National Signing Day #NSD 2017 has come to a close. February 1st came and went and in the spirit of Groundhog’s Day the Seminoles, Hurricanes and Gators put together three top 13 classes (per 247 Sports).
Who won the recruiting war in 2017? Florida State. The Noles, coming off a 10-3 record, set the pace for the Big 3 and have been since coming off their national title in 2013. Second place? Based on need I would go with Miami over Florida. Florida didn’t pick up enough on offense to improve where they’re struggling.
Our beloved Hurricanes finished 13th in the nation and 2nd in the ACC, edging out defending national champion Clemson. Miami didn’t bring in any 5-star talents but signed ten four-star players.
Miami’s highest rated newcomer per 247 was Jeff Thomas, the speedy WR from East St. Louis High. Miami also signed 4-stars: OT Navaughn Donaldson, DE DJ Johnson, QB N’Kosi Perry, CB Trajan Bandy, OT Kai-Leon Herbert (a steal from Michigan), WR/CB DeeJay Dallas, DE Jonathan Garvin, JUCO CB Jhavonte Dean (day 1 starter), and WR Mike Harley. Miami signed 15 of their 24 recruits from the state of Florida. Miami was in dire need of play-making Wide Receivers, Offensive Linemen, and Defensive Backs. The big miss was at CB, where the Gators won the battle for two prospects. While it wasn’t a perfect recruiting class it was solid and a great compliment to 2016 (for a different article).
Gator fans were losing their minds leading up to #NSD ‘17 with talk of how horrible Mac, Shannon, et al were recruiting. The Gators finished 10th in the nation and 5th in the SEC per 247 signing 18 of 25 student-athletes from the state of Florida. The Gators didn’t have a 5-star either, but had eleven 4-star kids.
Defense hasn’t been an issue for Florida but they signed a heavy defensive class in 2017. The Gators swayed Chris Henderson, who many wanted to be a ‘Cane, to play CB along with Miami backyard CB recruits Shawn Davis from Southridge and Brian Edwards from Miramar to go with Stewart and Wilson, two four-star CBs. Florida also landed three four-star Offensive Lineman in: top rated player in their class Tedarrell Slaton, Kadeem Telfort (both on the UM radar) and TJ Moore. The Gator defense was rounded out with DE Zach Carter, DT Elijah Conliffe, and 3-star LB Ventrell Miller from Lakeland. On offense, where UF has struggled under supposed offensive guru Jim McElwain, UF only signed two offensive skill players in their top 10 kids, which were WR Daquon Green and TE Kemore Gamble. They did sign two three-star QB’s in Athlete/QB Kadarius Toney and Pro style QB Jake Allen.
The Gators missed on not adding enough fire-power at the offensive skill positions to make anyone think the UF offense improves in ‘17 or ‘18.
Florida State was the cream of the big 3 crop in 2017 on #NSD. The Noles finished #6 in the country and #1 in the ever-improving ACC. FSU signed 12 of 24 kids from Florida, with four five-star players and eight more four-star kids.
All four of the ‘Noles five-star signees were from out-of-state. RB Cam Akers from Mississippi, DT Marvin Wilson from Texas, RB Khalan Laborn from Virginia, and Maryland-turn-IMG DE Josh Kaindoh. The Seminoles also picked up legacy CB Stanford Samuels, WR DJ Matthews, S Cyrus Fagan, S Hamsah Nasirildeen, DT Ja’len Parks, RB Zaquandre White, RB Leonard Warren, and pro style QB Bailey Hockman.
Florida State was in a position to reload and took the best players available while filling needs at DB and RB. 2017-2018 should be good years for the Seminoles.