By: Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
A month removed from the end of the regular season and this offseason has already been filled with plenty of turbulence. This offseason is now in full swing as signing day and spring practice approach, and Florida State fans have a lot of questions on their mind. I am going to answer some of the most frequent questions that I have been asked lately.
1) How have the coaching defections, especially James Coley, affected recruiting?
Well, there is no way that a team can lose six assistant coaches and not be penalized on the recruiting front. In most cases, coaches begin recruiting these high school stars while they are in their sophomore year of high school. This means that by the time their senior year rolls around, they have developed a 3-year relationship with a team’s coach. When the Noles got stripped of their six assistants I definitely expected more turnover on the recruiting front. Surprisingly, FSU has only lost two commitments through all of this adversity but losing James Coley will greatly diminish the Noles presence in South Florida until coach Fisher hires someone with strong ties to the Liberty City. As of now, Coley’s departure seems to have affected the 2014 class more than this current 2013 class and his loss can be overcome with the 2014 kids as they still have a entire year to build relationships with the new staff. The Noles currently sit in good position with the Miami Booker T. Washington duo, Matthew Thomas (5-star linebacker) and Denver Kirkland (4-star Offensive Tackle) despite Coley being their main recruiter while he was at FSU.
2) Where do the Noles sit going into the final week of recruiting?
With one week left in this up and down recruiting season the new Florida State staff will be scrambling to fill up the positions of need. FSU is in dire need for offensive line depth in due part to the early departure of right tackle Menelik Watson. With right tackle depth being scarce before Watson’s exit, the Seminole coaching staff must bring in a solid haul on the offensive line or a single injury on the O-line could become a major achilles heel. Unfortunately the weakest position of this class is offensive line, especially with the decommitment of Austin Golson (4-star Offensive Tackle). This class will not turn heads like the classes of years past, but it will look to fill the needs and build depth to an already strong roster. Fans are always worried about bringing in a top-10 class, but anything in the top-20 is always a solid group of athletes.
3) What are the key position battles going into spring ball?
Everyone sees this question and immediately thinks about the quarterback battle. Obviously that is the most intriguing battle as Clint Trickett has the best knowledge of the playbook, but will have to hold off more athletic youngsters in Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker. Winston is juggling baseball and spring football so I don’t expect him to make a run at the starting spot until fall camp. I think Trickett and Coker will be tied at the top coming out of spring ball and the battle will carry over to fall camp. While the quarterback competition is the most intriguing, the most important battle will be for the right tackle position. No matter who the quarterback is, the protection from the o-line will be the root of their success. With Watson bolting for the draft I expect starting center Bryan Stork to slide outside to that spot, as he practiced all of last spring at this spot. Junior Bobby Hart will not let Stork take this spot without a fight, as he was the starting right tackle as a freshman before being passed up last season as a sophomore. Keep your eyes on the O-line this offseason because a lot of guys will be shuffled around in order to keep the new quarterback’s jersey clean.
4) Where are the top Noles projected to go in the NFL Draft?
Pre-combine mock drafts are made with a lot of speculation, but the good news for Nole fans is Florida State has three players projected to go in the 1st round of Mel Kiper’s first mock draft. Bjoern Werner is almost a lock to go within the first five picks, as Xavier Rhodes and Menelik Watson are the other two players falling in round 1. If it weren’t for an ACL tear late in the season, Tank Carradine would be another Nole projected in the 1st round. As the draft approaches and the combine and pro days are completed, the future of these former Noles will become clearer.
Send your Seminole related questions to me on twitter at @aturko_23 for my future mailbags and make sure to tune into 1010XL all day Wednesday, February 6th for non-stop coverage of National Signing day.
Return to: 1010XL Seminoles Blog Blog