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Two top defenders bolster Seminoles' class

The SportsXchange

Florida State didn't have to wait long for its good news to come on National Signing Day.

When Matthew Thomas, a top linebacker prospect from Miami signed with Florida State on live television a little after 9 a.m., a roar went through the conference room where coach Jimbo Fisher and his assistants gathered for the day.

And things got even better for the Seminoles when Jalen Ramsey, a star defensive back from Brentwood, Tenn., followed up on his surprise commitment from the day before, spurning USC and signing with Florida State not long after 11 a.m.

By the time their last letter of intent faxed through, the Seminoles were left with another top-10 class.

"I think it was a great day. I think we met a lot of needs in what we did," Fisher said. "I'm very proud of our class. We hit a little bit of every position throughout the whole class and met a lot of needs."

Fisher had plenty of reasons to be happy, particularly after losing six assistants since November, but Florida State wasn't quite all smiles on Wednesday.

The Seminoles missed on two South Florida prospects, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and receiver Stacey Coley, who opted for Arkansas and Miami, respectively.

Still, Florida State appeared to do a nice job loading up at thin positions.

After losing their entire starting defensive line and top reserves, the Seminoles signed three defensive linemen, including four-star prospect DeMarcus Walker, a Jacksonville native who switched to Florida State from Alabama at the 11th hour before the deadline for early enrollees.

And even after missing on Kirkland, the Seminoles landed three highly regarded offensive linemen, including Ira Denson, the state of Florida's top offensive guard.

"I always want more big guys," Fisher said. "I don't think you ever have enough big guys. I would like to have had some more, but if I've got 10 of them, I'd still want 12. You can't have enough big people in this game."

TOP OF THE CLASS

OLB Matthew Thomas (Booker T. Washington High in Miami, Fla.) -- Florida State went into rival territory to pull one of the country's most coveted defensive prospects. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Thomas is considered to be one of the top high school linebackers in the nation and bolsters a position where the Seminoles have been light on depth in recent years.

DB Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood High in Brentwood, Tenn.) -- The Seminoles pulled a bit of a coup by getting Ramsey to flip to Florida State after being committed to USC since last July. Considered to be the top overall prospect in the state of Tennessee, the 6-foot, 190-pound Ramsey played cornerback in high school but could also play safety at Florida State. He has drawn comparisons to Florida State freshman Ronald Darby, who earned freshman All-ACC honors in 2012.

RB Ryan Green (St. Petersburg Catholic High, St. Petersburg, Fla.) -- The 5-10, 195-pound all-purpose back committed to Florida State early and never wavered. Despite missing nearly all of his senior season with a torn labrum, Green still has the speed (he's been clocked with a 4.40 second 40-yard dash) to make a big impact in the Seminoles' backfield. He has the potential to offer the Seminoles a different look from the stronger, more bruising styles of veterans James Wilder and Devonta Freeman.
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