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 made its way back into the top five class rankings in 2004 by signing talents like Xavier Lee, Lawrence Timmons, Drew Weatherford and others. The program appeared to be slowly gaining momentum towards a return to prominence with an Orange Bowl appearance in 2006, but over time, the 2004 recruiting class would crumble similar to the classes of 2002 and 2003.
Xavier Lee, QB: What a name to start off with in looking back at this class. Lee came into Florida State as one of the most heralded prospects in school history. He had everyone excited about his athleticism, but that excitement would soon fade after he stepped on campus.
Lee struggled to make his way onto the field for a majority of his time with the Seminoles, but did have occasional flashes of greatness, like when he entered the game against Alabama and led the Seminoles to victory. However, character was always an issue for Lee that ultimately proved too much for the talented quarterback to overcome.
The former five-star prospect left the program after his redshirt junior year when he learned then offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, wanted to move him to tight end.
Drew Weatherford, QB: Weatherford was another quarterback that many fans get frustrated about when they just hear his name. The Odessa, Florida native proved to have the needed talent to succeed at the quarterback position, but struggled to lead the Seminoles to anything more than average results for the majority of his career as the starter.
The exception, however, was when he won the starting job over Lee in his redshirt freshman year of 2005, after Wyatt Sexton's career was cut short. Weatherford went onto to lead the Seminoles to what would prove to be their last Orange Bowl appearance to date, where they lost to the Penn State Nittany Lions.
In the end, though, Weatherford's career came to a rocky close as he was unseated by Christian Ponder in his senior year of 2008 after dealing with knee issues. He would struggle to make his way back to the top of the depth chart and only saw action in three games that year.
Jamaal Edwards, RB: A talented high school running back out of Greensboro, North Carolina, Edwards struggled to see the field for a majority of his career due to a crowded backfield that included the likes of Leon Washington, Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith.
His last impact would come in his redshirt junior year of 2007, when he accounted for just over 80 yards on the ground. Edwards transferred prior to the 2008 campaign.
Lamar Lewis, RB: Lewis was another running back with high aspirations when he set foot on campus, but the reality of Florida State's backfield proved too much for the Jacksonville, Florida native to overcome. After two seasons at Florida State, Lewis would transfer to Georgia Southern.
Joe Surratt, FB: Unlike the two backs just touched on, Surratt was a prospect who entered his career at Florida State without much expectation. He was only a consensus two-star product, something that many fans don't pay attention to.
Although his career may not have been the flashiest, Surratt still managed to make an impact. In 2006, he finished with six rushing touchdowns, which was behind only Greg Carr for most touchdowns on the team. One of those touchdowns was a fourth quarter score against the Miami Hurricanes to set the game even at 10 apiece, and Florida State would go onto beat the 'Canes for the second straight season.
However, after a productive junior season, Surratt fell of the map in 2008, earning only one carry all season long for six yards.
Kenny O'Neal, WR: O'Neal was a wide receiver with great speed who many hoped would provide a spark to Florida State's offense. And he showed promise in his redshirt freshman season, when he accounted for 110 yards on five catches, including a 75 yard, electrifying catch and run against Syracuse. He also showed off his speed on special teams, leading the team with 503 kick return yards.
However, O'Neal was kicked off the team prior to the 2006 season and ultimately ended up at the University of Tennessee after a year at a junior college.
Greg Carr, WR: A big and physical receiver out of Reddick, Florida, Carr defined consistency over his four years at Florida State. After enrolling in January 2005, he made an impact the moment he set foot on campus. Carr accounted for nine touchdowns in his freshman year when he played in 12 of the Seminoles' 13 games, including the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl games.
Carr had 30 career touchdowns with Florida State, 29 of which came when the Seminoles were inside the opponents' 30 yard line. He also led the Seminoles in yard per game in each of his final two seasons and became only the second player in school history to make the top five for catches, yards and touchdowns. Peter Warrick was the first.
Carr is seventh in Florida State history with eight games of over 100 receiving yards.
Courtney Abbott, OL: Abbott was a massive offensive tackle prospect with tons of potential. However, potential is all he would ever prove to have with Florida State, as the 6-9, 335 pound Atlanta native would end up transferring to Eastern Mississippi Community College before ever playing a down with the Seminoles.
Jacky Claude, OL: A standout from Edison High School in Miami, Florida, Claude proved to be a dependable offensive guard over his four years at Florida State, as he started in an impressive 37 games. Claude was known for his leadership and impressive work ethic in the weight room.
Geoff Berniard, OL: Bernaird was a Louisiana native who saw a decent amount of playing time over his career at Florida State, but overall did not make a considerable impact. After his redshirt junior year of 2007, Berniard left the program.
Dumaka Atkins, OL: If there were a superlative for coolest name on the team, Dumaka Atkins definitely would have been the proud owner of it.
All jokes aside, Atkins spend most of his time at Florida State as the second team center. His most significant sighting came against Virginia Tech in the 2005 ACC Championship game, when he replaced the injured David Castillo.
After missing the entire 2007 season because of a knee injury, Atkins would eventually transfer to Tennessee State to finish his career.
Aaron Jones, DT: Jones was a talented prospect our of Edgewater, Florida, but figured it was in his best interest to transfer after he was listed as the third option on Florida State's depth chart for defensive tackle in his redshirt sophomore season. He would make his way to Eastern Kentucky.
Emmanuel Dunbar, DT: Like his teammate Carr, Dunbar enrolled at Florida State in 2005. Unfortunately for the Deerfield Beach standout, Dunbar was weighed down by a costly back injury over his career in Tallahassee. His impact on the program was minimal, as he played in just 13 games in his first three seasons.
A scary moment for Dunbar and Florida State occurred in his senior season, when Dunbar was taken to the hospital from practice after sustaining a significant back injury. He would end up being alright, but would undergo season-ending surgery in September.
Barry Wright, DE: Wright was a community college transfer who saw minimal playing time as a reserve on Florida State's depth chart. He would eventually transfer to West Virginia, where he sat out his final year of eligibility.
Lawrence Timmons, LB: Timmons just may have had the most success over his career at Florida State out of anyone in the 2004 recruiting class. The South Carolina product was known for his physical play and for playing in every single game over the course of his three year career.
Timmons was ranked as the ninth overall linebacker in the nation by Todd McShay heading into his junior season, after which he finished ranked 11th in the nation with 18 tackles for loss.
Timmons was selected 15th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007 and has since flourished with the franchise.
Rodney Gallon, LB: A Tallahassee native, Gallon spent the majority of his career at Florida State as a reserve. After minimal playing time over three years and just one start, Gallon left the program after the 2007 before his redshirt senior season in 2008.
J.R. Bryant, CB: Bryant was a Killian (Miami, Fla.) standout who made a considerable impact over his years at Florida State. He played in 45 games over the course of his career, 10 of which were starts.
Bryant's biggest performance came against his hometown Miami Hurricanes in 2006, when he finished with a career high five tackles. He would go on to rank 12th on the team in tackles that season with 23.
Tony Carter, CB: Although it can be argued he was overlooked coming out of high school, Carter certainly made sure fans remembered his name during his time at Florida State. As a matter of fact, he was the only corner on the roster to start all 13 games during his redshirt freshman season of 2005.
Carter started 33 consecutive games to end his career and only sat out two contests over his four years. His biggest season was probably his junior year, when he racked up four interceptions and had a three week stretch in which he picked off a pass each week.
Joe Manning, CB: Manning did not have a long career at Florida State due to character and legal issues. He was dismissed midseason in 2005 when he was a redshirt freshman.
Trevor Ford, CB: Ford was a Miami Northwestern product who saw action in seven games during his redshirt freshman campaign in 2005, but decided to transfer prior to the 2006 season.
Darius McClure, S: A Birmingham, Alabama native, McClure put together a solid career as a Seminole, playing in 47 games throughout his career. His highlight year was his last, when he totaled a career high of 25 tackles on the season. Six of those came in that year's homecoming game against Boston College.
Kenny Ingram, S: Ingram's ride at Florida State wasn't what you would call smooth, as after a productive redshirt freshman season in 2005, he was forced to transfer to Tallahassee Community College in 2006 for academic reasons.
Ingram was reunited with the program in 2007 and eventually made the switch to linebacker in 2008 for his senior season, when he accounted for 22 tackles and played in 13 games, including four starts.
Jonathan Warren, S: Warren, a standout safety out of Madison, Florida, never got to set foot on Florida State's campus. Shortly after National Signing Day 2004, then head coach Bobby Bowden announced the university was withdrawing Warren's scholarship offer after he was charged with a third-degree felony.
Gary Cismesia, K: Cismesia was another great Seminole kicker, finishing as a Lou Graza Award semifinalist in both 2006 and 2007. He was known for being one of the most accurate kickers in Florida State history, posting a career high 79 percent field goal percentage in his senior season in 2007.
His most memorable moment came in 2007 against the Florida Gators, when he hit an incredible field goal of 60 yards.
After taking an in-depth look at the 2004 recruiting class, it's clear that much like the top five ranked class of 2002, the group had its share of ups and downs. Timmons, Cismesia, Carr, McClure, Carter, Bryant, Surratt and Claude all had solid careers as Seminoles.
On the other hand, characters like Lee and O'Neal would give the fan base headache after headache.
The class was also littered with players who would transfer, as the total reached a number of seven. If you count the Warren debacle, three signees would be dismissed from the program. All in all, only 10 of the class members would make it to their senior year.