Quiet, focused FSU camp lays groundwork

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State coaches focused on the details in trying to finalize their next targets for a growing 2013 recruiting class -- and lay the foundation for 2014 and 2015 -- during the July session of Jimbo Fisher Camp.

There was neither a flurry of commitments from seniors nor large quantities of offers being distributed.

Players such as 2013 DL Jordan Sherit and 2014 DB Nigel Patten were among those receiving offers -- and FSU did get commitments from 2015 QB DeAndre Johnson, who didn't participate in drills, and 2014 WR Jake McCrary. FSU's other commit during the camp's three days, 2014 ATH Jojo Robinson, wasn't attending.

But all of it just might be more indicative of how fast things are speeding up, both for Florida State's coaches and recruiting in general.

Which group stood out the most out on the Al Dunlap practice fields? The rising juniors. And a good portion of them held offers before camp had even begun.

The truth is, Florida State might very well be ahead of the game for the next cycle -- or at least stands where it needs to.

Whether or not that means the Seminoles haul in a top-rated class on the first Wednesday in February 2014 remains to be seen. All these highly regarded coaches can do in the meantime is trust their skills as evaluators.

These camps allow for coaches like D.J. Eliot to work the sled all afternoon long seeing which defensive ends strike and which ones hesitate. It lets Eddie Gran distinguish between a crop of highly rated running backs by testing their agility, hands and determination.

It's been working.

During the last couple of years, classes ranked in the top five have found their way to Tallahassee. Continuing to spend time evaluating, rather than rushing into the wrong offers or accepting too many early commitments, might not be too much of a risk for the Seminoles staff.

Maybe it is just the way things work these days. And maybe it is all happening too fast. At the same time, the consequences of being left behind are far too great to risk.

That's why these camps, not only for Florida State and Coach Fisher, but nationally, provide the best possible avenue to match in-person evaluation with long-term projection.