February 8, 2009

Grading the 2008 recruiting class - Defense

In case you missed it: Grading the 2009 Class - Offense

Defensive tackle

Signees: Jacobbi McDaniel and Demonte McAllister

Top Recruit: McDaniel

Most Underrated: McAllister

Biggest Loss: Gary Brown (Florida)

Average Star Ranking: 4.5

Grade: A-

Still on roster: Kendrick Stewart, Budd Thacker, Justin Mincey, Moses McCray and Everett Dawkins (DT or DE)
Strengths: In terms of quality, no team in the country can match what FSU is getting at defensive tackle with Jacobbi McDaniel and Demonte McAllister. Both are dominating athletes, have a constantly running motor, possess a great drive to win and are perfect leaders on and off the field. McDaniel is considered by many as the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the nation. What the five-star DT lacks in size (around 6-foot), he makes up for with his quickness, determination and strength (near 500-pound bench press). McAllister shot up the rankings after an outstanding senior season and an impressive effort in the Under Armour all-star practices and game. Both have the ability and are physical enough to work into the rotation as freshmen.

Weaknesses: It's nearly impossible to find fault with the quality of the two signees, but if there is a negative it's that three signees would have filled FSU's needs completely. With the addition of McDaniel and McAllister, there will be six or seven defensive tackles on scholarship this fall (depending on where Everett Dawkins lines up). While that sounds like a decent number on the surface, three from this group will be seniors. As a result, FSU could enter the spring of 2010 with just three defensive tackles on scholarship (assuming all are healthy and still on the team).

Analysis: For the second straight year, Florida State did very well in terms of recruiting quality at defensive tackle but feel a little short numbers wise. With the position a little thin, it's unlikely that either of the two signees will redshirt this season.

Needs for next year: With three seniors set to graduate after this season, defensive tackle will become a huge position of need for 2010. Look for the 'Noles to try to sign three here and that should include junior college transfer Anthony McCloud.

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