Florida State adds five key players on final day, moving its signing class into top 5 nationally


Can't miss: WR Travis Rudolph. The Cardinal Newman product is Rivals' No. 1 receiver in the nation. He has a great shot of stepping into the rotation next season with Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw departing. Rudolph is 6-feet, 185 pounds and appears to be a great candidate for a slot receiver.

Surprise: DT Derrick Nnadi. Nnadi, 6-2, 300 pounds, is from Ocean Lakes High in Virginia Beach. His dad went to Virginia Tech, and many analysts believed he would end up at Virginia Tech. Nnadi eventually will fill the role that Timmy Jernigan did last season in the middle of the line. Scout and Rivals have him among the top four defensive tackles in the country.

Coach Jimbo Fisher could have stayed home Wednesday and Florida State’s recruiting class still would have finished in the top 10. But the Seminoles were busy, adding five key players who entered the day uncommitted and pushing their class into the top 5.

Five-star receiver Ermon Lane highlighted a successful closing day and helped FSU to a No. 3 or No. 4 ranking by all the major services, giving Fisher his second-best class since taking over in 2010, only behind 2011.

“It’s one of the most complete classes we’ve signed since I’ve been here,” Fisher said. “We kind of hit needs all across the board.”

The Seminoles signed 28 players, highlighted by a trio of five-star prospects from South Florida: Lane of Homestead, Travis Rudolph of Cardinal Newman and running back Dalvin Cook of Miami-Central. Cook is an early enrollee.

FSU signed six players overall from South Florida.

Chris Nee, the state of Florida recruiting analyst for 247Sports, praised the class for its balance and depth.

“Is Alabama’s class from top to bottom as good as FSU’s? It might be, but it’s a fair discussion,” Nee said. “From 21 to 28, there’s a lot of value and a lot of guys Jimbo Fisher thinks can make his football team better.”

FSU filled needs at offensive line and receiver, added athletic linebackers and size on the defensive front, and signed its likely quarterback of the future in 6-foot-4 J.J. Cosentino, a four-star prospect from Dan Marino’s high school, Central Catholic in Pittsburgh.

“All those needs were met with great players and a lot of depth,” Fisher said. “I’ll be anxious to see how these guys can contribute (next season). There’ll be an opportunity for quite a few of them.”

FSU jumped a spot or two on most charts by adding Lane plus four four-star prospects — defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, receiver Javon Harrison, and offensive linemen Roderick Johnson and Derrick Kelly — on Wednesday.

Nnadi and Harrison both were considered Virginia Tech0bound at one time. Nnadi is from Virginia Beach and Harrison was a longtime Hokies commitment. The 6-2, 300-pound Nnadi set the tone by being among the first few players to send in his letter.

“We felt very good about him for a while,” Fisher said. “I mean, that guy can fill the middle.”

Five players who had previously committed to FSU flipped, including quarterback Treon Harris from Miami. He signed with Florida.

The Noles signed seven offensive linemen, an area that will become a major concern in 2015 with five projected senior starters in 2014. The group is large in numbers and in size with 6-8 Brock Ruble, 6-7 Roderick Johnson, 6-6 Kareem Are, 6-5 Corey Martinez, Alec Eberle, Chad Mavety and Kelly.

“You got to win those battles up front, you got to be able to protect and do those kinds of things,” Fisher said. “Getting great offensive linemen is critical.”

Rudolph and Ermon both are ranked among the top 5 receivers in the nation, and with Kelvin Benjamin leaving early for the NFL and Kenny Shaw graduating, both could contribute next season.

“I definitely look forward to getting in there right away,” Rudolph said.

Fisher likes their versatility.

“These guys are all big-body guys,” said Fisher, who was including Harrison. “But big-body guys that are outside guys that have the capabilities of (going) inside, which is very rare.”

The linebacker group includes Kain Daub, an early enrollee from Jacksonville, Jacob Pugh from Tallahassee and Delvin Purifoy from Pensacola. Among the seven defensive linemen: 6-7 Lorenzo Featherston of Greensboro, N.C., and 6-4 Demarcus Christmas of Bradenton.

Fisher believes Christmas would have been listed among the top players in the nation had he not committed early and shut down his recruiting.

“He did things in pass rush drills that I hadn’t seen in 20 years,” Fisher said.