Florida State has returned to its post as one of the top college football programs in the country under head coach Jimbo Fisher, and with that comes success at putting players into the NFL.
Since 2010, when Fisher took over for Bobby Bowden, the Seminoles have produced 45 draft picks, which is the fifth most in college football in that span. Over the past five years, the Seminoles have produced 35 NFL draft picks, which is tied with LSU and Florida for the second most in that span behind Alabama (41).
Of the five teams that have had the most draft picks over the last five years, four (Alabama, FSU, LSU, and Ohio State) have played for or won a National Championship this decade. Only Florida has not.
FSU has been able to produce so many draft picks because the coaching staff evaluates talent better than almost every other program in the country. The staff then develops that talent into draftable players.
“I think it’s a multi-level deal,” 247Sports recruiting analyst Chris Nee told the Tallahassee Democrat.
“FSU’s a pro-style offense and the defense is oriented into stopping multiple different schemes so they recruit players that translate to the next level… Most of all, I think the system is built to produce guys.
“Over a three or four year span, if they take a really good high school athlete who’s good at playing a specific position or has the athletic ability to play a specific position, they do a good job of developing a player at that specific position and preparing them for the next level.”
That has shown through under FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher.
For the first four years of Fisher’s tenure, he was playing with recruits from the Bowden era at FSU. The Seminoles produced 21 draft picks from 2010-2013 with 52.4 percent of them being three-star recruits coming into FSU. Only eight of the 21 were drafted in the first two rounds.
FSU has recruited a total of 91 players that have left early for the draft, graduated, or left the program under Fisher with 27 being drafted. Of the 27 players that have been drafted, 20 were blue-chip (four or five-star) prospects. 14 of the 27 prospects were drafted in the first two rounds.
There are quite a few reasons for this jump, but two stand out as the most prominent.
First, FSU has jumped back into the college football race as a national powerhouse, which has led to more top recruits being interested in playing for the Seminoles. Since 2010, FSU has singed and gotten 185 recruits on campus with 58.4 percent of those recruits being blue-chip prospects.
From 2010-2013, FSU signed 53.9 percent blue-chips. Since 2014, that has grown to 61.7.
Secondly, the recruiting industry has seen how well the FSU coaching staff evaluates talent, along with other schools such as Ohio State, Alabama, and LSU, and gives the recruits that those schools offer the benefit of the doubt more than a recruit without those offers.
The blue-chip prospects that FSU has landed have tended to do very well, which has played a part in the faith that has been shown in the FSU staff.
The Seminoles have signed 14 five-stars that have left early for the draft, graduated, or left the program under Fisher with 10 (71.4 percent) of them being drafted. Even more impressive is that eight of the 14 were drafted in the first two rounds.
FSU has also signed 38 four-star prospects and 39 three-star prospects in that span. The number of players drafted from these two groups drop down considerably from the five-star numbers with 26.3 percent (10) of the four-stars being drafted and 17.9 percent (7) of the three-stars being drafted.
It’s a testament to the FSU staff that they’ve been able to hit on so many of the guys that they have gone after, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon with the Seminoles in position to have multiple first round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.