1. It fills the biggest need. Eight new OL is key to a quick turnaround on offense. Okay, we're fudging a little. It was 7 OL who signed Wednesday. But we're counting Caz Piurowski among the first class of the Trickett School of Hard Knocks.
2. A shutdown corner. 4-Star Dionte Allen (pictured left) appears to have the tools to contribute early: 4.4 speed, good hands (14 INTs in high school; 22 catches at WR), and not afraid to tackle (54 his senior year) .
3. A Junior College gem. It's an annual tradition to snag at least one JC star who quickly cracks the lineup (Paul Griffin, Chauncey Davis, Javon Walker and Walter Jones to name a few).
Now Brian Coulter (pictured right) steps in to add depth
at DL. Or is it DE? Recruiting guru Max Emfinger rates him a six-star JC player and "#1 Strong Defensive End."
4. Great material for Mickey & Company to work with. Besides Allen and Coulter, Bernard Brinson (CB), Aaron Gresham (LB), Maurice Harris (OLB), Jamar Jackson (LB) who could become a rush end), Kendall Smith (LB), and possibly Brandon Paul at CB, all could play a role on a potentially dangerous '07 defense.
5. Lack of prima donna attitudes. This class is a refreshing change from some of the high maintenance, all-about-me egos of past years. Good example: Aaron Gresham's high school coach describes the 3-star LB as "the quintessential team player (who) raises the level of everybody around him. He practices and plays harder than anyone." Says Gresham, "Ever since I can remember, I've tried to go out and do the best I can on the football field. Good things happen when you do that."
6. Guys with something to prove. We welcome two- and three-star players who work their tails off to prove they're as good as four and five stars guys. The star system has validity, but what really counts is how a player grades after a few years in the system. Few schools out-recruit Tennessee, yet the Vols have underachieved in recent years. Compare that to Wake Forest. The Deacs recruit guys most schools pass over (Wake ranked 65th in recruiting last year), but develop them into winners. FSU's new staff should be a big upgrade for teaching and developing young talent — whether 5-star phenoms or no-star walkons.
7. Last-Second Surprises. Once again, FSU pulls some letters of intent out of the hat. WR Markish Jones (pictured left) actually signed an LOI to Clemson. But before it was faxed he had a change of heart that broke Tommy Bowden's. Antwane Greenlee was a lock to Georgia — until signing day when he left Bulldog fans growling. And big TE Johnathan Hannah surprised N.C. State with an 11th hour switch to the Noles.
8. Smarts. If you believe like we do that intelligent players play smart, check out the vitals on these new Noles: Cameron Wade, 3.75 GPA. Anthony Grosso, 3.96. Jamar Jackson, 3.00. Dionte Allen, 3.00. Will Furlong's 1290 on the SAT. Looks like Myron Rolle will have some company on the honor roll.
9. Speed at WR. Another big need nicely filled. Brandon Paul runs a 4.4. Markish Jones ran the fastest 40 of any receiver at the Clemson NIKE Training Camp. And 6' 4" Cameron Wade ran one of the 20 best 40's at Florida's NIKE camp.
10. A multi-threat playmaker a la Percy Harvin. Jimbo Fisher now has a game breaker to bumfuzzle opponents. Look for the new O.C. to use Bert Reed to create mismatches in space. The elusive Reed can come at you as a WR or running back. And since he played QB in high school, we can't wait for Reed's first halfback pass to a wide open receiver.
Our grade: a solid B. The staff deserves high marks with all
they had going against them, including: 1. Two down seasons
2. Turnover of assistants with new coaches having little time to establish relationships and sell players on the program, and
3. Fewer scholarships to award.
Okay, now it's your turn. Let us know how you grade this class in the Nole Poll on the right.