Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Signing day primer: Florida State
By Corey Dowlar
Who is leaving: Florida State is losing three top-flight defensive ends to the NFL draft this season, led by draft-eligible junior Bjoern Werner. Senior Tank Carradine's stock would have been much higher if not for a late knee injury in the regular season finale against Florida. Brandon Jenkins, who was lost for most of the 2012 season because of a foot injury, will also be heading to the pros.
The offensive line only loses one player, junior Menelik Watson, but it is a big one. He's likely to go in the first couple of rounds and had a major impact for Florida State in just one season.
Xavier Rhodes is the lone corner departing, but it's also a big one. Aside from Rhodes, the secondary will return largely intact.
Marquez White is Florida State's top-rated defensive back commitment.
Help is on the way: The Seminoles have two defensive ends -- maybe three depending on where DeMarcus Walker lines up -- committed to this class. Desmond Hollin, a juco end from ASA College in New York, should be ready to make an impact early because he is further along physically. Davin Bellamy, a speed rushing four-star recruit out of Georgia, might need time to develop but appears to have a bright future.
Austin Golson is the Seminoles' highest-rated offensive lineman at the moment as the nation's No. 3 offensive tackle. Behind him is Ira Denson at guard, also a four-star prospect.
Marquez White, an ESPN 300 prospect at corner, is the top-rated defensive back commitment to date. At 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, White has a little size about him, similar to Rhodes.
Other key commits: Florida State is bringing in several prospects at linebacker such as ESPN 300 members Ro'Derrick Hoskins, E.J. Levenberry and Freddie Stevenson. Stevenson, of course, is already on campus as an early enrollee. Tyrell Lyons is also another athletic linebacker who sits just outside of the ESPN 300 as a four-star player.
Wide receiver Jesus Wilson, a tremendous athlete in his own right capable of playing on both sides of the ball, could make an early impact because of the strength and size he's added. John Franklin, a dual-threat quarterback in high school, could be moved to wide receiver or defensive back at the next level.
Finally, Ryan Hoefeld, a relatively unknown player before last summer's camp, impressed the Seminoles coaching staff and earned an offer with his determination and ability.
Other key targets: Five-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas is the biggest fish still out there for Florida State. Thomas has had FSU in his top three for the entire process and the Seminoles are arguably in the pole position.
The country's top tackle, Laremy Tunsil, will visit Florida State before signing day but is likely headed to the SEC. Still, the Seminoles will at least get a shot at the five-star lineman from nearby Lake City, Fla.
Four-star wide receiver Stacy Coley is still on the market and the Seminoles are in good position there, too. He's the nation's No. 3 wide receiver.
Alex Collins, an ESPN 150 running back from South Florida, is also undeclared. FSU was once viewed as the favorite to land Collins, but the departure of assistant coach Eddie Gran has complicated matters for the Seminoles.
USC commitment Jalen Ramsey, the No. 14 prospect in the country and a shutdown corner, is still considering FSU. He took an official visit to Tallahassee in January and a decision could come between USC, Florida and Florida State as soon as next week.
Keith Bryant, an ESPN 150 defensive tackle from Delray Beach, Fla., has the Seminoles high on his list. If Walker ends up at defensive tackle, too, it will be another great haul for Odell Haggins on the interior of the defensive line.