On the CLIMB: Examining The State of FSU’s Recruiting.

As the summer heat climbs towards triple-digits, the temperature isn’t the only thing heating up in Tallahassee. The Seminoles have gotten hot on the recruiting trail with multiple blue-chip recruits committing in the past week. Just as summer is only getting started, so are the Noles with more commitments on the horizon. FSU hosted almost forty prospects in June before the dead period hit, and we’ve already started to see the fruits of their labor pay off. While we wait to see who is next, let’s discuss the state of recruiting at FSU beginning with the 2025 class.

According to the 247 Composite Rankings, FSU currently ranks 57th nationally and 14th in the ACC. Not great for a program coming off a 13-win season, right? That narrative actually couldn’t be farther from the truth and here’s why. At the time of writing this, Florida State only has 7 commitments in their 2025 class which is a minimum of 3 less commitments than any team ranked above them. Although they sit at 57th in the rankings, their average player rating of 94.14 is the highest in the country, the ACC, and higher than both Miami (89.93) and Florida (90.72).

All seven of Florida State’s current commitments are blue-chip recruits. Meanwhile, 14 teams ranked above FSU in the rankings don’t have a single blue-chip played committed; another 10 have just one. According to the On3 industry rankings, FSU’s class ranks 12th despite almost all the teams ahead of them having double the number of commits. The Seminoles’ 92.77 average recruit ranking with On3 also comes in at number one, topping every other program in the country. It’s all about quality over quantity now that the talent floor has been raised to a level that FSU doesn’t just need to acquire bodies to throw at a talent deficiency. Of course, these numbers are bound to change as commits come and go, but most of the top targets remaining on the Seminoles’ wish list are also blue-chip recruits.

Speaking of quality. Of the current commits that FSU does have, five of the seven are top 200 recruits nationally. Two of those are Top 50 and the top-ranked player at their position. (Solomon Thomas #1 IOL & Javion Hilson #1 Edge). The Seminoles are in serious contention to land an additional group of at least 5-6 (or more) top 200 blue-chip recruits in this cycle. This is following an offseason in which FSU signed the most blue-chip transfers (10) of any program in the country. This uptick in recruiting proves that the on-field success and stability within the program are paying off. 

It also won’t hurt that FSU just had double-digit players get drafted to the NFL, a feather that FSU had not had in their recruiting cap until now. The Seminoles staff has gone from selling a vision to showing a proof of concept. They’ve also done it uniquely. While some programs like to line up expensive cars to aid in recruiting, FSU sells them on hard work, fit, and family. This is a large part of why there has been an infectious and genuine culture built in Tallahassee that is something we hear referenced by recruits all the time. Make no mistake, FSU has one of the premier collectives in the country at its side, but that’s just an added bonus to what’s being offered at FSU.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the embodiment of Mike Norvell’s moniker “C.L.I.M.B.” look no further than the blue-chip percentage of each recruiting class during his tenure at FSU (Per the 247 Composite with transfers included).

Although we clearly don’t expect them to finish with a 100% blue-chip ratio, the 2025 class projects to be the best since Norvell’s arrival. The 2026 class currently has four blue chips committed and ranks as the number one overall class. There are many ebbs and flows in recruiting as we know all too well. However, the overall trend for FSU is in a positive direction, so the moral of the story is to not panic over a frivolous ranking but instead focus on the actual players that are being acquired. The Seminoles have signed 42 blue-chip players in the past two classes (2023, 2024) compared to 26 in the three years prior (2020, 2021, 2022).The 62.5% blue-chip ratio of the 2024 recruiting class was higher than Miami’s at 47.6% and Florida’s at 57.1%. FSU could easily load up on three-stars to increase their position in the rankings, but the goal isn’t to win recruiting national championships like a certain school in south Florida. This leads to the next point I’d like to make. This continuous talent elevation has also afforded Mike Norvell and company their most talented roster since arriving in Tallahassee.

What it all means for FSU

According to an article by Bud Elliot for CBS Sports, Florida State has a Blue-Chip ratio of 53% (transfers included) in 2024. The “Blue-Chip standard” shows evidence leading back to 2013 that no team has won a national championship with a sub-50% blue-chip ratio. Personally, I thought FSU could have been the team to break the mold last year if Jordan Travis was healthy and they had been given the chance. However, FSU breaking the 50% mark, even if by way of adding in transfers (they are sub 50% without them), puts them among the top contenders to win a title. Whether you agree with the blue-chip standard or not, it’s proven to hold true for over 10 years running. You’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmy’s and Joe’s.” Well, that’s not wrong, and when you have teams like Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, and Texas with 70+% blue-chip ratios waiting for you in the playoffs.

Since finding their footing over the past two seasons, the Mike Norvell-led Seminoles have gone a combined 23-4. Over that period, they have an 8-2 record against teams that are ranked higher than FSU in the 247 team talent rankings. Of the two losses, one was by 6 points to Clemson who had the fifth-ranked roster in 2022 compared to FSU at number seventeen. The second loss was in the Orange Bowl against UGA’s second-most talented roster versus FSU’s backups from the twentieth-ranked roster. The Seminoles held a 15-2 record versus teams ranked lower than them in the talent composite. The two losses to less talented rosters were against 2022 Wake Forest (by 10 points) and NC State (by 2 points), who both had a plethora of experience stemming primarily from COVID seniors whereas FSU had quite a young and inexperienced roster comparatively. Staying in the vein of comparison among the “Big Three,” Miami’s record over the past two seasons versus more talented teams is 2-2 with a 10-11 record versus less talented teams. Florida over the past two seasons is 1-4 versus teams that ranked higher and 10-10 versus teams that ranked lower.

So, what does this all boil down to? Well, two major points. 1) FSU’s recruiting is doing just fine, especially when factoring in how they use the portal and their roster retention. This staff is attacking positions of need in the portal while building a base of talented high school recruits, particularly in areas that are either hard to find in the portal or come with a hefty price tag (primarily OL, DL, and big-bodied wide receivers to name a few). They embraced this hybrid approach early on and we’ve now seen quite a few programs adopt a similar style. Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss has them as an outside contender to win the title this year, but that has a lot to do with what they’ve done in the portal rather than high school. Fifty percent of their blue-chip players signed over the past three cycles came from the portal. Mike Norvell’s early adoption to the hybrid recruiting method looks to be becoming more of a blue print rather than the exception. Even Alabama and Georgia took a combined 26 transfers in the 2024 cycle to bolster their roster. 

2) Despite never having a roster ranked in the top 15 since his arrival at FSU, Mike Norvell has shown he can win with X’s and O’s, too. The Noles punched above their talent ranking the past two seasons finishing 11th with the 17th-ranked roster in 2022 and 6th with the 20th-ranked roster in 2023. With that in mind, just imagine what they can do with a top-ten-level roster. You probably won’t have to imagine for long because if the Noles stay hot on the trail, we’ll be there before you know it! Thanks for reading and Go Noles!

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