Posted: 11:22 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014
By Bud Elliott
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Florida State signed a small, but talented class of defensive backs.
Lake City (Fla.) Columbia
5'11, 195 | 4-star
Marshall is one of the less talked about players in FSU's class. He is one of the ten best safeties in the country for my money, has some cornerback versatility, would be a really, really good blitzer from the slot (think Lamarcus Joyner's role in the nickel package), and has a knack for making plays. He also ran one of the best times at Nike's The Opening in the 40-yard dash. FSU beat out Florida, Georgia, Miami, Ole Miss and Tennessee for his commitment. As one Columbia alumni Timmy Jernigan leaves for the NFL, Marshall enters. He is enrolled and will take part in spring practice. Florida State is loaded in the secondary, and I am not sure how much Marshall will be able to play as a true freshman.
Malique "Bones" Jackson
Jesup (Ga.) Wayne County HS
5'11, 175 | 3-star
Jackson is one of the players FSU offered after seeing him in camp, and he committed on June 15. A quarterback in high school who is also on the golf team, Jackson doesn't have much film at defensive back. But at the camp, he displayed very good athleticism to go along with is solid length and frame that can hold additional weight. Wayne County is the same high school that brought guard Tre' Jackson to Florida State. Florida Sate is loaded in the secondary, and I am not sure how much Jackson will be able to play as a true freshman.
Immokalee (Fla.) HS
I do not expect Jackson to sign with the Seminoles. He is a former FSU commit, who is currently committed to Florida, and Jackson would not be on this list but for one crucial factor: he plays for Immokalee High School. And of late, Immokalee kids have turned recruiting into a big time game, trolling all fan bases even the ones to which they are committed. Miami is probably more in play to flip him than Florida is, but I have him here and give FSU a 2-percent shot to sign him, only because of the Immokalee factor.
If Florida State goes with just two defensive backs, it will enter 2014 with just 13 on its roster. That isn't problematic for 2014, because FSU is loaded, but that number could be slashed in half for 2015. FSU really could have used another defensive back in this class, but I think there' s an argument for being glad that it didn't reach to take a lesser prospect just to fill a number. Why? The state is back to having very good defensive back talent in 2015. The class of 2014 was not a great one for in-state defensive back prospects.
I project that the state of Florida alone will produce between 15 and 20 defensive backs rated four-stars or higher. And that's not even mentioning the surrounding state's of Georgia and Alabama, and FSU's ability to recruit nationally (see Ronald Darby and Jalen Ramsey, from D.C. and Nashville). And Florida State already has three commits rated four-stars or better in the secondary for 2014.