Courtesy of Florida State Athletics
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. â€“ Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisherâ€™s first signing class will be one to remember. Less than 30 days after Fisher officially became the successor to Bobby Bowden, the Seminoles landed a consensus Top 10 class of need-based talent.
The Seminoles signed 24 players, including 14 on the defensive side, immediately addressing the most pressing needs. Four of those players â€“ linebacker Jeff Luc, defensive tackle Anthony McCloud, running back Debrale Smiley and quarterback Clint Trickett â€“ have been enrolled in school since the start of the semester.
Of the three major recruiting services which rank players and signing classes, ESPN tabbed FSUâ€™s 2010 class at No. 6 nationally. The Seminoles checked in at No. 10 with both Rivals and Scout.com.
â€œMaybe we can move from 6 to 1,â€ Fisher said, as he talked about the class. â€œWeâ€™re not very far away from that.â€
Two players were rated as the best in the country at their respective positions: cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and middle linebacker Jeff Luc. Joyner is the fourth USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year to sign with the Seminoles in school history, joining Derrick Brooks, David Warren and Antonio Cromartie. Luc is a physically mature 230-pounder who relishes punishing ball carriers.
â€œWe may look back on Luc and Joyner and say they started the whole thing,â€ said Fisher, whose focus is on FSUâ€™s swift return to national prominence. â€œThey understand the importance of what they did [signing with the â€˜Noles].â€
A handful of others, like outside linebacker Christian Jones and wide receiver Christian Green, were also among the most elite nationally.
FSU signed five defensive linemen, five linebackers and four cornerbacks in an effort to jolt a unit that will have a new coordinator â€“ Mark Stoops â€“ and a new scheme. Offensively, the Seminoles turned their attention to replenishing the receiving corps and did so with five signees, as well as two tight ends.
Fisher credited the persistence of the retooled coaching staff, which includes five new assistants less than a month into their new positions, with bringing the signing class together with a late surge.
â€œWeâ€™ve put so much on recruiting, which is true, but now weâ€™ve got to develop the players,â€ Fisher said.
The Seminoles have already begun their offseason conditioning program in preparation for the March 16 start of spring practice.