Prime Time Recruiting
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Travis Hunter, the country’s top recruit, spurned Florida State during the early-signing period. The prodigious athlete abandoned his long-time commitment to FSU in the final hours of his recruitment for Jackson State, an FCS program led by Seminoles’ legend Deion Sanders.
Sanders, who’s led the HBCU in Jackson (Miss.) since 2020, promised to shock the world during the Early Signing Period.
He didn’t disappoint, but broke the hearts of the FSU fan base in the process. Hunter announced his decision on Wednesday during a signing ceremony at his school, tossing an FSU hat to the side while putting on a Jackson State hat and shirt.
Hunter, the five-star prospect out of Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.) was one of the highest-ranked recruits in the history of recruiting services with a Composite Grade of 0.9999. He grew up an FSU fan and was committed to the Seminoles since the spring of 2020.
But Jackson State’s late push, believed to be backed by Name Image Likeness, doomed FSU’s chances late.
It’s a critical blow to the recruiting efforts of Mike Norvell and the 2022 recruiting cycle. FSU was pushing for a Top 10 class, but losing the prodigious prospect derails that hope and puts the future of the Norvell Era in a tenuous position.
FSU’s staff was viewing Hunter as a two-year player, who could help out immediately on either side of the ball as a true freshman.
In the last three seasons, Hunter had 19 interceptions while also scoring 46 receiving touchdowns (in addition to recording 3,807 receiving yards).
In addition to bolstering FSU’s class rank, Hunter was an alpha dog for FSU on the recruiting trail as he helped guide various prospects to the Seminoles — including five-star defensive back Sam McCall — and weather the storm after an 0-4 start to the season.
McCall has already requested out of his National Letter of Intent and will be back on the market soon enough. Florida State is asking him to take a few days to consider.
The NLI is pointless at this point as it costs a counter if you force the kid to enroll and, until they enroll, it does not count as a transfer. Likewise, they can transfer anywhere immediately so it’s a mutually assured destruction situation where no one wins. This is what happened famously with Zach Evans and UGA.
More bad news for Seminole fans, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard four-star wide receiver Devaughn Mortimer has flipped his commitment from Florida State to Louisville and Tift County four-star defensive tackle Tyree West flipped to Tennessee.
Again, FSU is 5-7 and likely going to sign the best class for a team with a losing record in the early signing period.
This class is beyond impressive once you realize the hurdles the staff had to overcome, even if those hurdles were somewhat self-imposed. The jury is still out if this staff can recruit and it will be interesting to see what they can do on-field in 2020.
My final thoughts: has he done more damage to the FSU program in the last 4 months than he did to help FSU in the previous 35 years? Is Deion’s contribution to FSU now officially a net negative or a net positive?