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February 5, 2013
In most of Jimbo Fisher's time at Florida State, there has been little drama by the time national signing day comes around.
This Wednesday, however, should be filled with intrigue. Headlined by five-star prospect Matthew Thomas and offensive line teammate Denver Kirkland Florida State is in the mix - but is not the clear-cut favorite - for more than a half dozen of the nation's top prospects.
With two early enrollees and 16 commitments in house, Florida State sits outside at No. 13 in the Rivals.com team rankings entering Wednesday. If the chips fall the right way, the Seminoles could propel themselves among the best come Wednesday evening. If FSU isn't able to wrangle some key commitments, a finish outside the top 15 is plausible.
Unlike last season when FSU's scholarship space was limited, the Seminoles could potentially take anywhere from 22 to 25 players in the 2013 class, so room won't be a factor when it comes to landing any signing day surprises.
Will FSU meet its needs?
With the plan to take between 5-6 offensive lineman in 2013, the Seminoles enter Wednesday with only two true interior offensive lineman (Ira Denson and Ryan Hoefeld). a tight end (Jeremy Kerr) that is expected to transition to the offensive front and no true tackles.
FSU's class took a big hit in recent weeks when Austin Golson, a longtime FSU commitment, decommitted and visited Ole Miss.
Florida State's outlook at OL will change for better or worse starting at 9 a.m. when Miami Washington High offensive lineman Denver Kirkland chooses between FSU, Miami and Arkansas. Kirkland, the nation's No. 13-rated tackle, has been in the midst of a host of signing day drama for the past week as Miami reportedly pulled its scholarship offer, causing public outcry from Kirkland's head coach before Miami decided to re-offer him.
FSU is also in play for Wilson Bell, a three-star lineman from Alabama. While it is believed that Golson is leaning towards Ole Miss, he has not eliminated FSU. Golson is rated as the No. 8 tackle in the 2013 class.
FSU is also in need of another defensive end to help fill the holes left by a trio of NFL-bound sack artists (Bjoern Werner, Brandon Jenkins and Tank Carradine). Florida State is technically still in play for four-star Tashawn Bower and has just extended a late offer to sleeper Devarez Bryant, who has played only one year of high school football. FSU already has early enrollee DeMarcus Walker and a commitment from JUCO DE Desmond Hollin
Dealing with coaching turnover
Perhaps FSU's biggest recruiting blow was to be expected when offensive coordinator James Coley, a renowned Miami area recruiter, left FSU in late January to take over the offensive play calling at rival Miami.
So far, FSU has been able to stay afloat despite the turnover and the new faces, only losing two commitments - Golson and defensive end Davin Bellamy. While Bellamy's top two recruiters (Dameyune Craig and D.J. Eliot) both left FSU's staff, it is not for certain that staffing changes had any affect on Golson's decision.
When FSU lost Coley, it was believed that Miami-area targets Thomas and Kirkland would turn away from the Seminoles. But FSU has remained in the race and it is believed to be in good position to possibly land both players on Wednesday.
On the good side for FSU, new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has worked wonders already, reeling in elite defensive end Demarcus Walker as an early enrollee and leading the charge for five-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who is expected to sign with FSU on Wednesday following Tuesday's news of a switch. FSU wasn't heavily involved with either player prior to Pruitt's arrival.
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