Not So Fast My Friend


Posted Jan 17, 2003


No one has consistently recruiting better over the years than Florida State. But the Noles have had back to back sub-par years by their standards and some off the field issues to deal with. How will this affect their recruiting efforts? Well, it may not affect Florida State at all.

Florida State. When you think of the college football power from Tallahassee you think of great teams, great players and a legendary coach. Bobby Bowden, Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, national champions and BCS Bowls. That’s what comes to mind when you think of the Seminoles.

Throughout their dominance they have consistently recruited better than any team in college football. The numbers in the win column and all the FSU alum in the National Football League prove that to be true.

But for Florida State, the last two seasons have been very ordinary by their extraordinary standards. How will this affect their recruiting efforts this recruiting season? There are some that feel we are starting to see the dynasty crumble and that their recruiting falters next. As Lee Corso often says, “not so fast my friend.”

As long as Bobby Bowden is in command of the Seminole nation, they will always recruit well. This is Florida State. And this recruiting season will be no different. Will they finish with a top five class in the nation? That’s very likely if they make their typical late January Signing Day run.

Lets face facts for a moment. Nobody and I mean nobody closes like FSU. Bobby Bowden owns the last two weeks of the recruiting marathon. Just go back and look at their past Signing Day runs. In the end, Florida State gets the job done.

So lets take a look at what could possibly be on tap in the great recruiting race for the ‘Noles.

The top prospect in the land is running back/ linebacker Ernie Sims. Sims has strong Florida State ties. His father and brother played for FSU and his mother was a track All-American there. Sims played his high school football at nearby North Florida Christian. Although I don’t think it’s a lock for FSU to land Sims, the Seminoles will be awfully tough to beat in the end. He has already visited Georgia, Florida and Auburn. This weekend he travels to Coral Gables to visit Miami and on the last weekend of January, he visits Florida State. Sims will likely cut down his list to three teams next week. He plans on announcing his decision on Signing Day.

Staying in Tallahassee, Antonio Cromartie from Lincoln High School is torn between Florida State and Florida. Cromartie is an amazing talent on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and defensive back. He dreamed of being a Seminole but Florida has done an amazing job on this recruiting front. Right now, it’s really too close to call and it could go either way. Cromartie plans on announcing his decision on Signing Day.

At Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay High School, there are two All-American prospects in running back/ defensive end Joe Cohen and safety Reggie Nelson. Both standouts visited Tallahassee last weekend and have trips remaining to Florida and Miami. Cohen, at 6-2.5 and 240 pounds, wants to play running back and the Seminoles may have a big advantage with this blue-chipper in Greg Jones. Cohen has seen the big FSU tailback run with great success in Tallahassee and he envisions himself doing the same. He and Nelson are the best of friends and really want to play at the next level together. They both plan on announcing on Signing Day.

On the quarterback front, JaMarcus Russell is an amazing talent. He is the 3rd ranked QB according to TheInsiders.com. Russell, from Mobile (Ala.) Williamson High School, has narrowed his choices to Florida State and LSU. He will visit FSU (1-24) and LSU on the last visit weekend of the year. LSU already has two quarterback commitments in Robert Lane and Matthew Flynn. Lane is also a terrific high school baseball player and will likely be a high draft pick in June’s Major League Baseball Draft. Sources say he is headed to LSU but logic says it will be the Seminoles. FSU needs to sign a quarterback, especially with Adrian McPherson no longer on the team. Russell plans on making his decision on Signing Day.

Do you see the pattern here? Florida State has a great shot at landing blue-chipper after blue-chipper and if you play the odds, FSU could come up a big winner once again on Signing Day.

The Seminoles are currently sitting on seven verbal commitments and there is a long way to go. They are sitting pretty with more big name prospects like wide receiver DeCody Fagg, cornerback Kenny Scott, safety Willie Cooper, wide receiver Whitney Lewis, JUCO defensive back Chijoke Onyenegcha, offensive linemen Kevin Brown, linebacker John Beason, offensive lineman Aubrey McPhadden, and cornerback Jhermaine McAroy. Florida State should land most of these prospects.

Lewis, from Ventura, Calif., is the nation’s top receiver. He plays at the same high school as last year’s #1 rated player, Lorenzo Booker. Where did Booker sign? Florida State. And the two are very close and there is a great chance Lewis follows Booker to Florida State. The one other team to watch out for with Lewis is Southern Cal. The Trojans have a shot to keep him home.

If college football fans think that FSU recruiting is on the decline, think again. Between now and National Signing Day, they will get their typical blue-chippers. What happens on Signing Day, with big decisions looming, will go along way to where they ultimately fall in the final national rankings. Right now, they are not even in TheInsiders.com Top 25. But they only have seven commits and there’s a long three weeks to go with major recruiting wars brewing between them and their arch-rivals, the Gators and Hurricanes.

Miami is Miami and they will get their share. Florida is recruiting much better with Ron Zook at the helm and they will get their share. And sure enough, Florida State is Florida State and the Seminoles should once again close with a flurry and get their share. The bottom line is that the Big Three in Sunshine State will all likely find themselves somewhere in the Top 10 national rankings when all the smoke clears and the recruiting wars are over.

There will be no Seminole decline when it comes to recruiting.. Like Lee Corso says, “not so fast my friend”.


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