Florida State recruiting: 5-star QB Justin Fields eyes decision date
Stay tuned as Florida State marches on the warpath to the top of the recruiting rankings. Don’t miss the coverage from Sanjay Kirpalani and the DieHards.com team. Read his daily notebooks here at 8:30 a.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Seminoles recruiting news.
Hello, old friends
Before we jump into the business at hand, I’ll attempt to summarize my journey and how I landed here — covering the Florida State Seminoles football team and its recruiting efforts.
It’s safe to say that, in a funny way, I’m kind of back to where I started.
My first real journalism job was covering the 2011 edition of the Noles, so this is somewhat of a homecoming for me. Back then, I was fresh off a second internship at Sirius/XM in New York and I was offered a chance to write for Bleacher Report.
Since I’ve lived in southeast Alabama for the majority of my life, the powers that be at B/R quickly whittled the list of teams I could cover to a select few with FSU winning out in the end.
I moved to the Alabama beat the following year and onto recruiting full time a couple of years after that.
— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) August 4, 2017
But my introduction to recruiting came when I was a kid. For me, that included watching “Countdown to Signing Day” on Saturday mornings and thumbing through the Forrest Davis Football Recruiting Annual that used to print in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
I’ve always been fascinated by the stars of tomorrow on the gridiron and the spectacle of it all — from all-star games, hat ceremonies, fax machines, commit videos and everything in between. What isn’t lost on the major players in recruiting — fans, coaches and players — is just how important it is to the health of major college football programs.
Helping document the journeys of players — and getting to know the faces and the stories behind those journeys to Saturday stardom and beyond — is a privilege to the little kid who grew up enamored with recruiting.
As for my introduction to Florida State football, it actually came through current Seminoles wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey — himself a native of Dothan, Ala. I met him as a kid when he was a standout pass-catcher for the Noles from 1987-90, and watching the local hero turn into a superstar left one heck of an impression on me.
With the program itself launching into national prominence under legendary head coach Bobby Bowden, my eyes — as well as those of anyone loving the sport of college football — were never far away from Tallahassee.
Nearly three decades later, while the sport has undergone a facelift, the same gravitational pull on the sport that FSU had under Bowden is starting to take shape under Jimbo Fisher. I look forward to helping a new generation of kids and adults alike follow the developments taking place in the Seminoles program.
5-star QB Justin Fields has timeline in mind
Perhaps no recruit in the 2018 cycle has more fanfare and hype than 5-star quarterback Justin Fields.
Since de-committing from an early pledge to Penn State in June, the 6-foot-3, 221-pound star from Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga., has been the subject of a heated battle, with suitors such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia vying for his pledge.
As a junior, Fields accounted for 3,946 yards of total offense with 38 total touchdowns — 23 passing, 15 rushing — and only 6 interceptions. He was unquestionably the biggest star of the summer camp circuit after capturing Elite 11 MVP honors, as documented by SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner.
It looks like fans of those schools will have to wait a little longer to find out where he will take snaps next fall.
According to Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover (via Kipp Adams of Dawgs247), Fields anticipates making a decision “during the season.” He also told Niebuhr that the only visit he has lined up at the moment will be to the Noles’ season-opening clash against Alabama in Atlanta.
Whenever a decision comes, expect Fields to be thorough and concise in arriving at a conclusion.
In a wide-ranging conversation with DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell last month, Fields explained that he will weigh the pros and cons of each of the schools among his final group.
He also told Sentell that he has “nothing left to see,” when it comes to any lingering questions about the Seminoles and his potential fit in the program.
While I do feel that Auburn remains in the mix, my gut feeling has been that this comes down to a battle between the Seminoles and the Bulldogs.
The appeal of staying home and building something special in Athens clearly is something that resonates with Fields — which plays into the pitch the Bulldogs are selling. He admitted to Sentell that he has a “better relationship with guys who could potentially” land in Athens in the 2018 cycle.
We know Fields will see the Seminoles at least once this season, and the next landmark before a decision will take place if and when he sets any other visits.
Regardless, the Seminoles appear to be in a strong position with Fields largely because of the success FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has had in developing passers during his tenure in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles currently hold 53 percent of the predictions on Fields’ 247Sports Crystal Ball page.
5-star DE Micah Parsons considering official visit to Florida State
With 17 commitments in the fold, Florida State’s 2018 recruiting class is in a great spot heading into season in terms of filling its need with quantity and quality.
Quarterback and defensive end appear to be two positions where there is work to be done in attracting potential impact players to the class.
While Fields clearly is the top target at quarterback, the defensive end board is a picture that remains a bit of a mystery.
With that in mind, expect some movement on the board at that positon in the months leading up to National Signing Day.
One prospect that Florida State would love to land is one of the biggest prizes left in the 2018 cycle — 5-star defensive end Micah Parsons.
The 6-3, 235-pound star from Harrisburg, Pa., who originally committed to Penn State before reopening his process in April, rates as the nation’s No. 1 weakside defensive end and the No. 5 overall prospect in the 2018 cycle.
According to BamaOnline’s Hank South, Florida State joins Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State as the main programs in consideration to land one of his five official visits.
While the Seminoles probably are not in the top half of the leaderboard for Parsons, they shouldn’t be counted out. After all, the last two recruiting cycles have seen Fisher and defensive ends coach Brad Lawing work their magic to land highly touted pass-rushing prospects Brian Burns and Joshua Kaindoh.
That piece of history is a nice anecdote, but it’s not going to mean much unless the Seminoles can gain traction with Parsons in a short amount of time.
Still, with their need at the position and their history and tradition of producing pass-rushing terrors, the Seminoles could become a bigger threat if they are able to get him on campus in the near future.