Category: Florida State Seminoles

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher with The Coaches' Trophy after the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game against Auburn Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. Florida State won 34-31. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

FSU coach helped plan orchestrated recruit “flip” from Gators

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One of the big stories on National Signing Day is always focused on the players that pull a switcheroo in their commitment. Losing a highly sought-after recruit on signing day can be a devastating blow to a program, but it is not at all uncommon to see it happen a few times on signing day. Yesterday was no exception, with Florida State seeing defensive tackle Shavar Manuel commit and sign with the Seminoles despite verbally committing to Florida in early January. Manuel’s late flip may have taken the Florida staff by surprise, but it was all a part of a plan of attack fueled by a Florida State assistant coach.

Florida State defensive ends coach Brad Lawing suggested Manuel lead the Gators on and to “tell the damn Gators anything they want to hear,” according to a report from The Orlando Sentinel.

“Shavar had told me the night before, ‘I’m a Seminole,’ and then he committed to Florida,” Lawing said Wednesday at a signing day event in Tallahassee. “I called him up, asked what’s going on, and he said, ‘I’m just getting some pressure from people.’

“So he didn’t just flip tonight. We’ve known about this for about two weeks.”

It goes without saying recruiting can be a shady and competitive part of the game. Things only get more intense when rivals are going after the same recruit. Negative recruiting is one thing, but this was deceptive recruiting at play. There is nothing wrong with that, as there are no rules against it outlined by the NCAA. Until a player actually faxes in their National Letter of Intent, all is fair game in recruiting. A program that wants to compete at a high level will look to create an edge any way it can. If that just so happens to hurt a rival, that’s killing two birds with one stone.

Florida State landed the second-best recruiting class in the nation according to the Rivals team rankings, trailing only Alabama. Florida finished with the No. 14 class.

FSU pushes past Ohio State as surging Bama closes

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher reacts to a play against the Oregon Ducks during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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It ain’t over until it’s over, a mantra Alabama is hoping to prove by day’s end.

When National Signing Day 2016 began, Ohio State held an 88-point lead on No. 2 LSU and a nearly 300-point lead on No. 3 Florida State in the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings.  With more than half of NSD in the books, FSU had not only caught OSU, but the Seminoles had put a seemingly comfortable margin between themselves and the Buckeyes.  And the rest of the field for that matter.

At around 2 p.m. ET, and after a hugely successful start to the day, FSU sat atop Rivals‘ rankings with 2,816 points, 112 points ahead of an OSU class that was essentially signed, sealed and delivered before lunch — they picked up commitments today from a three- and four-star in an uneventful day, in a good way, for Urban Meyer.  At the same time, surging Alabama, which began the day No. 12, had climbed to No. 3.

Shortly thereafter, however, five-star linebacker Lyndell Wilson announced his commitment to Alabama over Georgia, pushing the Tide past the Buckeyes and within striking distance of the Seminoles. UA remains in the running for at least five more prospects who will make their decisions over the next five or six hours, meaning that the 66-point edge the Seminoles currently hold on the Tide could potentially be erased as FSU’s class is essentially complete.

Thus far today, the Tide has picked up commitments from a pair of five-, four- and three-star recruits each.  FSU’s commitment haul Wednesday consists of five four-stars and a three-star.

Alabama has claimed the Rivals recruiting crown six times the past eight years, and is looking to regain its title after being stripped by USC last cycle.

Rivals Rankings

UPDATED 3:23 p.m. ET: As of this upate, Alabama has moved past Florida State and into the top spot as the Tide has taken a 69-point lead on the Seminoles.

CFT Previews: National Signing Day

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during pregame warmups prior to facing the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Many in college football refer to National Signing Day simply as Christmas, as there’s some truth to that. There’s zero doubt the biggest day on the sport’s calendar between the closing of one season and the beginning of another is the first Wednesday in February. That day happens to be tomorrow.

With Signing Day upon us, here’s a quick rundown of the biggest storyline heading into tomorrow’s festivities:

– Where does Rashan Gary land? Gary is the Class of 2016’s answer to Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive tackle standing 6-foot-5, weighing in at 290 pounds and running like a gazelle with his hooves on fire. The Paramus, N.J., holds offers from just about everybody, but has whittled his list down to just Michigan and Clemson. Rivals’ No. 1 overall player will make his announcement from the SportsCenter studio during the 1 p.m. ET hour on ESPN2.

– How do the Tide and Trojans close? Since 2008, the only programs to claim Rivals’ No. 1 classes are USC (2010 and 2015) and Alabama (every other year). As of this writing, Alabama ranks ninth, while USC is 33rd. However, the Tide claims only 17 commitments at this time, while USC sits with just 13 in Clay Helton‘s first class as head coach. It’s safe to say Alabama will make its name known among the top five by the time the final fax rolls in Wednesday evening. USC is much more of a wild card.

– And what about Texas? Since Rivals started ranking recruiting classes in 2002, Texas has finished in the top 25 14 times in 14 chances. What’s more, the ‘Horns have ranked among the top 20 13 times and in the top 5 seven times. Which is why, to the uninformed, Charlie Strong could already be on his way out of town with a class ranked 39th, one spot above noted football power Oregon State. But Texas is set to close on a number of prospects — even landing an unexpected commitment in four-star running back Kyle Porter — earlier today and could rocket up the rankings throughout the day on Wednesday.

– Who signs the No. 1 class? As we established earlier, no team has claimed Rivals’ recruiting national championship since Nick Saban‘s first class way back in 2007, when Urban Meyer and Florida, fresh off their first national championship together, edged out USC. Fast forward nearly a decade… and Meyer again has a chance to win another recruiting title, this time for Ohio State. The Buckeyes lead the pack heading into Signing Day, but LSU, Florida State, Ole Miss, Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson and, yes, Alabama are hot on their scarlet-and-gray heels.

Checking in on recruiting rankings with one week until Signing Day

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers (C) sings with his team after they defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 56-27 during the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium on December 29, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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National Signing Day is one week from today. If you haven’t already taken off work, purchased your food items, laundered your lucky shirt, socks and underwear and hung your decorations, consider this your fair warning.

(Wait, everyone hangs decorations for National Signing Day, right?)

With but seven days between now and the biggest day on the college football calendar until Opening Day, here’s how the top 25 classes stack up according to Rivals.

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Ole Miss
4. Michigan
5. Notre Dame
6. Florida State
7. Florida
8. Clemson
9. Michigan State
10. Baylor
11. UCLA
12. Alabama
13. Texas A&M
14. Auburn
15. TCU
16. North Carolina
17. Georgia
18. Tennessee
19. Kentucky
20. Stanford
21. Oregon
22. California
23. Duke
24. Penn State
25. Houston

A couple teams to watch over the next week are teams that were top-5 mainstays a decade ago — No. 28 USC, No. 30 Oklahoma, No. 31 Miami and No. 50 Texas.

Before any Trojans, Sooners, ‘Canes or ‘Horns fans hit the panic button, consider that each team is still carrying a light number of commitments — USC and Texas with 13, Miami with 14 and Oklahoma with 16. Ten of the top 11 teams claim at least 20, and only Georgia has fewer than 16 among ranked teams.

ACC releases 2016 football schedule

Elon v Duke
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A little over seven months before the start of the 2016 season, the ACC has finalized the schedules its member schools will face this upcoming year

The first conference game of the 2016 season will pit Georgia Tech against Boston College Sept. 3 at 7:30 a.m.  The early start time is due to the fact that the game will be played in Dublin, Ireland, the first time a league game has been played in that country. It is only the third ACC game played outside of the United States, and both of the others involved Clemson: vs. Wake Forest in Tokyo, Japan, in 1982 and vs. Duke in Tokyo in 1991.

The first games of the new season featuring ACC members will be played two days prior, with Louisville hosting Charlotte and Tulane traveling to Wake Forest Sept. 1.  As has become a tradition, the ACC will close out opening weekend with a Labor Day night game — Florida State vs. Ole Miss in the Orlando Kickoff game. The games in Ireland and Orlando are two of five neutral-site games involving ACC teams, the others being North Carolina vs. Georgia (Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, Sept. 3, Georgia Dome; Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee (Bristol Motor Speedway, Sept. 10); and Syracuse vs. Notre Dame (MetLife Stadium).

The ACC also released some notes trumpeting the strength of the conference’s schedules:

ACC teams will play more games than any other Power Five conference:

— Against non-conference teams that are ranked in ESPN’s 2016 Too Early Top 25 rankings (12). The league will also play a higher percentage of its non-conference games against teams in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 (21%).

— Against non-conference teams that were ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 (12). The league will again play a higher percentage (21%) of its non-conference games against these teams.

— Against non-conference teams that were ranked in the final Coaches poll (14) as well as a higher percentage (25%).

— Against more non-conference teams that went to bowl games in 2015 (27).

— Against FBS non-conference teams that won 10 or more games (15) as well as against FBS non-conference teams that won nine or more games (18).

ACC teams are also playing games against opponents which had a higher overall winning percentage (.562) in 2015 than any other Power Five Conference, and its FBS non-conference opponents had the second-highest winning percentage of any league (.559).

“Our programs continue to showcase our football strength with an appealing slate of games scheduled for 2016,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “In addition to a number of compelling conference matchups, we again have arguably the toughest non-conference schedule by any measure. With our depth, competitiveness and rivalries, ACC fans can look forward to another season of exciting games every week.”

The Syracuse-Notre Dame game in New Jersey is one of five contests for the Irish against ACC teams, the others being North Carolina State (Oct. 8), Duke (Sept. 24), Miami (Oct. 29) and Virginia Tech. The latter three games will all be played at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

And, finally, if you’re only going to circle one game on your ACC football calendar, make it this one: Clemson at Florida State, Oct. 29. Both of those teams, expected to enter the 2016 season in the Top 10, will be coming off bye weeks.

As for the rest of the newly-released slates, click HERE for a helmet schedule and HERE for a week-to-week schedule.