Flood of signing-day commits vaults Florida State to No. 1

ACC Signing Day wrap (1:26)

Recruiting reporter Derek Tyson breaks down the ACC's signing day winner (No. 1 Florida State) and the biggest surprise of the final hours of 2016 recruiting. (1:26)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State finishes with the No. 1 recruiting class, and the Seminoles signing-day ascent looked like a throwback model familiar to their fans.

Over a four-hour span beginning at 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, Florida State gained six ESPN 300 commitments to jump from No. 4 in the class rankings at the start of signing day to the top. It felt like a Jimbo Fisher homage to mentor Bobby Bowden, recruiting's renowned closer and signing day maestro.

Yet Fisher, who signed 16 ESPN 300 recruits and 25 total, credited the three months prior for the Seminoles' strong February finale and uprooting of Alabama atop the recruiting rankings. Alabama had won four straight recruiting titles since Florida State signed the top class in 2011.

"Everyone says you close at the end," Fisher said. "You don't close at the end. You build toward that closing, and that happens in November, December and January. Closing goes back to whether you're gaining ground during those times. There's no miraculous formula at the end where you give some magical talk and all of a sudden they jump in the boat.

"In the old days you may have done that more because you had less interaction, less communication, fewer guys to your campus than you do now. Now closing is an accumulation of all the way up [to signing day] and where you put yourself at."

While Fisher said the wheels began turning months ago, the public landslide of commitments began Friday when Keith Gavin (No. 79 in the ESPN 300) recommitted to the Seminoles. Defensive end Brian Burns (No. 160) began the signing day flood of commitments at 8 a.m., and cornerback Carlos Becker (No. 46) came not long after. The next four commitments came in pairs of two, as offensive tackle Jauan Williams (No. 110) and Dontavious Jackson (No. 123) went back-to-back, and Landon Dickerson (No. 64) and Shavar Manuel (No. 72) followed in the noon hour.

The Seminoles did lose two commitments, including No. 3 safety Jamel Cook.

Traditionally, Fisher's seven classes, five of which have finished in the top three nationally, were wrapped up well before signing day. The excitement isn't any less muted or mornings less stressful when the class is done before signing day, but the Seminoles have rarely added many 11th-hour commits.

Fisher said 2016 was just an odd season as far as how many targets remained uncommitted on signing day, but it added another layer of intrigue for the staff, which felt confident entering the day.

"It depends on what side, whether you're going to get them or not," Fisher said about whether the signing-day unknowns made the day better. "For fans, it's fun, but recruiting's changed so much. One year you may close them all and the next year it goes back."

This time a year ago, the Seminoles missed on their final 2015 recruiting targets, a slew of five-star national prospects they faced an uphill battle recruiting. The Seminoles finished with the No. 2-ranked class but missed on three top-10 players and couldn't complete the flip of Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick.

This year, no program added more ESPN 300 prospects on signing day than Florida State. Already locked into the class was early enrollee and No. 2 dual-threat quarterback Malik Henry and five-star Levonta Taylor, the first player to send in his letter of intent Friday.

"When it works out that way," Fisher said, "it's a great deal."