Some say that when it comes to evaluating the performances of someone or something, hindsight is 20/20. This can be especially true regarding college football recruiting, as placing a finger on how an 18 year high school kid will perform at the collegiate level is no easy task.
With that in mind, Noles247 takes a look at Florida State’s recruiting classes over the past 10 years and examines how they panned out.
Florida State’s recruiting class of 2003 took a step back from 2002 in terms of talent, but it still ranked in the top 15 classes in the country. Among the more notable names in the class were Antonio Cromartie, De’Cody Fagg and Ernie Sims.
Aaron Lindsey, QB: Lindsey, a quarterback out of Lafayette High School in Mayo, Florida, flew under the radar and only had scholarship offers from smaller schools. However, he decided he would join the Florida State roster as a preferred walk-on as opposed to accepting a scholarship to a smaller school. Lindsey never actually appeared on the Florida State roster.
De’Cody Fagg, WR: A big and physical receiver out of Quincy, Florida, Fagg would make a decent impact at Florida State after originally failing to qualify. He enrolled in the spring of 2004 after spending a semester at a junior college and saw the field in his first season at Florida State that fall. In the end, he didn’t make the impact many had hoped he would, amounting just over 1700 yards receiving over four years and just seven touchdown catches.
Joslin Shaw, WR: After playing cornerback in high school, Shaw was converted to a wide receiver at Florida State. Unfortunately for Shaw, he found himself buried on the depth chart in each of his four seasons with the Seminoles. He ended his career at Florida State with 365 yards receiving, but did not account for any touchdowns.
DJ Norris, TE: Norris, a Pensacola native, was recruited as a tight end, but would end up playing defensive end for the Seminoles for his first three seasons. A three star by most recruiting services, Norris struggled to make an impact at defensive end with future NFL player Kamerion Wimbley ahead of him on the depth chart. After going down with an injury in 2006, Norris was granted a medical hardship planned to switch back to his original position of tight end with his return, but his injury proved too much to overcome.
John Frady, OL: Frady was a Bolles product out of Jacksonville, Florida. After seeing significant playing time in his true freshman season, he suffered an injury in 2004 that allowed him to take a medical redshirt. Frady’s best year came in 2006, when he started all 13 games during a season when Florida State’s running game ranked fourth in the ACC. He would switch to center his senior year, but saw minimal playing time with both Ryan McMahon and Brandon Davis ahead of him on the depth chart.
Aubrey McPhadden, OL: McPhadden continued the disturbing trend within Florida State’s recruiting classes in the 2000’s, failing to academically qualify.
Mario Henderson, OL: A big linemen out of Lehigh Acres, Florida, Henderson put together a solid career at Florida State. He played in 23 of his first 24 games as a Seminole and moved into the starting lineup his junior year. Henderson’s quality of play earned him the spot as the starting left tackle his senior year in 2006 and was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft.
David Overmyer, OL: Known for his hard work over his years at Florida State, Overmyer earned significant playing time, including his starting of all 13 games in his sophomore season of 2005. His start total would amount to 27 by the end of his career as a Seminole.
Clifton Dickson, DT: Dickson was a Miami Northwestern product that had a lot of potential after being one of five true freshmen to see the field in 2003, but he would find himself academically ineligible prior to the 2005 season.
Andre Fluellen, DT: Fluellen was one of the more successful stories of the 2003 recruiting class, as he was named to the Outland Trophy preseason watch list heading into his senior season in 2007. The Cartersville, Georgia native was known for being a student of the game and playing smart. Fluellen was taken in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.
Chris Anderson, DT: After failing to qualify academically in 2002, Anderson gave it a second go around in 2003 and signed with Florida State after a year at the Hargrave Military Academy. However, a career as a Seminole just wasn’t in the plans for Anderson, as he failed to qualify once again.
Alex Boston, DE: A Bartow product, Boston redshirted his first year on campus in 2003. In the following four years, Boston would start at all four defensive line positions. He ended up as the starting defensive end on the right side his senior year and earned 21 starts by the time his career at Florida State concluded.
Chris Bradwell, DE: Bradwell was another recruit who failed to qualify in 2002, but tried his luck again in 2003 with Florida State. Unlike Anderson, however, Bradwell righted the academic ship the second time around and was a part of the Florida State football team in 2004. However, that would be the only year he would spend in a Seminole uniform, as he was kicked off the team prior to the 2005 season.
Chauncey Davis, DE: Davis signed with Florida State after two years at a junior college and recorded 40 total tackles in his two years as a Seminole, appearing in 23 games.
Ernie Sims, LB: Sims was a star in high school and rated as a consensus five star. His physical prowess and skill translated to the next level, as Sims played in every single game his freshman year. His best season came in his second, when he earned a spot on the All-ACC team in 2004. Sims’ production dropped off slightly in 2005, but that didn’t stop him from declaring for the 2006 NFL draft, forgoing his senior season at Florida State.
Sims was a first round draft pick of the Detroit Lions.
Anthony Kelly, LB: Kelly was a linebacking prospect who failed to academically qualify in 2003, but made it to Florida State’s campus in 2004 after spending time at a junior college. However, Kelly failed to see the field at all during his time in Tallahassee.
Antonio Cromartie, CB: Easily one of the more memorable names out of the 2003 recruiting class, Cromartie made a name for himself early in his career. He was known for being an exceptional kick returner as well as a lockdown corner. Cromartie missed his entire junior year after he tore a ligament in his knee and would never again play at Florida State.
Despite missing his entire junior season, the star corner was still picked 19th overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers.
Jhermaine McAroy, CB: McAroy was a talented defensive back the Seminoles signed out of Pensacola, but after injuries and other issues, was no longer with the team after his freshman season in 2003.
Although the 2003 recruiting class of Florida State wasn’t littered with talent and big names like 2002, it still had its share of ups and downs. Cromartie and Sims were two of the class’s brighter spots, as both had above average careers with the Seminoles and made their way into the first round of the NFL Draft. Aside from Aubrey McPhadden, the offensive linemen taken in this class had relatively successful careers after the Seminoles took just one lineman in 2002.
However, the trend of signing prospects who failed to qualify continued for Florida State and would prove to be an issue for the program as the years went on. And when it was all said and done, this class would prove to be nothing more than another group who would go down in Florida State’s “lost decade”.