Florida State Seminoles: Blake McClain

Signing day winners and losers

February, 5, 2014
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The ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off once again. And with that, the Class of 2014 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners but also some losers on national signing day. Here is a look at a few schools that excelled -- and a couple others that didn't.

THE WINNERS

LSU: The Tigers began the day at No. 3 in the RecruitingNation class rankings and ended with 2014's No. 2 class. The reason is simple: Les Miles and staff got the prospect they had to have in the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian). The Tigers lost both Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson to the NFL, making defensive tackle a key position of need, and they inked a pair of talented tackles in ESPN 300 Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnant Catholic) and four-star Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren). Under the radar but significant is three-star defensive end Sione Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller), who flipped from Texas to LSU. Teuhema’s younger brother Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller) is the No. 38 junior in the ESPN Junior 300 and has pledged to LSU as well. Holding off Auburn and UCLA to keep ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine) was another win on Wednesday.

Florida State: The Seminoles entered signing day with the No. 4-ranked class but were poised to close with a vengeance, and Jimbo Fisher and staff did just that. While the Seminoles moved up only one spot to No. 3, the hits on Wednesday are significant. Leading the way was No. 2-ranked wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). The Noles weren’t done at receiver either, as Fisher and staff flipped Virginia Tech commit and No. 117 overall Ja'Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen). No. 158 Roderick Johnson (Saint Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and No. 253 Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) were key gets at offensive tackle and defensive tackle, respectively. Three-star offensive tackle Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden) was another key win over rival Florida.

USC: The Trojans stood to have a big signing day, and Steve Sarkisian and staff certainly delivered. Not only did USC win the hotly contested battle for five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), but the Trojans won the race for ESPN 300 No. 24 Juju Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and signed No. 67 overall Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) as expected. More than the names and rankings, Wednesday was a huge perception win for the Trojans and Sarkisian. USC jumped to No. 14 from No. 24 in the RecruitingNation class rankings.

Georgia: The Bulldogs didn’t have a big day in terms of number of commits, but quality ruled the day. Mark Richt and staff signed the player they had to have in five-star outside linebacker/defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). While Carter’s announcement was the big one Wednesday afternoon, the morning started off with a bang for Georgia with the signing of No. 286 overall Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), who was first offered on Monday and never even visited Athens. Those two big signings kept the Bulldogs in the top 10 at No. 9.

South Carolina: One of the big movers in the class rankings on Wednesday was the Gamecocks. Not only did South Carolina make a jump from No. 27 to No. 19 throughout the day, but the Gamecocks also addressed major areas of need. Steve Spurrier and staff had key areas of need at cornerback and along the defensive front, and they delivered by picking up a pair of ESPN 300 corners in No. 87 overall Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and No. 120 Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), as well as flipping ESPN 300 defensive tackle Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) from Florida State and three-star defensive end Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) from Nebraska. Fighting off the late January runs by Alabama and Georgia for ESPN 300 linebacker commit Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) has to be included in the huge wins in recent days.

Kentucky: Sure, Kentucky plucked only one key target on Wednesday in three-star former Vanderbilt and Penn State defensive end commit Lloyd Tubman (Louisville, Ky./Seneca), but it was still a huge day at the finish line for the Wildcats. The 2014 class marks the first time in the nine years that ESPN has ranked recruiting classes that the Wildcats have finished with a top 25 class, and that includes a big win over Alabama for in-state four-star defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin). Signing six defensive backs fills a huge need as well.

Michigan State: The Spartans had a near dream season on the field, and followed it up by closing strong in recruiting. Not only did Michigan State jump nine spots in the class rankings from No. 38 to No. 29 on Wednesday, but it did so while filling a big need on the defensive front with big-time talent. ESPN 300 defensive end Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) was a big win over Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan, while flipping four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) from Wisconsin earlier in the week was another huge win for the Spartans.

Pac-12: The conference as a whole was quite possibly the big winner on signing day. Of the 13 live commitments on ESPNU throughout the morning and afternoon, seven committed and signed with Pac-12 programs. The winner within the Pac-12 was USC, but Stanford also enjoyed a big day with No. 25 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and three-star corner Terrence Alexander (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian).

THE LOSERS

UCLA: Along with USC and South Carolina, the UCLA Bruins came into today with the most to gain. While Jim Mora and staff scored with four-star linebacker Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), it was mostly misses throughout the day. Jackson and Smith picked crosstown rival USC, while Dupre opted for home-state LSU. At defensive end, the Bruins missed out twice on Wednesday with Thomas selecting Stanford and Godchaux sticking with LSU. And finally, No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) stayed in state by picking Alabama over Auburn.

Ole Miss: It’s difficult to place the Rebels' No. 17 class with the losers on signing day, but that was the case in Oxford, Miss. Not only did Ole Miss drop a spot in the class rankings, but it also came up dry with explosive ESPN 300 receiver and return man Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), after Hugh Freeze and staff worked the Under Armour All-America Game standout all the way up until Wednesday morning before McKenzie announced for Georgia. While Dupre was a long shot, he was yet another prospect who went elsewhere. The Rebels also lost out on Alexander, who selected Stanford over Notre Dame. The bright spot for the Rebels on Wednesday was signing former Notre Dame transfer and No. 22 in the ESPN JC 50, Tee Shepard
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Nebraska hosted several 2014 prospects on the final visit weekend before signing day. Hoping to fill a few remaining spots, the coaching staff got one step closer to closing out this class.

Three-star defensive end Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) committed to Nebraska on Saturday while on his visit.

McClain tweeted out a “Boom,” similar to what the Nebraska coaches tweet when landing a commitment. The Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald confirmed his commitment.

He was the second "boom" of the day as 2015 defensive back Eric Lee (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) also committed to the Cornhuskers while visiting.

McClain had recently been committed to Florida State, but decommitted and moved quickly on his recent decision. Before the visit, McClain had said he would wait until after signing day to make a decision, but that obviously changed while on his visit to Lincoln.

The 6-foot-3, 258-pound defensive end will join high school teammate Chris Jones at Nebraska and helps fill the void from losing former defensive end commit Darius Slade, who flipped to Michigan State.

McClain gives Nebraska 24 commitments for 2014, five on the defensive line.

Summer recruit wrap: Florida State 

July, 23, 2013
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NoleNation looks at 10 themes of Florida State's 2014 recruiting class to date:

FSU recruiting: Positions of need 

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
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NoleNation takes a quick look at five positions of need in this 2014 recruiting class.

Offensive tackle

Florida State enters this 2013 with only one certain starter at offensive tackle. Cam Erving, the starting left tackle, is a redshirt junior and could very well jump to the NFL draft after this season, given his high projections. Bobby Hart has played a lot in his first two seasons and could end up being the right tackle. From the Class of 2013, just Wilson Bell is capable of playing tackle, but could just as well end up on the interior depending on how things shake out.

Commitments: Ethan Frith (Summit, Miss./North Pike)

Top targets: Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central)


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Now that five-star defensive tackle Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) has verbally committed to Virginia, his other four finalists -- Alabama, FSU, Virginia Tech and Clemson -- are forced to look in other directions. Here's a closer look at some of the targets they are considering:


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FSU instant impact recruits 

June, 25, 2013
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NoleNation takes a look at 10 prospects -- committed or uncommitted -- that could make an immediate impact at Florida State next season.

LB Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood)
HT/WT: 6-foot-3/243 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 36
Not only is Daub one of the top prospects in the state of Florida, he's also going to be an early enrollee. He has been to Tallahassee numerous times since he committed to get familiar with the personnel and coaches. Signs point to him playing in year one.


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It's Rankings Week at Nole Nation, and each day we'll be counting down the top teams, players and matchups of the 2013 season. In our last installment, we look at FSU's top recruiting needs for the Class of 2014.

1. Offensive tackle

It's been a relatively prolonged dry spell on the recruiting trail for FSU when it comes to the offensive line, with tackle in particular being a concern. As it stands, the Seminoles have three natural tackles projected on the roster beyond 2013, but Bobby Hart remains a wild card after an up-and-down two years, Wilson Bell has yet to arrive on campus and Cameron Erving could be headed to the NFL early if he turns in a strong junior campaign. Florida State needs to make a splash with this class, adding not only at least one or two game-ready options, but depth as well.

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Regardless of what happens with 2013 five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas, the Seminoles’ linebacker recruiting continues to excel.

Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby) is a terrific local option, and Florida State capitalized on Wednesday. Pugh’s extensive offer list which includes powers in the SEC, ACC and Big Ten, as well as Notre Dame and USC speaks to that.


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Spring evaluation period guide 

April, 17, 2013
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Spring practice is over in Tallahassee, but it is hardly time to sit around and relax for the Florida State coaches. Beginning this week, the spring evaluation period is in full swing. Miles will be logged on the ground and in the air to see just about everyone on the recruiting board.

Here are a few places that Jimbo Fisher and his coaching staff will travel and players they will pursue during the next six weeks.


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NoleNation links: AD's vision; new commit

March, 6, 2013
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NoleNation has more coverage of the Florida State Seminoles:

From David M. Hale: FSU athletics director Randy Spetman has done a lot to retrofit the Seminoles' program while constantly keeping an eye on an uncertain future and a pesky fanbase.

From Corey Dowlar: Florida State added its seventh commitment of the 2014 class with defensive end Blake McClain.

More from Dowlar Insider: FSU DE commit Blake McClain had the athleticism, but hitting the weights has added a power element to his game.

FSU DE commit sees big transformation 

March, 6, 2013
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Blake McClain's (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) physical transformation has come a long way in less than a year's time.

He was always a bigger kid, of course. But not like he is now. Before this season, he showed his athletic prowess with finesse and quickness. Now he has added a power element.


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As it turns out, Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) was a little late on his deadline for a commitment.

The 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end heavily favored Florida State following his junior day visit in mid-February and nearly committed to Jimbo Fisher then.

"This close," McClain said back on Feb. 16. "This close. But I am going to wait until next week."

Fisher had to wait longer than expected, but got McClain’s commitment all the same, ESPN has confirmed.

While in Tallahassee, McClain got comfortable with the Seminoles after feeling something different, something he hadn't felt anywhere else while on visits.

"I visited over the summer and the experience there, I mean, it was nothing like this," he said of a visit to in-state rival Florida. "All I did was go to a game and they showed me around some of the campus, but here (FSU) they just treated us like we were part of the family. That was a big factor."

North Carolina was perceived to be one of the Seminoles biggest threats in the McClain sweepstakes. But LSU, too, entered late as his most recent offer.

Alabama, Auburn and West Virginia had also extended offers.

McClain's commitment to the Seminoles gives them their sixth for their rapidly-changing commitment list.

McClain would join young defensive ends Davarez Bryant, Chris Casher and Mario Edwards once on campus at a major position of need.

His pledge could have added significance given that ESPN Watch List inside linebacker Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) is McClain's high school teammate. Daub has Florida State in his top two schools along with Alabama.

Assistant coaches Jeremy Pruitt and Odell Haggins have contributed in the recruitment of both prospects.

McClain nearly commits on visit 

February, 17, 2013
2/17/13
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) nearly made his declaration on Saturday.


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