Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher is like most college football coaches in his desire to have an early signing period. But until one is put in place, Fisher is content to lock in a significant portion of the signing class with early enrollees.
Two of the nation’s top 10 players in the class of 2017, tailback Cam Akers and defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, are already on campus. They are among the seven players who have given up the last few months of their senior years, graduating high school early to take classes at FSU and will participate in spring practices in March.
Akers is one of the crown jewels of the class, a versatile 213-pound prospect who is a physical runner but also played quarterback in high school. FSU loses star tailback Dalvin Cook, so the path is clear for Akers to challenge junior Jacques Patrick and FSU’s other backs for playing time this fall.
“It’s a great situation for me,” Akers said. “I fit the program well.”
FSU has put together 247Sports’ No. 5 signing class of 2017. At the core of the group are the seven early enrollees. While landing Akers and Kaindoh were critical, the group also includes four-star cornerback Stanford Samuels III and four-star safety Cyrus Fagan.
“Being able to enroll early is a huge benefit for these young men, as they will be able to get a jump start adjusting to academics and college life in addition to athletics,” Fisher said. “This group can help move this team and continue to build on our championship-winning legacy.”
Beyond the seven early signees, the Seminoles have verbal commitments from 14 prospects who will sign Wednesday. Among that group are a pair of quarterbacks: Glades Central’s James Blackman and Bailey Hockman of Powder Springs, Ga. Quarterback is a long-term position of need for FSU, which has just two returning scholarship players at that position for 2017 in Deondre Francois and JJ Cosentino.
The class is loaded with prospects who will help strengthen the defensive front. Kaindoh is considered an elite edge rusher, anchoring a group of defensive tackles led by Ja’len Parks and Cory Durden. FSU has also landed commitments from three linebackers: DeCalon Brooks, Hamsah Nasirildeen and junior-college standout Adonis Thomas (who will have three years to play at FSU). Brooks is the son of former FSU All-American Derrick Brooks.
There’s also a wealth of offensive talent. FSU has signed three tailbacks — Akers, five-star Khalan Laborn and Zaquandre White — along with receivers DJ Matthews and Tamorrion Terry.
The Seminoles are carefully watching the size of this signing class. FSU has seven early enrollees plus 14 verbal commitments, leaving just a few spots left for some of the prized prospects who will be announcing on National Signing Day.
One of those who will be making his decision Wednesday is five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson of Houston. If he chooses FSU, Fisher and his staff will have landed four five-star prospects — Akers, Kaindoh, Laborn and Wilson.
“FSU consistently recruits at an elite level under Fisher,” 247Sports recruiting analyst Chris Nee said.