FSU Disappointing In Recruiting? Not So Fast

When Florida State won the national championship in January, many thought it would be an immediate boon for recruiting. It makes sense, too, considering top recruits always say they want to play for national titles, and Florida State clearly proved it’s one of the programs who can do that for the next few years.

That hasn’t necessarily been the case, though. According to Rivals, the Seminoles currently have 15 commitments on board (eighth in the ACC), six of which are 4-stars and one who is a 5-star. The class currently ranks No. 11 in the Rivals national team rankings, and eight programs have more 4- and 5-star recruits committed.

Obviously, Florida State’s 2015 class is far from bad. But to date, there hasn’t been the windfall of top-100 commitments like many Seminoles fans hoped for. 

Despite being the second-best class in the ACC so far, there’s a sense of dissatisfaction with the class Jimbo Fisher and his staff have constructed. Most of that pessimism stems from a mid-April run in which the Seminoles lost a handful of their top targets to Alabama and Auburn. It doesn’t help that Florida State hasn’t landed a true splash commitment in this cycle, either, as its highest-rated commit (Derwin James, the class’ only 5-star) pledged to the Seminoles way back in February of 2012. Not to mention, some of Florida State’s top competitors on the recruiting trail (Clemson and Auburn, for instance) are farther ahead than usual at this point, adding fuel to the unrest.

But history shows that Florida State fans should delay their disappointment. It’s been a trait of Fisher that he lands his biggest recruits later in the cycle, as opposed to programs like Texas and Alabama that fill their classes nearly entirely by the end of summer.

In four of Fisher’s five classes since taking the job, he’s gotten more commitments after July 25 than before this late-summer date. The quality of recruits who have committed after July 25 is much higher on average, too.

(We’re about to use a statistic called Recruit Points, which is a rather primitive way to judge recruiting classes. For every 5-star recruit, we add five points. For every 4-star recruit, we add four points. And so on. All ratings are from Rivals).

Here’s a quick breakdown of Fisher’s classes and how they stood on this date (July 25) historically.

2010: 6 commits for 20 Recruit Points before July 25. 18 commits for 64 Recruit Points after July 25.

2011: 14 commits for 45 Recruit Points before July 25. 15 commits for 54 Recruit Points after July 25.

2012: 11 commits for 40 Recruit Points before July 25. 8 commits for 32 Recruit Points after July 25.

2013: 10 commits for 38 Recruit Points before July 25. 11 commits for 37 Recruit Points after July 25.

2014: 12 commits for 41 Recruit Points before July 25. 16 commits for 60 Recruit Points after July 25.

2015: 15 commits for 53 Recruit Points before July 25.

Through Fisher’s five full classes, 57.3 percent of his Recruit Points have come after this point in the recruiting year. Further, 36 of his 65 4- and 5-star recruits (55.4 percent) have committed after this date.

As you can see, this is actually one of the best starts to a class that Fisher has ever had. He’s landed more commitments at this point than ever before, and his 3.533 Recruit Points per commitment is the third-highest of his tenure.

The 2010-14 classes tell us that however many points Florida State has on July 25, you can multiply that by 1.34 to get a projection of how many points that class will compile from this point until Signing Day. Using that model, the Seminoles’ 2015 class would add 71 more points and finish with 124 points — by far the best class Fisher has ever assembled.

(Note: It’s incredibly unlikely that Florida State actually reaches 124. That would take 71 more points, meaning Florida State’s class would probably have to eclipse 30 members).

Still, the point remains that you can usually at least double what Florida State has assembled by this point to get an idea of what the final class would look like. That would give the Seminoles two 5-stars and 12 4-stars, making a class that would easily rank in the top five-to-10 nationally. And it’s actually safe to bet that the class will end up better than that.

There could be many reasons that Fisher’s classes traditionally take longer to develop than most other programs. He tipped his hat a little bit this past weekend at the ACC Kickoff, when he said he’s starting to put more of an emphasis on mindset when he’s on the recruiting trail. Namely, he’s seeking recruits who have an “attitude of domination” to match their standout talent. That’s something that he believes can only be judged in person, usually in the camp setting. The Seminoles just wrapped up their second camp session on July 18.

To be fair to the critics, it was a bit disconcerting when Florida State lost several top targets so soon after winning the national title. But that doesn’t mean the Seminoles won’t land an elite class by Signing Day 2015. History tells us that the best recruits in this class are yet to give their commitments.