By: Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
Basketball scouts call him the best high school prospect since Lebron James; Noles fans call him a pipe dream. The nation’s number one basketball recruit, Andrew Wiggins, committed to the University of Kansas on Tuesday crushing the dreams of Florida State coaches and fans.
I was skeptical to believe that the Seminoles led for the services of this all-decade player, but I couldn’t help but be quietly excited about the possibility of having a player of this caliber come to Tallahassee. The hype surrounding him would have immediately put Florida State’s mediocre basketball program on the map, and possibly in contention. With the additions of former Big East powerhouses, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, Wiggins would have given the Noles the boost needed to compete at a high level in this prestigious basketball conference.
Unfortunately, Wiggins signed with Kansas, further enhancing their own tradition of producing great players, teams, and championships. The inevitable step for Leonard Hamilton and his Seminole basketball team is to move on with his current team and not get caught up in what could have been.
At the end of the day, Florida State basketball is the third sport of importance to the administration behind football and baseball. The basketball program lacks the support and funds to bring this program to the top. It’s evident that FSU cannot duke it out for a top recruit, as Wiggins was their first, and possible last chance at such a high profile player. Even with both of his parents being athletes and alumni of Florida State, the Noles just couldn’t offer the same things as the traditional basketball powerhouses could.
The Civic Center is in major need of an upgrade, but the estimates were around $100 million, much more than the basketball program is capable of being awarded. I tip my hat to Leonard Hamilton and the staff, as they gave it their best fight to reel in such a talented player, but in the end it was an insurmountable task when the “big boys” came knocking on Wiggins door. Florida State will have to make do with their current players, which are not lacking in talent.
There is still good news for Hamilton, as he is bringing in two extremely talented high school players that should be able to find the court early on as freshman. Hamilton is notorious for having a large rotation and letting numerous guys get into the action, allowing freshman to get a taste of the limelight from an early age. This strategy bodes well for the two recruits, Jarquez Smith and Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Smith is a 6 foot 9 power forward who is extremely talented defensively as well as offensively. He averages a double-double, along with an eye opening 7.5 blocks per game. He could come in for the Seminoles and provide some athletic power along with much needed strength to the power forward position. Possibly moving Okaro White to small forward, where he would be a mismatch problem for opponents. Though White is 6 foot 8 himself, he has a slender build, causing him to get knocked around by bigger players. He is extremely athletic for his size and could really be a thorn in a lot of teams’ side if he was moved to the 3 spot where he would be bigger than his opponents.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes is a high school teammate and childhood friend of Andrew Wiggins, furthering many people’s speculations that Wiggins would choose FSU. However, Rathan-Mayes is a talented player in his own right. He is the ideal shooting guard that has good ball handling, court vision, and a pure quick release shot. In his game tape, I was excited to see his ability to create dribble penetration. Many shooters in the past were almost liabilities to the offense when they were not on fire because they could not dribble (Dulkys and Wisnant come to mind). Xavier has also shown impressive court vision darting passes into the lane from the top of the key to a cutting teammate.
With the Seminoles consistently lacking offensive zest, it will be nice to have dynamic players like XRM and Jarquez Smith on our side. The Seminoles were extremely young last year, and if healthy, could be competitive this upcoming season in the new-look ACC.
Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
Florida State has 15 draft eligible prospects that hope to hear their name called in this weekend’s NFL draft. There is an outside shot that five former Seminoles will be drafted Thursday night in the first round. Having such a large group of athletes move on to the NFL speaks volumes to the turn-around that coach Jimbo Fisher has performed in Tallahassee.
In the past six years, only three Seminoles gone in the first round. This year the Noles’ could have that many players go within the first 32 picks, which would be an testament to the Seminole coaching staff on the evaluation of talent and then developing them into great players. Jimbo Fisher will be in New York to support his four former players that made the trip to Radio City Music Hall. Producing that many NFL players is a huge recruiting tool because you can show players that if they decide to play at FSU they have a good shot at achieving their goal to play in the NFL.
Here are my projected Seminoles to go in the first round.
Pick 13. New York Jets- Xavier Rhodes Cornerback
I think that this could be a tad early for Rhodes, but if the Jets are unable to trade up to get Dee Milliner, I believe that they nab the physical corner from Florida State with their second first round pick (they have the 9 pick also). Rhodes has a very similar skillset to the recently departed Darrelle Revis, but actually has a bigger frame. Both players like to jam at the line of scrimmage and have excellent hands. I think that Rhodes would complement Antonio Cromartie very well to give the Jets a good secondary to match-up with their division foe New England Patriots.
Pick 19. New York Giants- Cornellius “Tank” Carradine Defensive End
Picture Justin Tuck, Jason Perrie-Paul and Carradine rushing the quarterback! The Giants lost pass rushing specialists Osi Umenyiora (D-end) and Chris Canty (D-tackle) in free agency and would love to add an elite player that plays well against both the run and the pass. Tank tore his ACL in the final regular season game against Florida and has already recovered enough to work out for scouts. He displayed an impressive work ethic by recovering from an ACL tear in about 5 months. Tank is extremely strong and can set the edge against the run but is also surprisingly fast (ran a 4.75 forty) and can cover a lot of ground on offensive players. Carradine also has shown his ability to get after the quarterback, posting and impressive 11 sacks last season. Tank Carradine reminds me of Justin Tuck and putting them on the same roster along with the best young pass-rusher in the NFL in Perrie-Paul, this pick makes a lot of sense.
Pick 22. St. Louis Rams- Menelik Watson Offensive Tackle
I have the Rams taking Tavon Austin with their first pick at 16, then having them taking Watson to improve the weak right tackle position where he would be an upgrade over Rodger Saffold. The Rams picked up Jake Long in free agency so adding the athletic Watson to play on the right should keep the injury-prone quarterback Sam Bradford upright.
Pick 30. Atlanta Falcons- Bjoern Werner Defensive End
Werner has slipped in this draft process but shouldn’t fall out of the first round. He has an elite motor and quick burst off the line, and uses his hands about as well as anyone in the country. The Falcons picked up Osi Umenyoira in free agency, but Osi is strictly a pass rusher on third downs, or obvious passing downs. The Falcons lost effective veteran, John Abraham this year and adding Werner will give them a young talent to play on the defensive line for years to come. Werner plays the run and pass equally well, and has never had any injury problems. If Werner makes it past the Colts, Vikings and Broncos, I think his talent is too impressive for the Falcons to pass on.
The Nole that just missed the first round
E.J. has been soaring up draft boards during the evaluation periods and people think that his potential alone is a reason to take a risk on him. I think if Manuel finds the right system and has the luxury of sitting behind a veteran for a couple years, he could have a successful career when his time comes. Some have Manuel sneaking into the first round but I have Geno Smith slipping in my mock draft, which causes the snowball effect, pushing Manuel out of the first round.
By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
The first thing I did when I saw the complete NFL schedule for the Jacksonville Jaguars was refocus my eyes and take another look.
The NFL did not do the team with the second worst record in the league last year any favors. I fact, when you look at the four road games in the first six weeks plus a trip to London and you wonder if the Jaguars did something to make the NFL hierarchy mad.
Denver, Seattle and San Francisco (although it is considered a home game in London) do not make Jaguars’ fans happy about the first half of the season. You figure teams like Buffalo, St. Louis and Arizona will be better.
The AFC South division yields two contests each against Tennessee, Houston and Indianapolis. All six games may be hell for the Jags this season. Cleveland and Kansas City are the only two games where we could expect to be “favored” before the opening kickoff.
It’s a huge journey this team will travel on and the magic carpet in Shad Khan’s master plan may not be strong enough to weather the bumps and bruises this team will feel this season.
Part of me feels sorry for the Jaguars. Part of me feels this is all part of the growing process.
Can the team weather the storm ahead? How will this team function against Oakland and Seattle on the West cCoast? Will Peyton Manning carve this team up again in Denver?
This just hurts to look at. I suppose the team just needs to grin and bear it and hope for good things to pull this team through. I can see five wins at best for this team. Possibly less but nothing more.
Hopefully, I can be proven wrong.
By: Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
Spring football concluded on Saturday with the annual Garnet and Gold game, as Jimbo Fisher and his new staff looked onto Bobby Bowden field searching for players that will contribute to his team come fall. Going into the game I was looking forward to seeing if the hype surrounding Jameis Winston was legit, and a chance to see this new defensive scheme first hand. Neither disappointed and in reviewing the game, I had a lot of my questions and concerns answered.
By: Nick O'Bryan (@doorstepJAX)
If you are concerned about the recent development of Clint Trickett leaving the Noles, you should stop. Personally, my main concern after the spring game was that Trickett, though a seasoned quarterback at this point, would never again take the field as an FSU quarterback. This situation is like having too many nice cars in your driveway, so the Mercedes Benz gets left out. It’s a good problem! Don’t believe me? Ask any Gator fan who the backup quarterback is over there in Gainesville. I promise a frown will come across their face, and you will see despair in their eyes.
As I explained in previous entries, I personally don’t believe that Clint Trickett was ever meant to be the starting quarterback at Florida State. He progressed farther than most people thought, and from what I hear he has a great understanding of the game. Perhaps he is a future quarterbacks coach, but it is hard to beat out a guy for the starting spot who is a 5 star recruit, and has the ideal size and physical strength the position demands. I think we can all agree as Seminole fans that we really like Trickett as a person. He is a great kid, and I hope he goes somewhere and has a great year. (As long as it’s not someone we play)
The other concern is that Clint’s father, Rick Trickett, may not be too happy about this and raise some hell. Well, to me Coach Trickett has a lot bigger things he needs to be worried about. As I wrote in my previous blog post, if the O-line doesn’t have a good year then Florida State will be going in a different direction. The lack of recruiting that has been done by Coach Trickett may end up being the reason for his departure from FSU; UNLESS the line can hold, stay healthy and perform well this year. If that happens…well, as Tiger says, “winning fixes everything.”