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How FSU found hidden value in the transfer market to build a squad capable of winning the ACC

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state of florida is building a roster that should, at the very least, put the Seminoles in legitimate contention for an ACC championship. And it does so while leaning heavily on Transfer Portal to renew its roster.

Some will say it’s not sustainable depending on transfers.

We’ll see. 247 Sports Transfer Portal guru Chris Hummer described FSU’s approach as an “experiment” as few title contenders built their roster via the transfer market in the limited window of the Transfer Portal Era. FSU, however, are coming off a 10-3 record in which they lost three games during an injury-plagued part of the season by a combined 18 points (FSU had +219 points in their 10 wins, comparatively) and bring back nearly all of importance from the 2022 team.

It is like upper transfer class in the country with the first transfer window closed (some laggards still remain), FSU is equipped to make a legitimate run for an ACC title and perhaps a playoff berth. If FSU is really going to strive for anything significant in 2023, it will be in large part due to the way in which Mike Norvell and company put together this list with Transfer Portal at its core. From our two depth projected depth chart going into the offseason, 21 players transferred to FSU.

That’s almost half of the points at both depths.

But you probably already know that FSU used Transfer Portal and did so successfully.

What I want to explore is the how. How did FSU exploit this market inefficiency to quickly overhaul a roster that was fragmented when Norvell arrived in 2020?

There are three trends I can point to…

1. FSU emphasized multi-year contributors

Of course, FSU has its share of ready-made types. IN Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas come to mind.

But most of FSU’s success came from players who were acquired through Portal and stayed for multiple seasons.

Consider this: FSU had 8 players receiving All-ACC selections last season and 7 of them transferred. All 7 of these transfers were FSU multi-year contributors or will be multi-year contributors by the time the 2023 season is underway.

Players like S Jammie Robinson or iOL Dillan Gibbons they were plug-and-play types that shored up weaknesses for more than a season. Damn, DT Fabien Lovett entered as a rotating part in 2020 after having a similar role at Mississippi State and will leave FSU in 2023…he will be a four-year contributor to the Seminoles and was once an All-ACC honorable mention two years in a row. All-ACC DE jared verse is back for another season… imagine what he would have done on the open market this cycle?

Norvell is back again this cycle. Of the nine transfer additions in the top-ranked class, seven players have several years of eligibility remaining. Of course, the hope is that some of the top talent such as CB Fentrell Cypress (95 General note, nº 4 general on the Portal) and TE Jaheim Bell (Rank 94 overall, No. 8 overall on Portal) has performed well enough this season to be called up in 2024. But adding valuable pieces of depth that should flourish as starters – like DT Darrell Jackson or EDGE Gilbert Edmond – are perfect examples of FSU using the Portal to build for the future. The idea of ​​these players being mercenaries or rented for a year loses meaning if they are contributing for a few seasons.

So FSU is basically getting a few seasons of players that they don’t have to do a lot of projections on. By that, I mean that FSU is taking players who are at least somewhat proven at the collegiate level and taking them – often – for a few seasons to further develop them and integrate them into their culture. Can most college teams say they’re getting more than two seasons of significant contributions from most of the players they bring from the prep level? You’re inheriting much less risk, and while you may be giving up some advantage, that loss of potential is made up for when a player contributes for a few seasons.

In fact, it looks like FSU found that value within the margins.

2. FSU largely achieved cultural adjustments

The Portal strategy doesn’t work if your culture is corrupted by additions.

With that in mind, I think this is at the heart of FSU’s success. Norvell instilled a dynamic culture at FSU, based on competition and fighting among players. The recent series of interviews between transfers put into words what you and I have seen develop over the last few years…

“Everyone was there to win. That’s what I really liked,” said Cypress as he watched FSU play last season. “Like, nobody was selfish. They were just trying to do their job at the highest level to help win the game, and that’s what they’re trying to do next season. This is something I want to be a part of. Overall, looking back at that and seeing how hard these guys fight to win was something special.

“You can tell they have relationships off the field based on how much they struggled on the field.”

When you have a multi-year beginner like Maurice Smith embracing a transfer that is coming to your place Kayden Lylesand Lyles, for his part, does the same, you can take the approach of adding 10 or more transfers per cycle to immediately meet needs or find definite value for the future.

These are a coaching staff with vast experience at various levels of football, so there is a deep network to be reached when trying to do due diligence in the truncated window of the transfer cycle. For example, tight ends coach Chris Thomsen recruited OL transfer Casey Roddick when he was at the state of arizona two jobs ago. So there’s a level of rigor to the verification process that probably isn’t always available when making quick decisions about whether or not to transfer. And with an expanded reconnaissance department, this type of verification should become more thorough.

Ultimately, the core of FSU’s culture comes from veterans who hold the line. But don’t try to tell me that Gibbons hasn’t changed the way the offensive line behaves or that Johnson and Thomas haven’t given the defensive line an edge that has bled this season.

FSU hit transfers that bought Norvell’s way far more than they missed them. It builds upon itself and creates this beneficial self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. FSU Throws Numbers on Its Pain Spots

This is a strategy some NFL teams employ in the NFL Draft. If you have a weakness, use multiple picks to strengthen that group of positions.

If we’re looking at transfer points as choices – you can only accept so many transfers before compromising your program’s long-term growth, even if you’re getting multi-year guys like FSU – which are allocated, then it’s worth it noting that FSU corrected some of its biggest weaknesses in short order.

Look no further than last cycle, when FSU released four receiver scholarships to fix one of the worst rooms in the Power Five or four offensive linemen to add an insurance policy and competition to a room that was still in trouble. development. FSU earned an All-ACC performance in Johnny Wilson on the receiver and D’Mitri Emmanuel on the offensive line. Mycah Pittman solidified the much-maligned punt-return unit and jazston tournetine it was a piece of invaluable depth that allowed FSU not to rush newcomers into action. Within a year, FSU’s receivers and offensive line became useful parts of one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Even hitting a home run in the prep ranks doesn’t get that kind of turnaround.

What cannot be overstated is that Norvell is adaptable in his strategy. Assume he made a receiver transfer in 2021 (André Parchment) and also an offensive line transfer (Gibbons). Well, when that receiver didn’t work and when injuries mounted down the line, FSU’s weaknesses were again exposed. Fast forward a year later, and the Seminoles have taken out insurance policies on their insurance policies. Four offensive line transfers proved invaluable when two projected starters for the season were injured in one game, and most of the receiver paid dividends, as injuries completely or partially derailed key players in that room (i.e. transfer Winston Wrightingenious Ja’Khi Douglas, or upside-down target Darion Williamson).

Last season, FSU’s tight room was good, but not dynamic. Then, FSU added two four-star tight ends in Portal. The depth of the defensive line was exposed as injuries mounted, so FSU added three four-star trenchers on that side of the ball. And the offensive line, well this season proved again that you can never have too many forwards. Three portal additions later…Norvell has shown he’s not shy about addressing and maybe even addressing too many pain points in Portal.

FSU’s use of the Portal is indeed an experiment. Teams have seen year-long Portal blips only to fall (i.e. Michigan State in 2021) or be exposed at key times (i.e. TCU last season). All eyes across the country will be on the Seminoles this season to see if there really is a sustainable path to building a championship roster with the transfer market serving as an important piece to the puzzle year after year. To date, no one has used the Portal more effectively than Norvell to climb to this point. Now we can see if one more big Portal transport can take FSU even further to the next level.