Florida State began the 2011 season as a favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and finished it ranked No. 23 and playing in the Champs Sports Bowl. But the Seminoles took a significant stride toward returning to the upper echelon of college football with a tremendous haul of elite talent on National Signing Day. As the AP reported:

Florida State literally went heavy on defense in another highly ranked recruiting class pulled in by coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff.

The Seminoles landed two of the nation’s top-ranked defensive linemen Wednesday in 290-pound defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr., and 310-pound defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. They also picked up the country’s fastest prep player in receiver Marvin Bracy, who recorded the fastest 55 meters time in the world last month when he was clocked at 6.08 seconds. The Orlando two-sport star would miss the beginning of Florida State’s fall practice if he qualifies for the U.S. Olympic team this summer.

Other Seminole signees include quarterback Sean McGuire from Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, New Jersey and tight end Christo Kourtzidis from Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif.

Friendship Collegiate lineman Eddie Goldman, ranked by ESPN Rise as this year’s No. 10 overall prospect, was one of Florida State biggest signees on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder ultimately chose Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles over a pair of top Southeastern Conference teams. As James Wagner reported :

Often a person who shuns the spotlight, Goldman, a massive 6-foot-4, 315-pound senior, sported a broad smile as he announced his choice, picking the Seminoles over finalists Alabama and Auburn.

“I went back and forth with my decision,” he said. “But I think I’m happy with my decision.”

Goldman, who said the difficulty of the decision ranked as a “10” on a scale of “one to ten,” said he was excited to be surrounded by a talented Florida State recruiting class.

“Conference didn’t play a role in this at all,” he said. “I was trying to pick the school that was best for me.. . .

“I know the [Southeastern Conference] is like the NFL almost. But I gotta do what I wanna do. Going to the SEC would have been good but I wouldn’t have been happy not at Florida State. The ACC puts kids in the NFL, too.”

And after he announced his choice and answered a few questions before a national television audience, Goldman finished with a “Go ‘Noles” and a trademark Tomahawk chop with right arm.

A consensus top ten recruit and first team All-Met, Goldman has approached the college recruiting process with a quiet confidence. His dominance on the offensive and defensive lines has contributed to him receiving over fifty college scholarship offers. Imposing force graded out at better than 90 percent each week. On defense had 23 tackles for loss with 15 sacks.

The Seminoles also addressed needs at the skill positions, with several top-level prospects, including Potomac High School (Md.) running back/defensive back Ronald Darby. As the AllMetSports staff reported:

As expected, Potomac (Md.) cornerback Ronald Darby signed a letter-of-intent to play for Florida State.

Darby had committed to Notre Dame in April but continued to evaluate other options and decommitted in early January. He eventually narrowed his options to the Seminoles, Clemson and Auburn.

“I liked the home feeling at Clemson, I liked the home feeling at Auburn and I liked the home feeling at Florida State, but I had to look past the red carpet treatment and look at the program that could better me as a person,” Darby said. The difference was “the young talent they have going and the need for DBs. They played a safety at cornerback in the Champs Bowl.”

Regarded as one of the nation’s top high school sprinters, Darby is also considered to be one of the country’s top football recruits. While he has earned repeat All-Met honors in track, Darby has made it clear that he is a football player first. Darby initially committed to Notre Dame last spring, but reconsidered and reopened his recruitment.

More National Signing Day coverage from Washington Post Sports:

Eddie Goldman signs with Florida State

Ronald Darby picks the Seminoles

Video spotlight of Eddie Goldman | Photo gallery

Feature story: The pursuit of Eddie Goldman

Recruiting Insider: Read what Eddie Goldman has to say about his trips to Miami, Auburn, and Alabama.

Gallery: Alabama, Auburn, and other in pursuit of this top football recruit.

2011 All-Met football team: Offense

For an up-to-date list of all D.C.-area athletes and their college choices, check out Recruit Watch

For complete high school sports coverage, visit AllMetSports.com