Florida State chasing Tracy Howard
By Matthew Osborne
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin. Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page
Southern Pigskin recently chatted with Geoff Vogt of NoleDigest.com to get his take on Jimbo Fisher’s most recent class of recruits.
Since Jimbo Fisher became Florida State’s head coach following the end of 2009 season, the Seminoles have recruited as well as any program in the country. The Seminoles reeled in the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation in Fisher’s first year in Tallahassee, and Florida State is poised to bring in another elite recruiting class again in 2012.
To get a better understanding of Florida State’s current recruiting class, Southern Pigskin recently chatted with Geoff Vogt of NoleDigest.com to get his take on Coach Fisher’s most recent class of recruits.
Florida State will not have the top recruiting class in the nation again this year due to taking a smaller number of prospects, but could you argue that the 2012 class is actually better than the one that the Seminoles brought in last year?
“As it stands today, absolutely. One of the biggest needs in this class was the defensive end position, and they have three of the top four defensive ends in the country. How well you recruit your positions of need is a big thing when determining the strength of your recruiting class.”
There are currently four prospects listed as “soft verbals” to Florida State. How do the Seminoles feel about their chances of ultimately landing these recruits?
“The Scout.com policy is that when a recruit takes an official visit to another school he is automatically listed as a soft commit, which I think is a good policy. I think Florida State is very comfortable with the kids they have committed though.”
The Seminoles currently have 15 verbal commitments for this class. How many recruits are they expecting to sign on Signing Day?
“I think the number looks about 20. It could go as high as 23, but I guess it could be as low as 18. There will be 22-23 spots available as long as there are prospects who are interested.”
Who are some of their top prospects still on the board?
“Cornerback Tracy Howard from Miramar (FL), linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons from Valdosta (GA), offensive tackle Andrus Peat from Arizona, running back Barry Sanders Jr. from Oklahoma, offensive lineman Evan Goodman from Lakeland (FL) and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman from Washington D.C.”
Defensive line has been one of the biggest strengths for Florida State over the past couple of seasons, and the Seminoles have verbal commitments from four elite prospects in this class. Talk a little about the defensive linemen commits.
“Actually, defensive line had been a little bit of a weakness in the defense until the 2010 season. Right now, they have some talented guys like Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner. After the 2012 season, those players will be going to the NFL, so this wave of recruits will replace those guys. There is going to be a mass exodus on the defensive line at FSU after that year, and these defensive ends that have currently committed to Florida State will basically be the only defensive linemen on the roster at that time, so it will be important to land quality defensive linemen in next year’s class as well.”
Quarterback Jameis Winston is arguably the top current verbal commitment for the Seminoles, but there have been talks that he might skip playing college football in order to enter the MLB Draft. Have you heard anything that makes you think that he might be leaning in one direction?
“In terms of what sport he is going to play going forward, I think we are going to have to sit back and see what happens in the MLB draft. From what I have researched, a little of the MLB draft talk that I have seen is unfounded. He has already mentioned that he wants to play baseball and football at Florida State. He has talked to the baseball coach at Florida State and he’s obviously excited about Winston’s potential. At the end of the day, if he gets drafted and gets offered a million dollars or whatever they offer these days, that would be tough to turn down. My expectations are that he will play baseball and football at Florida State.”
Florida State is going to sign both a punter and a kicker in this class. Talk a little about the two specialists who have committed to the Seminoles.
“Dustin Hopkins is one of the top kickers in the country and Shawn Powell is one of the top punters in the country, so they are going to need to replace those guys. I went and saw Roberto Aguayo here from in-state at an all-star game recently, and he has a terrific leg. Cason Beatty might redshirt one year to wait for Hopkins to finish, but there is a chance that Hopkins might leave early, so he’ll have to be ready. They are not going to have their guard down after what has happened in the past, with Miami in particular.”
Is it safe to say that Florida State has surpassed Florida and Miami for the title of dominant recruiting power in the State of Florida?
“I would say yes. Since Jimbo Fisher has taken over he has beaten both Florida and Miami in both games, and that means a lot to the players in this state. He has also been at his schools for a year longer than Al Golden and Will Muschamp. As we know, things change very quickly in Florida, but right now they are recruiting at the top in the state.”