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FSU lands two of nation’s top 10 players in recruiting class

The FSU Seminoles can claim a successful recruiting season after landing two of the nation’s top 10 products.

FSU has already enrolled running back Cam Akers, the nation’s second-ranked prospect, and defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, a defensive end.

The Seminoles had tried to bolster their class on signing day with sixth ranked Marvin Wilson, but there was no word by mid-day. Wilson is being recruited by six school.

FSU did miss out on linebacker Levi Jones, who spurned both FSU and Florida and signed with Southern Cal.

FSU has also replenished positions of need with depth in running backs Khalan Laborn and Zaquandre White, four-star safeties Cyrus Fagan and Hamsah Nasirildeen, and four-star quarterbacks James Blackman and Bailey Hockman. Four-star receiver D.J. Matthews is also considered the nation’s best slot receiver.

According to 247sports.com, it was the nation’s top five recruiting class for coach Jimbo Fisher.

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FSU poised to add even more stars to impressive recruiting class

One day before national signing day, and the FSU Seminoles remain solidly in fifth place in the 247sports.com’s rankings.

The Seminoles have 21 recruits, with five slots left open. FSU is hoping to add another receiver, a defensive end, a defensive tackle, a linebacker and a safety. The Seminoles already have seven recruits enrolled, including much discussed running back Cam Akers.

In all, it looks like another solid class for coach Jimbo Fisher.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the Seminoles’ best chances are with five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and four-star linebacker Levi Jones.

Elsewhere in the state, 247sports.com doesn’t like USF’s recruiting at all. It has the school ranked No. 118. That means new coach Charlie Strong will have to finish, well, strong.

Other state schools include Miami (No. 16), Florida (21), UCF (66), FIU (79) and FAU (79).

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FSU president says he’s ‘deeply concerned’ about Donald Trump travel ban

John Thrasher, the former Republican lawmaker turned college president, released a statement Sunday saying Florida State University is “deeply concerned” about President Donald Trump‘s immigration order.

The order Trump issued Friday includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.

The travel ban is causing confusion and uncertainty at universities nationwide, Thrasher says, causing disruption and worry among students, researchers, faculty and staff who are citizens of the countries involved in the ban, as well as their colleagues and friends.

While the impact of the order is reviewed and better understood, Thrasher and FSU are advising members of the FSU community who are from the affected countries to not make any plans to leave the U.S.

On Saturday night, a federal judge issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people subject to the travel ban. The judge said travelers who had been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights had been violated.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement early Sunday that said the court ruling would not affect the overall implementation of the White House order and it affected a relatively small number of travelers who were inconvenienced by security procedures upon their return. Trump’s aides insist the judgment has little impact.

Meanwhile. Thrasher said the safety and security of all FSU student is the highest priority.

In his statement, Thrasher acknowledges the valuable contribution of the scholars and students targeted by the immigration order.

“We all know that our university has long been enriched and strengthened by the cultural and intellectual diversity these scholars contribute,” Thrasher said.

A former House Speaker and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Thrasher is a respected voice in both politics and academia. His statement is at least the second one from a Florida university addressing Trump’s travel ban. On Sunday, the University of Miami released a statement expressing support for DACA students and employees.

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FSU Seminoles face difficult football schedule in 2017

The FSU Seminoles have a good returning class. They seem primed for a good recruiting class.

Only one thing could get in the way of FSU.

The schedule. Coach Jimbo Fisher has his work cut out for him.

The Seminoles play one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2017, which was confirmed Wednesday as the ACC announced it schedules. FSU plays both teams that were in the national championship game – Clemson and Alabama.

The Seminoles also play rivals Miami and Florida. They play Louisville, which beat them handily a year ago.

FSU opens its season Sept. 2 in Atlanta against the Crimson Tide, the plays Louisiana-Monroe, Miami, N.C. State, at Wake Forest, at Duke, Louisville, Boston College and Syracuse. The Noles wind up their season playibg at Clemson on Nov. 11, Delaware State on Nov. 18 at at Florida on Nov. 25. The ACC championship, should FSU make it, is scheduled for Dec. 2.

FSU finished eighth in the nation last season, behind national champion Clemson and runner-up Alabama.

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FSU alumni make history with 8 Oscar nominations for ‘Moonlight’

The acclaimed film, “Moonlight,” from Florida State University graduate Barry Jenkins and his crew of FSU Film School alumni, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning. Jenkins, who wrote the screenplay and directed “Moonlight,” was nominated in the Directing category. He shares a nomination for Adapted Screenplay with Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” which was the basis for the film.

“Moonlight” earned nominations for:

Directing — Jenkins (FSU ‘03)

Best Picture — Adele Romanski (FSU ‘04), Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

Supporting Actress — Naomie Harris

Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali

Cinematography — James Laxton (FSU ‘03)

Film Editing — Nat Sanders (FSU ’02) and Joi McMillon (FSU ‘03)

Adapted Screenplay — Jenkins and McCraney

Original Score — Nicholas Britell

Jenkins worked with a half dozen Florida State graduates on “Moonlight” — Adele Romanski, producer; Andrew Hevia, co-producer; James Laxton, cinematographer; Nat Sanders, editor; Joi McMillion, co-editor; and actor André Holland.

Reb Braddock, interim dean of the College of Motion Picture Arts, praised them.

“We could not be more proud of Barry Jenkins and his wonderful team of film school alums for their success,” Braddock said. “’Moonlight’ is a shining example of what we do here at the college. We combine talented groups of individuals and hone them into filmmaking teams who forge bonds as friends and collaborators for years to come.”

Valliere Richard Auzenne, an associate professor who taught each one of the “Moonlight” crew members when they attended FSU, also cheered their recognition.

“I’m so proud of all of them, but I’m not surprised,” said Auzenne, who teaches documentary filmmaking, film history and screenwriting. “Barry has always told interesting stories. He’s made difficult films. They aren’t films that make you feel good. They make you think and have complicated characters.”

“Moonlight” is a coming-of-age story that follows an African-American boy through his difficult childhood in a drug-plagued Miami neighborhood and into his early adult life.

Jenkins has said the film and its characters are similar to what he experienced growing up in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.

Two other Florida State graduates were honored Tuesday with Oscar nominations for projects they helped lead.

Jonathan King, who graduated from FSU in 1992, was executive producer of the film “Deepwater Horizon.” It received nominations for Sound Editing and Visual Effects.

Also, Stephen Broussard — a 2003 graduate — was executive producer for “Doctor Strange,” which received a nomination for Visual Effects.

Oscars are awarded in 24 categories. A total of 336 feature films from 2016 were eligible for nominations.

The 89th Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, in Hollywood. The ceremony will be televised in the United States on ABC at 7 p.m. EST and also appear in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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Both FSU, Florida football teams will be represented in Super Bowl

There will be at least a bit of the Sunshine State in the upcoming Super Bowl.

Former FSU running back Devonta Freeman, who had his second straight 1,000-yard season this year, will lead the Atlanta Falcons. Former FSU guard Tre’ Jackson is on the Patriots’ physically unable to perform list.

The Florida Gators have been represented in 15 straight Super Bowls, since the Tampa Bay Bucs won. This year, both Keanu Neal and Brian Poole play for the Atlanta Falcons.

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Examining the expectations for Florida football teams in 2017

If the early prognostications mean anything, then a level of success is going to surround the state of Florida in 2017.

Most of the too-soon predictions for next season have FSU contending for a playoff spot. They think USF could have its best season ever. They think Florida and Miami will both be solid. The predictions come despite FSU losing Dalvin Cook, despite Florida losing much of its defense, despite USF losing Marlon Mack and despite UM losing Brad Kaaya.

ESPN has FSU second in the nation to Alabama. CBS has the Seminoles third. Sporting News has FSU sixth, same as Pro Football Focus. SB Nation has FSU fourth.

USF is 10th by CBS. They’re 20th on ESPN, 25th on Sporting News, 15th by Pro Football Focus and 21st by SB Nation.

Florida is ranked 21st by ESPN, 14th by Sporting News, 21st by Pro Football Focus and 18th by SB Nation. They are unranked by CBS.

UM is 16th by ESPN, 24th by CBS, 21st by Sporting News, 17th by Pro Football Focus and 19th by SB Nation.

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FSU ranked eighth in final AP poll; three other state teams ranked

In the final Associated Press poll of the year, the debate anymore is not who is No. 1.

It’s how the rest of the field sorts out.

This year, for instance, there was never any doubt that Clemson and Alabama would be 1-2 in the polls. But Southern Cal climbed to No. 3 in the final poll.

The two national semifinal losers finished behind the Trojans. Washington was fourth and Ohio State sixth (behind Oklahoma).

Four of Florida’s teams made the top 20 in the poll. FSU finished No. 8 and Florida No. 14 in the polls. USF finished 19th, the first time ever the team has been ranked in the final poll. Miami was 20th.

LSU was 13th. The Tigers, Florida and USF all climbed six spots in the final poll.

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FSU has big shoes to fill with the departure of Dalvin Cook

FSU has a lot of players coming back to its football team. One who won’t is a big one.

Dalvin Cook finished the season as the nation’s No. 1 running back, according to Pro Football Focus. It remains to be seen if Cook is the top back taken — some mocks seem to prefer LSU’s Leonard Fournette — but Cook’s season put him above everyone else in college.

Cook finished the year with 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns on 288 carries this season, and also finished as the Seminoles second leading receiver with 488 yards and a touchdown on 33 receptions.

Here is what PFF’s Gordon McGuinness had to say about Cook:

“Coming into the year, the big question was who would emerge as the best running back in the nation, with strong candidates in Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. In the end, it was Cook who had the best year, capping off an incredible collegiate career with an impressive three-game stretch to end the year that summed up his play nicely.

In games against Syracuse, Florida and Michigan, he averaged 3.7, 4.8 and 6.0 yards after contact per carry, and forced 33 missed tackles. Particularly against Michigan that really is incredible, with 119 of his 145 yards coming after contact and Cook forcing a missed tackle once every two carries.

“Cook led all running backs in 2016 with 1,195 yards after contact, the most of any running back in the nation, but also more than all but 31 running backs managed total rushing yards. The best pure runner in the nation, Cook stands out in terms of raw stats, advanced stats and passes the eyeball test too, with plenty of quality runs of four and five yards in his repertoire. In a year when many of the top running backs in the nation didn’t live up to expectations, Cook was able to tie a career best in touchdowns and post career-best numbers in rushing yards and yards after contact.”

FSU has a few candidates to run the ball next year, including junior Jacques Patrick, freshman Cam Akers, Ryan Green, Amir Rasul, freshman Khalan Rayborn and freshman Zaquandre White.

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Two recruiting sites say FSU is having a Top 10 recruiting year

The rich, evidently, get richer.

The recruiting sites are writing that most of the Florida schools are doing well in recruiting, led by FSU, which both 247sports.com and Rivals.com see as having a top 10 recruiting class again.

Of course, the signatures are not on the line yet, so recruitings can shuffle somewhat.

The website 247sports.com has FSU fifth in the nation. They have Miami 15th, Florida 19th, UCF 60th, USF 73rd, FIU 89th and FAU 95th.

Rivals, has most of the teams in the same neighborhood. They have FSU eighth, Miami 13th, Florida 17th, UCF 50th, USF 73rd, FAU 88th and FIU 89th.

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