which completed 74.4 percent of its passes for 395 yards. Tight end Eric Ebron abused Miami. FSU hasn't had a bad game yet in pass defense and held Tahj Boyd and Clemson to only 203 yards passing. Opponents are only completing passes at a 52.2 percent clip against FSU, which is also allowing only 5.2 yards per attempt.

SPECIAL TEAMS

> Miami: K Matt Goudis (6-0, 172, So., 2-star, No. 13 kicker in 2011 by Rivals); P Pat O'Donnell (6-5, 220, Gr., 2-star, unranked in 2009 by Rivals); KR/PR Stacy Coley (6-1, 180, Fr., 4-star, No. 13 WR in 2013 by Rivals); KR Duke Johnson (5-9, 196, So., 5-star, No. 1 all-purpose running back by Rivals in 2012).

> FSU: K Roberto Aguayo (6-1, 203, R-Fr., 3-star, No. 3 kicker in 2012 by Rivals); P Cason Beatty (6-3, 229, So. 2-star, unranked kicker in 2012 by Rivals); KR Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 180, Sr., 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2010 by Rivals); KR Karlos Williams (6-1, 223, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 safety in 2011 by Rivals.com); PR Kenny Shaw (6-0, 170, Sr., 4-star, No. 14 WR in 2010 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: None really. But it is noteworthy Aguayo got a three-star rating. Kickers rarely do.

> What's happened: The Hurricanes lead the nation in kickoff return average thanks to Johnson (29.23 average) and Coley (1 kick return for a TD). FSU does a better job on punt returns (29th, 11.79 yard average) compared to UM (62nd, 8.09 yard average). When it comes to punting, O'Donnell (45.67 average) has saved the Hurricanes a couple times with big kicks. Beatty is averaging 40.3 yards a punt. Aguayo has converted all 58 kicks in his career (10 field goals, 48 PATs) and has a career-long of 45 yards. Goudis also hit a 45-yard field goal against Wake Forest, but has missed his last two kicks from 40 yards or more (43 and 40).

> Real edge: Even. Both teams have explosive return men and Miami has an edge with O'Donnell. But if it comes down to making a big kick Aguayo has the stronger track record.

> HERE IS A LINK TO THE COMPLETE LIST OF DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYERS FOR UM IN 2014

> HERE IS A LINK TO THE COMPLETE LIST OF DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYERS FOR FSU IN 2014

Counting stars: A breakdown of UM-FSU on offense by talent, recruiting hype

Florida State and Miami has always been a huge game not only because of the rivalry, but because of the recruiting stakes involved in the game.

Nowadays, recruits pick schools for a lot of different reasons (playing time, relationship with the coach recruiting him, etc.). Still, to the winner usually go the spoils because perception is whoever wins this game and looks better playing in it is closer to the ultimate prize: a national championship. And that always has ripple effects in recruiting -- usually with high school underclassmen and not seniors (many of which have already made their minds up by now).

That being said, this isn't a breakdown of which recruits are on the fence for UM and FSU heading into February's National Signing Day. That on the fence deal doesn't really exist anymore since players commit so early and classes are usually filled by now.

Rather, this is a breakdown of the perceived talent versus talent in Saturday's game. Who has more stud recruits and where are they on the field? Making recruiting evaluations is hardly a perfect science. But when you watch the game Saturday night take note of some of the items in this blog so you can keep count of who was supposed to be the better recruit in head-to-head battles.

QUARTERBACKS

> Miami: Stephen Morris (6-2, 218, Sr., 3-star, No. 26 Dual-Threat QB in 2010 by Rivals)

> FSU: Jameis Winston (6-4, 228, R-Fr., 5-star, No. 1 Dual-Threat QB in 2012 by Rivals)

> What's happened: Winston (69.9 comp. pct, 2,177 yards, 23 TDs, 4 iNTs) has obviously lived up to all the hype with a stellar first season as the starter after being recruited to FSU by former recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig (now at Auburn). Winston is already among the favorites in the Heisman race and projected to be a first rounder in the NFL.

Although an ankle injury has slowed the preseason hype down around Morris (he won MVP honors at the Manning Passing Camp and is now ranked 7th among draft eligible QBs by ESPN), people forget how much Morris (59.9 comp. pct., 1,463 yards, 10 TDs, 8 INTs in 2013) has grown during his time at Miami. When he chose to play for Mark Whipple the summer before his senior season his other top two offers were Virginia and Purdue. Where would UM be without Morris today? Probably not in the Top 25 rankings.

> Recruiting edge: FSU. In case someone gets hurt, backup Jacob Coker (3-stars, No. 18 pro-style QB in 2012 by Rivals) is considered a better talent than UM backup and Memphis transfer Ryan Williams (6-5, 223, Jr., 2-stars, unranked among QBs). Although Williams has played better this season in spot duty.

> Real edge: FSU. Hard to argue with what Winston is doing right now even with what the ankle injury has done to Morris.

RUNNING BACKS

> Miami: Duke Johnson (5-9, 196, So., 5-star, No. 1 all-purpose running back by Rivals in 2012); Dallas Crawford (5-10, 194, R-So., 3-star, No. 27 cornerback in 2011 by Rivals); Maurice Hagens (5-11, 250, Sr., 3-star, No. 8 fullback in 2011 by Rivals).

> FSU: Devonta Freeman (5-9, 203, Jr., 4-star, No. 10 running back by Rivals in 2012); James Wilder (6-2, 229, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 running back in 2012 by Rivals); Karlos Williams (6-1, 223, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 safety in 2011 by Rivals.com).

> What's happened: Johnson, who committed to Randy Shannon before news of pending NCAA sanctions broke, has been an instant superstar upon his arrival. He's averaged nearly 7 yards a carry in his career and been a nightmare to stop on kickoff returns while proving to be one of the country's best all-purpose threats. Crawford, who switched over from defensive back, led UM to a come-from-behind win at North Carolina with Johnson out and has proven to be better than your average backup (65 carries, 295 yards, team-leading 9 TDs rushes).

Freeman, whom UM made a very late push for once coach Al Golden took over the program, has broken out this season (87 carries, 561 yards, 6 TDs) with a career-best 6.4 yards per carry average. A linebacker and running back in high school, Miami never really pushed for Wilder. Despite a mediocre college career (41 att., 226 yards, 2 TDs, 5.5 average in 2013) is the only FSU draft-eligible running back on ESPN's big board (he ranks 14th). Williams, who made the switch to running back this season after starting for the first time in the ACC championship gmae at linebacker, leads FSU with 7.9 yards a carry (44 carries, 349 yards, 7 TDs).

> Recruiting edge: FSU by the numbers. A pair of 5-star talents and a 4-star running back who lead your team in rushing compared to one 5-star running back and a converted three-star defensive back.

> Real edge: UM. Sure, FSU has more depth. But tell me someone who wouldn't take Johnson over any of FSU's running backs.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

> Miami: WRs Allen Hurns (6-3, 195, Sr., 3-star, No. 60 WR in 2010 by Rivals); Herb Waters (6-2, 193, So. 3-star, No. 50 WR in 2012 by Rivals); Stacy Coley (6-1, 180, Fr., 4-star, No. 13 in 2013 by Rivals); Malcolm Lewis (6-0, 187, So., 4-star, No. 28 WR in 2012 by Rivals); Rashawn Scott (6-2, 199, Jr., 3-star, unranked in 2011 by Rivals); TEs: Clive Walford (6-4, 259, R-Jr., 3-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals); Asante Cleveland (6-5, 260, Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals).

> FSU: WRs Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 234, r-So., 4-star, No. 8 WR in 2011 by Rivals); Kenny Shaw (6-0, 170, Sr., 4-star, No. 14 WR in 2010 by Rivals), Rashad Greene (6-0, 180, Jr., 4-star, No. 29 WR in 2011 by Rivals); Christian Green (6-2, 200, r-Jr., 4-star, No. 7 ATH in 2010 by Rivals); TEs Nick O'Leary (6-3, 248, Jr. , 4-star, No. 1 TE in 2011 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. This is a case where FSU went out and recruited well, developed players and they've lived up to the hype. UM went hard after Benjamin (23 catches, 430 yards, 5 TDs), O'Leary (17-307, 6 TDs) and got Greene (39-690, 8 TDs) to take an official visit in January, but FSU won the recruiting war.

> What's happened: With Winston throwing them the football, FSU's top four receivers are all averaging at or near 18 yards a catch. Outside of the much-hyped Coley (who picked UM over FSU), the Hurricanes have taken mid-level recruiting talent and developed it nicely. Hurns (28 catches, 506 yards, 2 TDs to lead the team) has become Morris' favorite target on third downs along with Walford (17-244, 2 TDs). Coley (17-278, 3 TDs) is just beginning to hit his stride now. Although the loss of Phillip Dorsett (3-star, No. 38 WR in 2011 by Rivals) hurts the Canes, Lewis and Scott returning to full health should help them down the stretch this season.

> Real edge: FSU. More players catch passes for Miami, but the foursome FSU has at the top is nightmarish.

> Future: Of all the draft-eligible receivers in this game, FSU's Rashad Greene rates the highest according to NFL scouts. He's currently ranked 19th by NFLDraftScout.com. Hurns is UM's highest-ranked draft-eligible receiver at 38 by NFLDraftScout.com. Coley could ultimately be the biggest star down the road in the NFL.

OFFENSIVE LINE

> Miami: LT Ereck Flowers (6-6, 315, So., 4-star, No. 20 OT in 2012 by Rivals); LG Jon Feliciano (6-5, 318, rJr., 3-star, No. 55 OT in 2010 by Rivals); C Shane McDermott (6-4, 296, Jr., 3-star, No. 31 OC in 2010 by Rivals); RG Jared Wheeler (6-5, 319, Sr., 3-star, No. 43 OG in 2009 by Rivals); RT Brandon Linder (6-6, 319, Sr., 4-star, No. 3 OC in 2010 by Rivals); RT Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 345, Sr. 5-star, No. 1 OT in 2010 by Rivals); OL Malcolm Bunche (6-7, 327, rJr., 4-star, unranked in 2010 after prep school).

> FSU: LT Cameron Erving (6-6, 320, rJr., 3-star, unranked DT in 2010 by Rivals); LG Josue Matias (6-6, 322, Jr., 4-star, No. 25 OT in 2011 by Rivals); C Bryan Stork (6-4, 300, rSr., 3-star, No. 26 TE in 2010 by Rivals); RG Tre' Jackson (6-4, 330, Jr., 3-star, No. 60 DT in 2011 by Rivals); RT Bobby Hart (6-4, 315, Jr., 4-star, No. 8 OT in 2011 by Rivals); OG Ruben Carter (6-4, 309, R-So., 3-star, No. 29 OG in 2011 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: Miami. Henderson, who lost his spot in the starting rotation after another suspension (something he's battled throughout his career) recently, was no doubt the most highly-touted offensive lineman any of these teams signed. But the Hurricanes earn the edge here not because of him, but overall depth and natural ability. FSU had to convert some players into offensive linemen including Irving, who now the clear-cut NFL top prospect in the group. CBS Sports currently has Irving to projected to go 10th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

> Real edge: Miami slightly. The Hurricanes have put up better numbers this season in pass protection allowing only six sacks compared to FSU's 15 (Winston has been sacked 12 times, preferring to eat it than throw it up). But when it comes to running the football UM (214.71 yards per game, 19 TDs) and FSU (212.29 yards per game, 22 TDs) are about dead even.

> Future: Stork ranks 4th among draft-eligible linemen at center by ESPN. Henderson (8th among OTs by ESPN) is the highest-rated draft eligible tackle in this game. Linder ranks 11th at guard according to ESPN.

CHECK BACK FOR THE DEFENSIVE AND SPECIAL TEAMS BREAKDOWNS