Mike Norvell set himself up well for a big payday. In 2023, Norvell led Florida State to its first undefeated regular season since 2014. When Norvell was mentioned for the Alabama job, folks in Tallahassee knew it was time to back up the Brinks truck.

FSU released details of Norvell’s extension on Monday. Norvell goes from making $5.5 million in 2023 to $9.875 million in 2024. He receives a raise of $150,000 in 2025 and each season that follows. Norvell’s salary reaches $10.835 million in 2031, the final year on his contract.

Norvell can add to those numbers. His contract includes bonuses for making/winning a conference championship game, as well as for the College Football Playoff and non-Playoff bowl games. He would also be financially rewarded for conference and national Coach of the Year awards.

With its financial commitment to Norvell, Florida State is going all in on building via the transfer portal.

Florida State recruiting under Mike Norvell

Norvell embraced the transfer portal from the start of his FSU tenure to help remake the roster, an absolute mess he inherited from predecessor Willie Taggart.

Starting with the 2022 recruiting cycle, 247Sports began publishing three types of class rankings: Overall Rank, Composite Rank and Transfer Rank. In each of the last three classes, FSU has done best at signing transfers.

  • 2022 recruiting class
    • Transfer Rank – 10
    • Composite Rank – 20
    • Overall Rank – 19
  • 2023 recruiting class
    • Transfer Rank – 6
    • Composite Rank – 19
    • Overall Rank – 16
  • 2024 recruiting class
    • Transfer Rank – 4
    • Composite Rank – 12
    • Overall Rank – 10

A different approach

Alabama and Georgia became fixtures of the 4-team College Football Playoff by signing the top high school classes. With the portal’s introduction in 2018, the SEC powers used transfers to supplement the roster. While high-profile transfers like Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts made the CFP, most Playoff programs built their rosters by recruiting top high school prospects and developing those players.

As a 13-0 conference champion, FSU would have been a Playoff team any other year. In the expanded Playoff, the Noles don’t have to worry about being snubbed as undefeated ACC champs.

It remains to be seen if the portal-heavy recruiting approach can be sustained like the tried-and-true methods of roster management, but FSU is confident Norvell can continue to field contenders with help from top transfers.

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