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2012 Spring Recruiting Tour
Stop No. 14 - Bradenton/Clearwater
Manatee: Noles are hoping to have a huge Christmas wish in 2014
Although it's not a huge position of need for the 2013 class, Florida State is already looking to the future. In the last three years Odell Haggins has reeled in five-star Jacobbi McDaniel, four-star Tim Jernigan and most recently, five-star DT Eddie Goldman. It looks like Haggins is positioning himself to land another top prospect - Demarcus Christmas, who is anticipated to be one of the top tackles in the country in 2014.
"Florida State was my favorite school growing up, so I was really excited when they offered," said Christmas. "My family and I have always liked them. They do a great job with defensive tackles and I'm actually visiting there this summer, probably later this month."
What will be some of the things he'll be looking for during his visit?
"I would just ask them about settling in as a freshman, things I can improve on with my technique, what it's like to be a student there and learn more about their academics," he explained.
Christmas should have no problems nabbing offers as he currently is already up to five - Miami, South Carolina, North Carolina, FSU and South Florida. Manatee assistant coach Chris Conboy says the offers should really start to pour in soon. Every school that has dropped by has offered. He believes Southern California could be the next to offer.
"Every school that we have spoken says they will offer, but just want to do it in person. Coach Dawsey came by in the second week of May and they love how flexible and powerful DeMarcus is," said Conboy.
He also added that Christmas runs a 5.1 in the 40-yard dash. He also feels that the 6-foot-3, 295-pound star has just started to scratch the surface in regards to his talents.
"DeMarcus is adding more technique, has gotten faster and even stronger. I would say his best attribute is his power and that burst off the line of scrimmage. He's one of the best I've seen," added Conboy.
Christmas says he is currently benching 300 pounds consistently and is power cleaning 305 pounds. In addition to the weight room, Christmas also revealed that he also is active with another sport besides football.
"Yes sir I play some basketball as well. This is actually the sport my dad wanted me to play," admitted Christmas. "I liked the physicality part of the game. My Mom also wanted that growing up because she was scared I would get hurt with football."
In addition to visiting FSU, Christmas will also be visiting Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn and LSU. On the way back he plans to stop at FSU. Conboy believes that tour starts on Sunday (June 10).
Other prospects at Manatee include all-everything quarterback Cord Sandberg, who FSU hasn't shown a lot of interest on because they won't take a quarterback in this recruiting class and also Cord is a better fit for a spread-type offense. The Hurricanes also have defensive tackle Derek Callaway, but size is the concern (6-1), so FSU hasn't pressed that much yet. However, in 2014, Manatee does have some targets to keep an eye out for in the future. Obviously Christmas is the crown jewel, but keep an eye on offensive lineman Jake Stickler (6-4, 260).
Others include OL Mike Vilatti (6-2, 270). RB Trevon Walter (5-9, 175), 2015 QB/ATH Josh Marvey (6-1, 187).
Although the name Mike Johnson is a new name Florida State fans, he is a prospect that everyone will be hearing more about this season. During our Warchant Tour visit two weeks ago, he picked up his first offer from Iowa State. However, he's very interested in adding some offers in-state, including Florida State.
"I'm going to camp there in June. I just started to get some solid interest from FSU. I really like what they do with Greg Reid because he's a physical corner that likes to get up in your face and challenge you," said Johnson. "I just want to camp there and learn from Coach Stoops. I'm also going to try and camp at Miami."
According to Johnson the schools that he hears from the most are Louisville, Florida State, and Miami early on in the process. Louisville and FIU appear to be the next in line for offers according to the physical 6-foot-1, 172 pound corner. Some of the things Johnson hopes to improve on his speed. "I would like to get my speed up because it's in the 4.5 or 4.6 range right now. I want to get that a little faster," he said. "I do also know that some schools like me as a free safety. I would rather play corner, but it doesn't matter, I just want to be on the field. I feel my strengths would be my press coverage and my hip turn getting off the jam.
Clearwater Countryside head coach Jared Davis gave us his thoughts on Johnson and what stands about his rising star.
"I like his personality a lot how Mike plays the game. No matter what he does, Mike always feels like he's going to make the next play, and that's the style he plays," said Davis. "Mike closes on the ball quickly, but he is very dominant in press coverage, "said Davis.
There is a long list of schools that have stopped by to see Johnson, including Tennessee, Kentucky, FSU, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina to name a few.
Another prospect at Countryside that FSU has shown interest in is 2013 DE Mike Love (6-4, 220). Love told us he grew up a Seminole fan.
"I would say speed, athleticism are his strengths as he is a very shifty pass rusher that gets to the outside very quickly and easily at times," explained Davis. "The main thing with Mike is just improving his overall strength in run defense, but as a pass rusher that stands out about his game right now.
Miami, FSU, Tennessee, and Georgia are the main ones that have shown interest.
Stop No. 13 - Hillsborough/Immokalee (June 2)
Hillsborough: Rivals100 DE plans to visit FSU this summer
Defensive end Jordan Sherit hasn't mentioned FSU in his list of favorites lately, but we hear that could be changing soon. He may favor the Gators at this point, but the 'Noles have peaked his interest.
"I'm very interested in seeing what FSU has to offer. The coaches just want to see that I have genuine interest in the program before they offer," said the four-star prospect. "I like what they do with their defensive ends."
According to Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia, Sherit might be one of the best that he has seen in his 39 years of coaching.
"I would say when you put everything together, Jordan might be the best we have ever had here at Hillsborough. He's a tremendous student and it shows with him having offers from Stanford, Duke, Northwestern and Notre Dame," said Garcia. "As a player he has still room to grow and he's not even close to tapping out with his potential. He can play either tight end or defensive end at the next level."
Sherit holds more than 35 offers. During the spring, more than 80 schools stopped by to see him. FSU swung through during the first week of spring practice.
Although Sherit is the main attraction, he isn't the Terriers' only Division I prospect. They also have a very talented three-star linebacker, Nigel Harris (6-1, 200). Garcia says he has solid interest from teams like Indiana, Purdue, South Florida, Vanderbilt, Central Florida and UAB to name a few.
"Nigel is a great inside linebacker, but most schools like him as an outside linebacker. I would say his closing speed and instincts in reading the offense are two of his strongest areas," Garcia said. "I think schools like NC State, North Carolina and Arkansas are some of the schools that are close with him."
The Terriers also have two 2015 quarterbacks to keep an eye on. Wayne Lawson and James Edsell (both are 6-4, 180). Then there's running back/defensive back Adam Keith (5-9, 175) and Xavier Byrd, who might be the best of the bunch and is very similar to former Hillsborough standout Lindsey Lamar. He's small like Lindsey (5-9, 145).
To wrap up Tampa here is a summary of 2014 and 2014 prospects FSU is evaluating.
2014 ATH - Admiral Farragut (5-11, 200), 2014 TE/WR [db]Marcus Mosley - Alonso (6-4, 195), 2014 DB Kyle Gibson - Armwood (6-1, 165), 2014 WR Michael Clark - Boca Ciega (6-5, 170), 2014 DB Mike Johnson - Countryside (6-0, 170, 2014 WR Artavious Scott - East Lake (5-11, 173), 2014 OT Mason Cole - East Lake (6-5, 266 ), 2014 S George Campbell - East Lake (6-4, 180), 2014 WR Maurice Hall - Gibbs (6-2, 183), 2014 LB Vincent Jackson - Jesuit (6-2, 225), OT Isaiah Wynn - (Lakewood) 6-3, 266). 2014 RB Jarvis Steward - Largo (5-11, 170), 2014 WR Austin Roberts - Plant (6-2, 185), 2014 DT Montel McBride - Plant City (6-2, 260), 2014 OLB Josh Black - Sickles (6-3, 195), 2014 OT/DL Reilly Gibbons - St. Pete Catholic (6-0, 240), 2015 OT Tyree St. Louis - Tampa Bay Tech (6-5, 280), 2014 RB Deon Thompson - Tampa Bay Tech (5-9, 175), 2014 DB Jeff Allen - Tampa Bay Tech (6-0, 165), 2014 QB Chivarrsky Corbett - Tampa Catholic (6-4, 170), 2014 OT Corey Martinez - Tampa Catholic (6-4, 295), 2014 OLB T.J. Harrell - Tampa Catholic (6-2, 190), 2014 QB Chase Litton - Wharton (6-6, 185), S A.J. Joseph Wharton (6-4, 195), 2015 OT DeAndre Brown - Wharton (6-5, 245), 2015 Ath Vonta Williams - Wharton (6-0, 175), 2014 LB Juwuan Brown - Jefferson (6-3, 215), 2014 WR Derrick Ingram - Jefferson (6-1, 185)
Rising junior wide receiver J.C. Jackson didn't want to spend a lot of time mulling over a college decision. He wanted to get it out of the way so he could concentrate on his junior and senior seasons. So, after he got the Florida State offer he hoped for, he ended his recruitment immediately.
"Committing to FSU was a dream come true. It's a very good feeling," said Jackson. "I stay in solid contact with the FSU staff. I talk with Coach Dawsey once a week. I will be camping at FSU this summer, along with my teammates. I also want to see the FSU receivers workout while I'm there."
One advantage that Jackson has is he gets to go up against Rivals100 cornerback Mackensie Alexander in practice.
"He makes me better because he pushes me and I have to really change things up with him because he's so quick in press coverage. He wins his share and I win mine so I would call it 50/50," explained Jackson. "He's so quick to read a coverage and jump on it, so I have to constantly keep him off balance. Going up against him makes me better because it pushes me."
Jackson noted that if there's one area he could improve on, it would be to get a little faster. That speed didn't seem to be a problem recently as Jackson scored two touchdowns and had one interception in the spring game against Clewiston.
His head coach Jerrod Ackley had high praise in talking about Jackson and the potential at the next level in college.
"J.C. is a physical receiver that does a very good job at getting separation more than anything. His hands, and ability after the catch is what immediately catches your attention," noted Ackley. "He's very quick and elusive out in the open field."
While Jackson is the future for the Seminoles in 2014, FSU is also focused in landing at least a couple more 2013 prospects at Immokalee that include defensive tackle Deadrin Senat, cornerback Mackensie Alexader and safety Mackenro Alexander, who FSU recently offered.
Senat might be the most intriguing player on that list. He was a FSU commitment, but because he wanted to look around at other schools, he didn't feel comfortable having that 'commitment' tag. However, his coach feels that FSU can get Senat back.
"Deadrin still has FSU at the top of his list and even said that his one fear when he decommitted was how it would affect his relationship with FSU," explained Ackely. "He feared they might not want him anymore. I would still be surprised if he didn't end up at FSU."
But why did Senat decide to decommit in the first place and simply take visits?
"It was a situation where Deadrin wanted to be honest with everyone. Deadrin is a very high character kid so it bothered him that people would think he's sneaky or that way so he didn't want that to be a concern," explained Ackley. "He just wants to take the visits to know for sure about each program, but he wanted to do the right thing and the right reasons."
Ackley says Senat's power and quickness has made him such an attractive option despite some schools being hesitant of his 6-foot-1 height. Apparently it was never a concern with FSU and Odell Haggins.
"Deadrin is just non-stop in the weight room and I would say his best quality is that strength and how quick he can gain leverage with his fast feet and that power," he said. He's a good pass rusher, but even stronger at this stage in containing the run. Deadrin has long arms for a guy his size so that helps him a great deal in pass rushing."
Another Immokalee prospect high on the 'Noles' radar is Mackensie Alexander. He doesn't discuss recruiting with the media, but Ackley gave us some insight of where things stand.
"He's very wide open. He actually likes FSU a lot. I would say Alabama, FSU, Florida, and Notre Dame are all high on his list right now, but there are also several others in liking Clemson, Texas A&M. I think he'll focus more on recruiting after the summer," said Ackley.
The Immokalee head coach also noted two other places Alexander would like to check out are Notre Dame and Alabama. Most of the visits would be officials because of travel issues.
Ackely told us Alexander is one of the best corners play at Immokalee. He's right up there with former Indian alum Aaron Henry, who had a strong career at Wisconsin.
"Mackensie does very well in playing aggressive man-to-man coverage, but also very good in zone situations because he's patient in how he attacks you," Ackley noted. "He's a big student of the game. He studies a lot of what the other team is going to run. He could probably tell you what they are going to run before it even happens."
Last week alone, Mark Stoops (FSU), Mike Stoops (Oklahoma), and Kirby Smart (Alabama) were just some of the teams that stopped by. Others included West Virginia, Nebraska, Clemson, Mississippi State and Georgia. What did FSU's Mark Stoops have to say about Immokalee's prospects?
"He liked Mackenro a lot based on everything he saw. FSU offered him (last) Wednesday. They like his ball hawking skills and speed as a safety," Ackley said. "Mackenro plays linebacker for us and to be honest he's actually been playing football longer than his twin brother Mackensie. Mackenro is also has a faster forty time than Mackensie (10.8 100 meter run at districts last year). He has great instincts and can cover so much ground as a linebacker. Stoops feels Mackenro has the ability to grow into a linebacker, but I expect him to start off his career as a nickel back if he went to FSU." FSU was also were impressed with 2014 running back Dee Johnson (5-10, 185).
Johnson is a back who has started for the Indians since he was a freshman and actually added a lot of weight in the off-season. He is now in the 185-190 pound range. His change of direction, strength, leg drive and vision are some of the areas that stand out early.
"I would say my vision and speed are two of my best strengths in being able to see the field. The spring has been great because I've got bigger and stronger," said Johnson. "On recruiting, I've received interest from Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Louisville has offered me."
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Stop No. 12 - Tampa area/Fort Myers (May 29)
Pasco: Ivie will make his own decision
Defensive lineman Joey Ivie may not be ranked or have any stars, but don't that to the more than 20 colleges that have offered him, including Miami, FSU and Florida. Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt were his most recent offers. Ivie confirmed that Georgia, Minnesota and Iowa State dropped by practice last week and Alabama and Arizona State visited during the month of May as well.
"All the offers are great and even the in-state offers of FSU, Florida and Miami - it's special to have those kinds of doors being opened. I just have to take my time and choose wisely," Ivie said.
Ivie has family members who graduated from FSU while others are fans of the Florida Gators and Miami. How does he handle the pressure of being pulled in so many directions?
"I'm going to do what's best for me and it's my decision, so that's the way I look at it. As a family we will go over everything, but the decision will be what is the best fit," he said.
The key question for Ivie has always been about the position he could potentially play. Will it be defensive tackle (his position in high school) or will it be defensive end, where most have him penciled in on the college level because of his non-stop motor and explosive burst off the edge?
"Either way it has no impact whether I play tackle or on the end position when making the decision. I just want to be out on the field," Ivie said. "I know as an end pass rushing is an area I'm comfortable with, but in run defense there are still things I need to learn."
What are his thoughts about the Seminoles?
"I feel I can be similar to what FSU has out of Bjoern Werner. FSU also has one of the top recruiting classes every year. I love the coaches and the facilities FSU has to offer," Ivie said. "I haven't seen them in a game, but I will be doing that this season. I have heard their ends get off the line of scrimmage very quick."
Ivie plans to visit FSU this summer, but he'll also be hitting the road out of state as well. He plans to visit Georgia, Auburn, Miami, Clemson and Tennessee. In addition, he'll get another look at Florida and other in-state schools.
"On the visits I want to see how I feel around the coaches, the area and the football program in general," he said. "As far as a decision, I believe I'll wait a little bit. Not sure when I'll make that choice, I'm still trying to figure that out. I want to give myself enough time to see all the schools.
While Ivie is the star attraction, Pasco also has a rising star on the offensive side of the ball in three star WR Janarion Grant, who holds close to 10 offers. Another one to watch is RB David Emmanuel (5-8, 175).
An underclassman to watch in 2015 is LB/WR Nate Kregmeyer (6-3, 205).
Next stop was at East Lake, where head coach Bob Hudson will have his hands full with some young talent. Two of the stars leading the way are two that FSU has already offered in offensive lineman Mason Hale and wide receiver Artavious Scott. Hudson confirmed that Hale picked up a Michigan offer last night.
"One of the biggest things about Mason is his bend and athletic ability. He just turned 16 and his frame is already good," said Hudson. "As a young player he needs to work on strength, but that is very normal. He's already at 275 pounds. His explosion off the ball and ability to finish is what we really love."
Scott is a jack of all trades in what he can do for the East Lake offense.
"Tay does everything for us. He plays receiver, running and even kick returner. He also plays cornerback and can play safety as well," said Hudson. "I would say he's one of the most competitive kids on the field that I've had and that says a lot. In his mind, no one is ever going to beat him in anything or any drill."
As a receiver, Scott is just as electric but Hudson says his ability after the catch brings out his vision and running backs skills. He's improved on getting off the line of scrimmage and that's made him a stronger weapon for the passing game. "He's only been playing receiever for two years, so he's just now learning about sitting down on the routes. He also does a great job in sliding into the routes and the opening," Hudson said. "He and Pete Dinovo have built a strong connection. He's a very good vertical weapon."
Hudson said that Clemson, FSU, Ohio State and Miami all stopped by recently to see Hale and Scott. Rick Trickett dropped by on Wednesday and Clemson visited on Monday.
"Coach Trickett had Mason camp there, so he loves him. Trickett likes his flexibility in a guy that big. Usually you don't have that flexibility for a guy like Mason because players are so young and clumsy at that height, but Mason is different," added Hudson.
There's no denying Cole or Scott's talent, but where do things stand on the recruiting front? Cole's decision is easy since he grew up a FSU fan, but he also has a close relationship with Rick Trickett.
"Yes, FSU stands out the most for me. I have a very good relationship with Coach Trickett for when I camped there," Cole explained. "We connect well and that's the school I followed as a young kid, but it's more than that. I felt really at home when I was there."
Scott is the game changer that the Seminoles have their eye on. But is the feeling mutual?
"FSU is the school I've always watched when I was young, they are the team I loved to watch. They were also my first offer that made it even more special. That was a dream come true. I've been going to games there for a while, so I have very high interest," said Scott.
East Lake also has another D-1 prospect - 2014 cornerback Devin Abraham (5-8, 180) corner. Last year Abraham finished with six interceptions. His father Donnie Abraham played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year.
Another name that is really starting to turn heads lately is 2015 DE/LB/WR George Campbell (6-3, 185). He had 70 tackles and scored two touchdowns receiving last season. According to Hudson, Campbell has looks from Alabama, FSU and Clemson early on.
The final stop of the day was an unusual one for the Warchant Tour as this school hasn't really had a strong bit of success with Division I-A prospects lately. However, Dunbar High in Fort Myers is aiming to change that.
One of the hottest 2013 wide receivers is Johnell Barnes, an electrifying slot receiver that blew away the competition in consecutive weeks at the recent Nike and VTO camps.
"I really focused on my route running after last year in using my hands at the line of scrimmage and just getting a lot more separation. I could see the separation a lot more this year so that gave me a lot of confidence heading into this upcoming season," said Barnes.
Barnes says the schools that have offered him include Duke, Uconn, UMass, Hawaii, Northwestern and Western Kentucky. He also indicated that Purdue and Illinois are also close to offering.
While Barnes starting to soar, a few 2014 prospects are getting early looks, including receiver Ryeshene Bronson (6-4, 180), who might arguably have the highest skill level out of any prospect on the roster for Dunbar.
"I would say my strength is my frame and athletic ability," Bronson said. "I can use my body well and catch the ball at its highest point. My speed is good in being around the 4.5 range, but I want to get it lower than that."
Bronson's progression wasn't an easy one, but thanks to his mom's help he made improvements.
"I would say I improved my route running a lot, but the area I got the best at would be my hands. I mean I could not catch anything when I first started," he said. "So my mom would throw the ball in the backyard every day and said that for every drop I had to do 20 pushups. She was an athlete in high school (basketball and track).
Bronson says he grew up an FSU fan because of what the Seminoles did with their game breakers, like Peter Warrick, who was his favorite player. However, Bronson admits he's warmed up to the Alabama Crimson Tide because of Julio Jones.
Bronson might have the most upside, but a name that the Dunbar coaching staff seems to be the most excited about is RB Daniel Thomas-Cobb (5-9, 165), who scored two touchdowns in the spring game. According to Dunbar's coaching staff, he might be their most explosive game breaker.
Cobb has also runs track and posted sub-23 second time for the 200 meters. He led the state in punt returns so he's a very accomplished special teams prospect.
Looking to the future, the Tigers have at least six I-A underclassman prospects. Some of the names to keep an eye out in 2014 are CB Tajze Battle (5-11, 175), WR/DB Joe Williams (6-0, 165). In the 2015 class there is DT Michael Sharp (6-3, 255), 5-foot-11, 175 pound running back RB Marquise Bryant (5-11, 175) and CB Al Smith (5-9, 170).
Stop No. 11 - Tampa (May 24)
Armwood: Dawsey making a huge impact on Bailey
The first stop on the Warchant Tour in the Tampa area was at Armwood where the Seminoles are hoping to reel in one of the top overall athletes in the country - 2013 WR Alvin Bailey. Head coach Sean Callahan calls him the most competitive player he's coached.
"Alvin is the type that wants the ball in the biggest moments, but not in a selfish way. He's a great receiver, but also a strong blocker on the perimeter," Callahan said. "He reminds me a lot of Hines Ward because of how physical he is after the catch. He's not the fastest guy in the state of Florida, but his burst and wiggle after the catch is incredible."
Bailey holds over 20 offers and more could be on the way.
"I would say Alabama and Florida would be ones that are close if I had to guess," said Bailey. "I just talked with Florida yesterday. So they have shown a little interest."
Bailey says that Auburn, Michigan and West Virginia are the most recent offers and they occurred in the last few weeks.
On Tuesday, FSU's Lawrence Dawsey and Mark Stoops stopped by the school to make sure that Bailey knew he was a priority in this class.
"I'm very, very interested in Florida State. I'm ready to get up there and check out that campus to see what they are all about," the four-star prospect said. "Coach Dawsey is such a down to earth guy with me but I can't wait to see what he is like coaching."
Bailey said he plans on visiting the campus in the next two or three weeks. "I want to tour the campus and learn more about the academic side," Bailey said. "I also want to talk with the receivers there and see what their experiences are like."
Bailey also plans on visiting Notre Dame, South Carolina and Texas A&M this summer. Other schools heavily in the mix are Clemson, Oklahoma State and Arkansas. Clemson visited Armwood on Monday.
Bailey says his decision won't happen until after the season is over. His decision will be based on coaching stability, college lifestyle, academics and getting on the field early.
The Hawks also have an outstanding safety prospect in Leon McQuay. Callahan says McQuay might not be the best overall player at Armwood, but he is certainly the top athlete that has played at Armwood in quite some time.
"The learning curve wasn't fast for Leon, but he's such a special athlete that once he picked it up he started taking over games," said Callahan. "Right now there are several schools that are in there with him, but I would say he's focused on Vanderbilt, Southern Cal and Michigan."
Other prospects to watch for the Hawks include 2014 safety Kyle Gibson, who much like McQuay should be a target that everyone in the country will be after.
CB Aaron Covington (5-9, 180) and DT Thomas Bartley (6-1, 265).
Five-star CB Vernon Hargreaves needs no introduction to FSU and its coaching staff. He greeted Mark Stoops with a big smile when he saw him Tuesday afternoon.
"I've known Coach Stoops since I was a baby boy when he was at Miami," said Hargreaves. "He's a great coach and my interest in FSU is there's nothing not to like there. I will probably visit again this summer."
But a trip to Tallahassee isn't the only stop this summer. He plans on participating in 'the Opening' event and 'Gridiron Kings', both of which are invite only events for the nation's best. Wharton head coach David Fields says his star prospect has been hitting the weight room hard this spring.
"He's very active in the weight room and you can see it when he's in press coverage about how he can push players around," said Fields. "Since Vernon is running track and weight lifting, you see it come out in how explosive he is off the jam."
Fields says Clemson, Notre Dame, FSU, Mississippi State, Bowling Green and Pittsburgh all stopped by in the last two days. FSU was there on Tuesday.
- Stay tuned for a full feature on Hargreaves
The Wildcats also have a strong talent at quarterback in Chase Liddon (6-6, 185), who will also be a national recruit next season.
"Chase is growing, learning the game and I really feel this is his coming out year," Fields said. "This spring, you can see he's starting to get the ball out of his hands better. He's also done a better job of having that clock in his head and knowing when to get rid of the football."
One name that Fields and the Wharton staff told us to keep an eye out for in the 2013 class is Keith Hopkins, who Miami, Purdue, and Wake Forest have started to evaluate closely. Hopkins was ineligible last year, but this year has started to turn heads. He's is a 6-foot-1, 175 pound prospect who can play either receiver or defensive back.
The Wildcats also have another prospect to keep your eyes out for in the 2014 class in safety Antonio Joseph (6-3, 185). Coach Fields says he just wants to see Joseph get a little more physical, but he's certainly one to watch.
"Richy played his first two years in basketball, along with football and developed some great footwork because of basketball and body control," explained Plant head coach Robert Weiner. "The main thing we always noticed about Richy is that he can bend, move with quickness and speed. I think that's why when you watch his film, that ability really comes out."
Weiner says Klepal gave up basketball and that's when his recruitment really started to soar. Klepal, for the first time got a chance to spend the whole spring with the football team in workouts, so that certainly had a strong impact.
"Richy has built his body up to 285-290 and honestly, he looks like he's 265 pounds as he holds his body well, but that's been the biggest difference - getting his body to match that speed, flexibility and quickness," said Weiner.
Weiner says what separates his talented lineman from most is how he finishes the play and really doesn't slow down until the whistle. Klepal's impressive spring has resulted in the offers pouring in. Weiner says Florida and Oklahoma are the next big ones that could be pulling the trigger soon.
At the start of the year, Klepal couldn't foresee he would have more than 25 offers.
"It's been a little overwhelming because you have so many people calling you. Coach Weiner has helped me a lot in taking some of that pressure off for me not to worry about it" said Klepal. One of those offers is from the Seminoles. Where do the 'Noles stand in his recruitment?
"I love FSU it's a great school. I have a great relationship with the coaches and actually Coach Trickett was here (on Tuesday). He cracks me up and he's a great guy," said the four-star lineman. "He's not a BS type of guy and that's the way we are at Plant. I'm going to look at all my options, but FSU is always going to be one of my top schools. I'm looking forward to getting over there again this summer."
Klepal doesn't seem to be in a big hurry to make a decision yet, but he did say a decision maybe coming soon as he will meet with Coach Weiner to talk about cutting his list down further and then making a decision hopefully before the season starts. In the meantime, a familiar face stopped by at practice recently.
"Yeah James Wilder dropped by. We have always been close. I actually went up for the FSU spring game and stayed at his place. James has been gunning for me in getting me over to FSU," Klepal said with a laugh.
As usual, the Panthers have a good share of 2013 prospects, but the future might be even better with their 2014 class.
"I feel we have a strong group of lineman led by Ray Raulerson. He's a little taller than Richy and once he gains control of his body he will move as well as Richy does, so we are expecting some great things out of him. We have a LB Andrew Beck (6-3, 225) , who we like a lot. Then we have TE/WR Austin Robert, who is heading back to Carma (IN) in the summer and I feel he's going to be a very serious national recruit. Probably the best out of all the underclassmen.
RB Ryan Green showed why he is one of the top prospects in the country last week. He rushed for 186 yards on just six carries and two touchdowns (one for 70 yards the other for 2 yards) in their spring game. FSU assistant coach Eddie Gran was in attendance for that scoring barrage.
"It was really great having Coach Gran there. I knew he was going, but just blocked it out about all the coaches there and just focused on the game," Green explained."I wanted to have a strong game. I got some work at CB as well since I'm going to play there some."
While his performance wasn't really big news, he did spring some interesting news to Warchant.com.
"Yeah after the spring game I got a chance to sit down with my Mom and Dad to talk about everything. I'm going to trim my list down to five soon because it's just gotten so crazy," the four-star prospect said. "I don't want to lead anyone on. After that I could make a decision, but it's just going to come down when I feel in my heart I'm ready as I've always."
Green says he expects FSU to be in that final five list of schools. He also plans to attend FSU's camp in June and plans to work with both Coach Gran and Coach Stoops at the camp. Green wants to work specifically on improving his lateral movement at running back. He also wants to spend some time with the current players.
Alabama, LSU and Notre Dame are some of the schools that attended the spring game (in addition to FSU).
- Stay tuned for a full feature on Green.
Stop No. 10 - Miami, Part 2 (May 23)
Gulliver Prep: Summer decision for Thomas
DE Stacy Thomas is one of the strongest pass rushers in the state of Florida, so it was really no surprise to see that the colleges have been visiting Gulliver Prep at a rapid pace this spring. Thomas talked about some of the schools that have dropped in lately.
"Rutgers, N.C. State, Mississippi State, Hawaii, Kentucky, Penn State, Alabama, Cincinnati and Bowling Green have all come by (last) week. It's been pretty crazy," said the four-star prospect.
While he is coveted as a defensive end - Thomas is the No. 10 weakside DE in the 2013 class according to Rivals.com - his body type and athletic ability has one school looking at him as a tight end at the next level.
"All the schools like me as a defensive end or linebacker that have come through," Thomas said. "Florida is the only school that is recruiting me as a tight end and defensive end.
Gulliver head coach Earl Sims added that Penn State and Miami will likely be the next two to offer.
Sims described his star athlete and talked about what the FSU coaches like so much about Thomas.
"Stacy is a dynamic player for us both at defensive end and tight end/receiver. He can get such a good angle off that first step that makes him so difficult to slow down," Sims said. "His technique is very advanced in pass rushing and that's what FSU loves about him is the acceleration there."
Sims also added that FSU is interested in a few of the Gulliver Prep 2013 offensive linemen including offensive tackle Jordi Dalmau a 6-foot, 291).
The Buccaneers also have some 2014 prospects that will be on the watch list for FSU. The biggest names would have to be the duo of athlete Cornelius Floyd (6-0, 175), who plays both slot receiver and cornerback for Gulliver Prep. He's a very quick footed and is the most dangerous out in space. Also, big noseguard Braynon Edwards (6-3, 310) is a prospect to watch. Alabama dropped by to see him and has shown heavy interest and will be returning to watch him this summer. Floyd on the other hand is close to picking up early offers from Boston College and Michigan State.
From the very start Thomas has maintained that Florida State and Florida were the two at the top. Even when we asked him to separate the two schools, he could not. He says both are currently even. However, Thomas did go into detail about what impresses him about Florida State.
"It's a great program and I feel a very good vibe when I'm there. They have let me know how bad they want me from the start," he said. "It's a good situation in knowing they need help at end and also linebacker where I can transition into. I'm also going back over there for their summer camp.
"What I love so much about FSU is that defense. Look at their pass rushers and how they get after the quarterback. That's how I play so I like that. I can also play outside linebacker with my skills to cover players out of the backfield. I haven't played that position, but it wouldn't be that hard if I transitioned into linebacker."
Headlining the recruitment for Thomas from the very start is James Coley.
"He's a really cool guy (Coach Coley). We get along very well and showed me everything FSU had to offer both on and off the football field when I visited there," said Thomas. "He's very straightforward."
So when will Thomas make his decision?
"I'm thinking about making an early commitment before the season starts. I'm going to visit Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Duke," he said. "I'll also camp at both FSU and Florida. I will probably attend a few out of state camps too."
The next stop was at Columbus where two big time FSU targets remain on the board in WR Jesus Wilson and power back Lorenzo Woodley. The Explorers also have RB Daryl Chestnut, who was offered at the FSU junior day earlier this year. We spoke with head coach Chris Merritt about his star prospects.
"Bobo (Jesus Wilson) has an exceptional ability to change directions. He has narrow hips and if I had to compare him to a player, it would be Patrick Lee who played here at Columbus but was drafted in the second round by the Green Bay Packers," said Merritt. "(Wilson) has no fear when it comes to blocking. He's not afraid to stick his nose in there and with the running backs we have, there are going to be a lot of situations for blocking from Jesus and our slot guys."
Merritt also revealed the two big teams in this race for Wilson are FSU and Oklahoma State. FSU came by on Thursday with visits from assistants Eddie Gran and Lawrence Dawsey. This was the first chance Coach Dawsey got to see Wilson in a practice this year.
We also got a chance to speak with Jesus Wilson about FSU.
"FSU is my number one school. I really have a great relationship with the staff and just feel so comfortable with them," he said. "I'm looking forward to going back over there in June for the summer camp."
In addition to the Seminoles, he also named a top three schools (in order).
"FSU, Oklahoma State and West Virginia are my top three. I plan on taking an official to all three schools, and possibly seeing them all in the summer to get a feel for everything," added Wilson.
Merritt says that Rutgers offered on Monday and Hawaii offered Wilson on Wednesday.
- Stay tuned for a full feature on Wilson.
The Explorers also have two strong tailbacks in Woodley and Chestnut. The bigger focus lately seems to be on Woodley.
"He's not a put your foot into the ground change of direction type back as Lorenzo is a shifting, slashing big back with power," said Merritt. "He has great balance as a back and is a guy you can use all over the place with his hands and quickness. South Florida, FSU, South Carolina, West Virginia, and N.C. State which was the most recent two weeks ago."
Woodley says South Carolina Gamecocks are the team that has made the biggest move lately. He talks about that interest and why he has taken a liking to South Carolina lately.
"South Carolina has really been hitting me hard up interest. Everette Sands the South Carolina running backs coach is coming to see me on Monday to take a look at me and just eye ball me. Assistant coach Grady Brown from South Carolina also came a few days ago," he said. "They like me as that Marcus Lattimore type big back and that I remind them some of him so I'm interested to seeing them."
Woodley says after the junior day at FSU where he tried to commit, but the staff wanted to see him camp, he's taken a wait-and-see approach. He will check out all the schools, then later make a decision. FSU is certainly in that mix as Woodley will camp at FSU, along with Wilson and Chestnut.
"Ole Miss, Mississippi, South Carolina and FSU are some of the active schools with me that are pushing for me," Woodley said. "My interest hasn't changed with FSU. I really enjoyed my time over there. I just want to take a look at everything. Meet the players again and just get a comfort level."
Woodley says he'll camp at South Carolina and likely Ole Miss if he can fit it in the schedule.
The Explorers also have a couple of talented 2014 prospects that include RB Oshton Armstrong (5-9, 185), who also splits time with Woodley and Chestnut. In addition, they have receiver Sasha Kelsey, who has excelled at both slot and the wide out position. The 2015 class might be even stronger with safety prospect Calvin Bruton (6-0, 180), who is very comparable to last year's star safety in Deon Bush, who was a 2012 Miami signee.
The Explorers also have a transfer at quarterback from Colorado, who led the state in passing there in 2011 inTucker Beirne (6-2, 210).
Southridge was the final stop on the Warchant recruiting tour in the Miami area where we checked in on two more top prospects that remain on the board for FSU. One has an offer in Rivals100 defensive back Jamal Carter and cornerback Lamar Robbins. We spoke with former Seminole great Lamont Green, who is now the head coach at Southridge. Green stared with Carter, who nearly every school in the Southeast and probably the country has offered.
"The best way to describe Jamal is fluid. His movement, hitting and everything comes very easy for him. The thing I love the most about him is that he is very aggressive and he loves to play man coverage," Green said. "Most guys that are over 200 pounds want to lay back in coverage, but not Jamal."
Green also says Carter is a very strong kid in powering cleaning over 250 pounds and if he had to pick one thing he would like to see the Rivals250 DB do better as a senior, it would be to see him as a more vocal leader.
Green acknowledged that the interest for Carter has been crazy, with 75 schools already dropping by to see him. Oklahoma, FSU, Alabama, Texas nd Auburn have all stopped in recently. FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops told Green he loves the total package when it comes to Carter.
"He loves everything about Jamal. He even started talking bad a little about his brother Mike from Oklahoma (who was visiting Southridge the same day) because he wanted him so bad because both of those guys are competitive."
We asked Carter what he thought about Coach Stoops stopping by.
"I was very impressed to see him. It was actually my first time meeting him," Carter said. "Coach Coley is my main recruiter and he's a really funny guy. For me Coach Coley is more like a father figure in making sure I'm doing the right things."
Carter is aware of FSU's defense because it's extremely similar to what Southridge runs in how they use their rovers and safeties.
"I watched their defense a few times. Once was when they played Miami, but I wasn't surprised because the defense has been strong all year. I remember that big hit from Nigel Bradham," Carter said. "I think I need to get me one of those hits this year at Southridge. That was big time."
Does Carter have a favorite or a leader at this stage at this time?
"I hear the most from Miami, Florida State and Louisville. I don't have a top five at this point to be honest, but I would say the teams I feel will be contenders for me would be FSU, Miami, Louisville and Florida," he said. "I will also be camping at FSU."
Carter then added that he wants to see what the college life is like at FSU and how he feels on campus. The visit will also give Carter a chance to get to know FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops a little more and learn more about the defense.
Carter also told me he plans on visiting Auburn and Alabama this summer to camp and check out what the schools have to offer.
As far as a college decision goes, Carter feels he will make a public commitment sometime in the summer. However, there is a catch - after his decision, he still plans to still take official visits. Carter says he will take official visits to FSU, Miami, Florida but also stated that he wants to take an official visit to LSU.
Another FSU target at Southridge is cornerback Lamar Robbins. Rodney Smith is his cousin, so naturally the interest in FSU is there. The 'Noles haven't offered Robbins yet according to Coach Green, but they are still in the evaluation stage.
"He's a very athletic kid that is a high jumper, long jumper, and triple jumper on the track and field team, which tells you he has unbelievable balance. He's a very good student with a 3.7 grade point average and also good cover guy, especially in press coverage."
Green believes Robbins is that perfect diamond in the rough describing him as a very legit 6-foot-3, 188-pound prospect who is closer to 6-foot-4, but one of the more talented areas for him is his flexibility. Green says Robbins' most recent offers are West Virginia, Ole Miss and Pittsburgh. Auburn offered Robbins on Friday as well after seeing him in practice a day earlier. In addition, the Florida Gators were expected to stop by to see Robbins over the weekend, so they are also close to offering.
"Lamar will be camping at FSU because he wants to get a feel for that campus, and will probably camp at Auburn as well," said Green.
Speaking of the 'Noles, Robbins addressed what an FSU offer would mean to him.
"Getting an offer from FSU would be pretty big. My cousin Rodney Smith is there. He actually came down to watch one of my practices last week and basically just told me to stay on top of my grades," Robbins said. "So yes sir, an offer from them would change things in my recruitment."
As far as the camp goes, Robbins wants to focus on his footwork and check out the environment. He also stated that he would like to make an early commitment because he plans on graduating in January to be an early enrollee.
But the duo aren't the only weapons for Southridge. Lamont Green also has some impressive 2014 prospects as well. One name Seminole fans should remember is WR Gilbert Johnson (6-4, 190). "Gilbert accelerates very well, but also does a very good job at using his hands off the line of scrimmage," Green said. "He's also a basketball player, so he's got very good leaping ability. He's a very competitive kid and he's looked good this spring."
Green says not many people know about Gilbert yet because he's mostly played basketball until recently and the stock has started to blow up.
The top underclassmen comes from the 2015 class in 6-foot-5, 230 pound freshman TE Devonaire Scott, who is only 15 years old.
"He catches everything, but runs more like a receiver than a massive tight end. Very good route runner but probably plays with a serious mean streak. I think he's going to be the next one that is going to a big time name to remember from here," added Green. The Spartans also have a pair of talented running backs returning this year in Jamal Adjamah and Lashone Garnett that are in the 2014 class. Adjamah is the physical back that has a massive upper body and Garnett is more along the lines of the change of direction guy.
Stop No. 10 - Miami (May 18)
MIAMI - It's not often FSU gets a back of the caliber of Miami Central's Joseph Yearby this early, but he just could not wait. Yearby selected the Seminoles a few weeks ago over offers from West Virginia, Alabama, Florida and Miami. But it was pretty clear after talking with him that his heart belonged to the Seminoles.
"I feel very good about my commitment to the Seminoles. It was like a dream come true to me when I committed," he said. "I love the type of program Coach Fisher is running at FSU and he's a winner so that's what I want to be a part of."
The best part for Yearby is he will get a chance to run in the same backfield as his close friend and former Miami Central standout Devonta Freeman. In fact, Yearby first called Freeman to let him know about the news.
"Yes sir, I actually told him early on. He was very excited about me being there," he said. "Having two Central backs in there is going to be great. I'm excited about getting over there (to Tallahassee."
Yearby also confirmed that he will be attending the FSU's summer camp. Yearby says he wants to work even more on his footwork, ball placement and technique and be even more explosive. Last season as a sophomore, he rushed for 2,160 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also averaged over seven yards per carry as a sophomore, caught two passes for 11 yards, and added one receiving touchdown. He finished as the leading rusher in Dade County.
The Rockets also have another star for the 2014 class, speedy back Dalvin Cook, who could be joining Yearby in the ACC in 2014. Cook is very close to pulling the trigger with Clemson. The duo is called "thunder and lightning" - Yearby is thunder and Cook is lighting.
If you're looking for other stars in the 2013 class, they have three-star safety Ahmad Thomas.
"Ahmad actually started off playing quarterback, but he asked to see what he could do at safety and he's been a strong player ever since for us," said Miami Central head coach Telly Lockette. "Miami, Auburn, Notre Dame and Florida came by today (Thursday), so I think they will be next (in addition to Clemson and Oklahoma). Ahmad is a really hard hitter back there for us and even better in coverage situations, great hand.
Lockette says the Seminoles have expressed interest in Thomas, but they want to see him in camp. It's one of the schools he is expected to camp at. He also says that assistant coach Eddie Gran has stayed in constant contact with Thomas. FSU has also expressed interest in sleeper defensive end Chris Herise (6-4, 225). He has a wing span of 6 feet, 8 inches.
Two names to really watch at Central as far as FSU targets is 2014 prospects CB Christopher Brown (6-0, 180). Lockette says Gran has shown a great deal of interest. Brown is a guy that played right behind Donaldven Manning, a 2012 Virginia Tech signee. Gran is very high on his cover skills, hip turn and speed out of his breaks. I'm told he will also camp at FSU.
Another name to get very familiar with would be DE Christopher Reece, who is the brother of former Miami Central WR Josh Reece. The younger Reece is a 6-foot-4, 245 pound end who would be the next in line for an FSU offer. He currently holds a Clemson offer according to Coach Lockette.
Finally, there is 2014 linebacker Jonathan Harris. Lockette says his game style is very similar to Sean Spence out of high school (who he coached). He's very fast, explosive and can read, react right up there with Spence. He's also a name that is expected to land an offer from FSU soon.
Our next stop of the day in Miami was to another football factory - Booker T. Washington. One of the main attractions is safety Michael Johnson, who head coach Tim "Ice" Harris says is one of the best football players on the team because of leadership and playmaking ability.
"Michael understands the game of football, has the ability to lead by his work ethic character and consistently making plays. He controls everything back there for us in the secondary, making all the calls for us on defense," said Harris. "That's what makes it easy for me to tell FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher how talented of a player he's getting. He deserves it all."
Johnson talked more about his commitment to FSU.
"I knew going in that if I got an offer from FSU, it would be tough to pass up because that was the team I followed growing up," he said. "I feel my strength is being able to do everything, like if you need run support with physical play or that cover guy to play centerfield out there."
Johnson is also doing a little recruiting of his own for the Seminoles, helping with the recruitment of Rivals100 LB Matthew Thomas, his teammate.
"I've been working hard on Matt. I mention to him every day about how FSU is the best team in the state the past three years and just that no one can touch our defense, so we need to do it together."
The Tornadoes also have others highly touted prospects including OL Denver Kirkland, who has Miami at the top of his list. However, after talking with a few people close to Kirkland, I get the impression he is looking around more and certainly not a lock to the Hurricanes as first thought. He is expected to give FSU a look in the summer and will be joined by Matthew Thomas and of course Michael Johnson on that trip.
"We moved Denver to center, so that really improved his football IQ in knowing all the checks as an offensive lineman. We have also had some new schools coming in looking at Denver, like Penn State, who hasn't been here in 19 years," he said. "Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Miami and Kentucky came by this week. Southern Cal also offered a couple of weeks ago."
Harris says Louisville, Alabama and Pittsburgh are some of the teams that have dropped by in the last few days. FSU is dropping by on Friday.
Thomas is a prospect that has FSU very high on his list and is the highest rated LB on the Noles' board. He talked with Warchant about his top teams and his thoughts about the Seminoles.
"My top five teams right are be Alabama, FSU, Georgia, Louisville and Miami. FSU, is a school that liked as a young kid, so that would be a good marriage between me and FSU," said Thomas.
Thomas is using spring practice as a gauge to get better.
"I would say I've continuing to work on my footwork and getting even quicker off the blocks. Also getting better with my covering backs and just being more of a vocal leader this year so the spring has been very good for me," he said.
That dedication, work ethic has certainly not been lost on his head coach.
"Matthew's strengths has always been a high motor and never gives up on a play. He was one of the few kids I can say made a major jump to where I first saw him to now," noted Harris. "He was an unbelievable pass rusher, no one could block him so I was hesitant to move him to Linebacker. Then his length started developing, IQ of football, and there you have it."
- Stay tuned for a full feature on Thomas.
While the Tornadoes have a strong 2013 class, could the 2014 one be even better? FSU is already active with several of the top prospects, including DE Chad Thomas, who the Seminoles offered last week.
"Chad is a young end that was playing a little high at first when we started using him more. We actually moved him to tackle, so it would keep his head down low. He's the type that likes to look around instead of just exploding in getting low. But his burst is very strong and one the fastest we have."
Harris told us FSU has also offered athlete Treon Harris and slot receiver Lamar Parker, a very shifty receiver that is comparable to Theron Collier, who also played at Washington and with the Miami Hurricanes . He has a great change of direction and will be one of the top slot receivers to watch in 2014.
Thomas, Harris and Parker told me they they plan on visiting FSU, along with Matthew Thomas, Michael Johnson and others. In addition, they mentioned possibly playing together at the same school. No early leaders yet for them, but all three agreed that they have the best early relationship with FSU.
WR/DB Jacob McCrary is one of the hottest names in the state in the 2014 class at the WR position or even the DB position. McCrary already holds offers from FSU, Clemson, Kansas St, Ole Miss, and South Florida. Clemson and FSU have visited recently and Ole Miss was expected to visit this week. How big was that FSU offer once extended a few weeks ago?
"That FSU offer was huge for me. I could see myself there and it's a great program that has one of the best recruiting classes in the country each year," McCrary said. "I've been very impressed with the balance FSU has. They spread the ball around very well. I think as an outside receiver I would fit in well."
McCrary says while he likes the deep passes as a receiver, he really likes going across the middle because most receivers always want to go vertical but that separates him from most.
"Most receivers don't like the middle, but I love it. It says a lot about a receiver when you go to the middle of the field and are still able to make plays so that's why I try to do with my game. I like the deep passes too, but I just like making those tough catches across the middle," he said.
There are also some schools that are pretty close to offering.
"Miami likes me a lot. They were this Friday. Central Florida and Syracuse are also supposed to be here soon, so I believe they are also close to offering," McCrary noted.
FSU, Alabama, Clemson and West Virginia also stopped by recently. FSU staff was there two weeks ago. McCrary says he grew up liking the Oregon Ducks.
"I actually just liked the way they spread the ball around on offense. That always impressed me a lot," he said.
McCrary plans to attend FSU's camp this summer and noted some things he hopes to spend some time on campus.
"I just want to see what it's like around campus. Maybe what it's like to be a student and my general feeling about how comfortable I am. I also hope Jameis Winston is there when I visit because I always liked him as a quarterback," he said. At camp, I just want to get better with my route running and work on my quickness."
Coral Reef assistant coach Daryl Ward talked with Warchant about what stands out about McCrary both as a receiver and an athlete.
"I would say on offense, his strengths would be his speed and the fact that he has very good hands," he said. "If it's close, he's going to catch it," said Ward. "Jacob is also very strong and a solid blocker as a receiver. On defense, he's simply everywhere in covering the field."
The Barracudas also have a few names to keep an eye out for the 2014 class including QB Nicodem Pierre (6-2, 215). His arm strength seems to be one of the main attractions for schools as he can throw a football 65 yards. Also, LB Devonte Jones (5-10, 225) is one to keep an eye out for. Coach Ward says his strengths are instincts around the football and runs in the 4.6 forty range. CB Marcus Leslie has a few early offers according to Ward. FIU and Ole Miss are some of the main ones that have offered.
University School: Bain says "I'm an FSU commitment"
Earlier this spring, DT Maquedius Bain made it clear that he was an FSU commitment and simply wants to check out other places to compare them to Florida State. He made it clear, it's nothing FSU has done, but he wants to be a guy that is straight with the coaches about the visits. On Thursday afternoon, Bain reiterated that claim.
"I actually talked with Coach Gran and Coach Fisher before I even said anything about taking visits. I'm an FSU commitment and that's the school I'm comfortable with. I just want to make sure of the decision by checking out other schools," said Bain.
Bain cited his relationship with FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins as one of the main reasons he picked the Seminoles and feels that he can see himself there.
"He's the best in the business," said Bain.
University School head coach Roger Harriot characterizes his star DT into one simple word - 'creature'.
"Quay is just a creature as a 6-foot-5, 290 pounds that is very explosive off the line of scrimmage," Harriot said. "He's a kid that played basketball, then gave football a chance a year later. He's got so much talent but it just needs to be defined."
Bain is not the only top prospect for the University School. They also have a top receiver high on the Seminoles' board in four-star WR Jordan Cunningham. According to the standout receiver, FSU remains in the picture. According to Cunningham, FSU, Miami, Stanford and Alabama all stopped by earlier this week. Out of those visits, it appears the Stanford visit intrigued Cunningham because it was their first visit to the University School. Cunningham also confirmed that he will be attending the FSU summer camp along with several other 2014 prospects.
Another name to keep an eye out for in the 2013 class is LB Skai Moore. Harriot claims that Eddie Gran is showing a great deal of interest in him. The 6-foot-2, 210 pound prospect tells me he will be visiting FSU in the summer and will camp there. Harriot added that FSU has its post-spring meetings where the coaches plan to talk about Moore as a possible target. FSU has also shown interest in 2013 OL Jordan Budwig as well.
Another in the 2014 class is standout safety Quincy Wilson. His father is Trav Wilson, who played at the University of Miami and with the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson is a 6-foot-2, 190 pound safety that Harriot describes as one of the hardest hitters on the team and a player who is far along with his technique, more so than most at safety.
Another name is 2014 RB Lajuan Hunt, who is a shifty back that had a strong freshman season and has really taken off. He's a good between the tackle runners. Then there is 2015 prospect Jordan Scarlett (6-0, 195). Coach Harriot believes he's a freak and will certainly be a national recruit. Scarlett is also a 10.6 runner in the 100 so he has a lot of speed, but has a lot of wiggle as well in open space.
Others in 2015 are CB Rashard Causey and 2015 athlete Blaine Preston.
- Stay tuned for a full feature on Bain.
Following the VTO/Rivals camp, cornerback Rashard Robinson seemed all but destined to follow former Ely stars Avery Johnson and brother Patrick Peterson over to LSU. However, a conversation with his Mom changed that direction somewhat as Robinson now plans on taking some visits, including one to FSU later this year.
"I wanted to see the options out there by visiting everywhere. I wanted to weigh out my options before I make my choice on signing day after talking it over with my family," said Robinson. "I plan on going on a visit to FSU, Alabama and probably Florida for summer camps. I will also go over to LSU for a camp as well."
He says the history LSU has had with their defensive backs has been the biggest attraction. But he admitted he still has to learn how he feels about the school, coaches and program overall by visiting the campus. That alone was another reason why Robinson decided to hold off on any decision.
On the other side of the fence you also have the Florida State Seminoles, who will lose their two starting cornerbacks, Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes. That is something Robinson is very closely following and why the 'Noles are high on his list.
"Depth charts are important to me, so that's a very attractive situation for me with FSU and impresses me a lot," noted Robinson. "That would give me a chance to have an opportunity at FSU. They have a great defensive line and every cornerback loves seeing that because it opens up the rest of the defense."
FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops watched the talented corner in action at Ely's practice recently.
"Coach Stoops is a really great guy. He's been very honest with me from the very beginning about what they liked about me as a corner and areas I needed to get better," he said. "Coach Stoops likes my hip turn a lot and how well I can find the ball when it's in the air. I know his track record with defensive backs, so I wouldn't mind playing for him."
Robinson will attend the June session of the FSU camp, but also plans on seeing everything Tallahassee has to offer so he can get the full effect of FSU. He admitted two of the main things he'll look for is the camp in competing against top receivers and meeting a lot of the FSU players to pick their brain about why they selected FSU.
"My Mom is coming with me on that visit. We are going to check out all the locker rooms, meet the players, and see all the dorms to get the full experience about FSU," said Robinson.
One player Robinson is looking forward to meeting the most on that FSU visit is former St. Aquinas WR Rashad Greene, who had a strong freshman season for the Seminoles.
"I actually almost went to St. Thomas and was actually going to go there. I knew him when I was a freshman. It would be really cool to guard him and have some great one on one battles," noted Robinson.
Robinson will also visit Alabama, Florida, Miami and LSU. In addition, Robinson feels that Florida, Alabama, Miami and Tennessee are some of the schools that are very close to offering.
Coley keeping FSU on his mind
Despite being among the nation's top receivers in the 2013 class, Oakland Park Northeast receiver Stacy Coley keeps much of the recruitment process to himself.
Warchant.com caught up with the No. 45 player in the nation to see where he stands.
"It's going great," Coley said. "I'm just trying to stay focused with the recruiting right now."
Coley has countless offers and said that he picked up offers from Purdue and Nebraska this past week. As for Florida State, he said he has enjoyed his time talking with assistant coach Eddie Gran.
"He's a good dude," Coley said. "He's nice to be around. There's a lot to look forward to with Coach Gran. It's a great environment over there."
Coley said that Florida State has been recruiting him as hard as anyone of late, and conversely, he hasn't heard much from the Florida Gators in recent weeks.
He didn't name any favorites or a potential commitment date, but Coley mentioned what he liked most about FSU's offensive scheme.
"They have the top recruiting class, they spread the balls around, they put you in a variety of positions so you can get the ball and make plays with it," Coley said.
Coley said he has focused plenty on his maturity off the field and academics this spring and has seen results.
- Be on the lookout for a full feature and video on Stacy Coley next week.
RB Alex Collins is a perfect example of how persistence pays off. His journey all started last year when he attended an FSU camp.
"I would say I was probably just learning the running back position in being a back that was elusive, but I had to learn the technique," said Collins. "That camp helped me a lot in working with Coach Gran."
Collins picked up his first offer from Miami and committed shortly after. But the story doesn't end there. Collins feels he rushed into that decision and while he hasn't officially decommitted, he sure doesn't talk like a commitment for the Miami Hurricanes. Florida State is a school heavy on the radar and Coach Gran is a pretty big reason for that.
"Coach Gran is more than just a coach. He's so honest about everything you do to improve you as a person, and on the field," noted Collins. "He focuses so much on the little things it amazes me. He's helped a lot about how I carry the football, technique and even what I can do better with my style of running."
Collins plans to camp at FSU again this year. But this time he plans on getting to know a lot of the players, coaches and how he fits into that offense.
"I'm very excited about that trip. I just want to talk with a lot of the players about FSU and see why they picked there," said Collins. "I already have a very close relationship with Coach Gran, so now I just want to meet the players. I'm very high on FSU."
South Plantation head coach Doug Gatewood the transformation of Collins. As a freshman, Collins only weighed 180 pounds or maybe even less when he transferred from Dillard. Now Collins is up to 207 pounds and is a much more physical runner.
"Alex really didn't spend a lot of time in the weight room coming in so that was the difference. He simply has God given skills that I can't coach," said Gatewood. "He can cut on a dime. I would love to say that we had one of the best offensive lines around in opening up a lot of big holes, but Alex is the reason. Now with the added weight he's brought more of a power game so now he's the total package."
- Warchant.com will have more on Collins with a full feature soon.
Stop No. 8 - Bartow and Chaminade (May 16)
Bartow: Stevenson blowing up, FSU high on his list
It all comes down to rising to another level for 2013 LB Freddie Stevenson. He understood that challenge when he started taking his game to another level as a sophomore.
"Coach (Odell) Haggins came by yesterday and he raved about the attitude Stevenson's brings to the table," explained Bartow head coach Brett Biggs. "He also likes how Freddie is a student of the game in how much film he studies and shows that in his game in correcting mistakes."
Biggs admits that the coaches still had to teach Stevenson more about fundamentals, technique, and how to evaluate his game through film study.
"Biggest change for Freddie was his patience. As a sophomore he would go in there flying to hurt people, but last year he was much more in control," said Biggs. "I think all of that is attributed to the film study and mistakes he picked up."
Stevenson also transformed his body going from 6-foot and 170 pounds to 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds in just a year. In one game last season he 16 tackles, recorded an interception that he returned for a touchdown of 65 yards, and had a sack. From that moment Biggs told his young star that he set the bar high and there is no going back, and he never did. His performance attracted a ton of colleges.
"Thirty-one schools in total have stopped by. Some of the teams include FSU, Florida, South Carolina, Iowa State, Texas A&M, Penn State (yesterday), Oklahoma State and Louisville," said Biggs. "FSU came by on Tuesday. They offered Freddie a couple of days before the start of spring practice. The most recent offer came yesterday Penn State."
Stevenson is certainly one of the top linebackers in the state and could end up being the best by season's end. However, the Yellow Jackets also have a strong tandem of linebackers that should make a strong impact.
"We also have a very good linebacker in Rico Mathis, who is also a D-I prospect," noted Biggs. "Rico is just as good in some aspects as a linebacker as Freddie, but just isn't as fast. There's also CB Onterio West, who holds offers from Iowa State, Houston, South Florida, and UCF have also offered.".
There is also defensive end Ramonte Bell (6-0, 250) and quarterback Dimetri Leverett, who Biggs says will be participating in the Elite 11 for the state of Florida.
"Number one thing with Adrian is his quickness and speed. He's very fast and a lot of that goes back to him playing basketball with his quick feet and fast hip turn," said Chaminade head coach Tim Tyrell. "We know the one thing he needs to do is hit that weight room hard so he will bulk up. His first two years in high school he focused on basketball, but then decided football was the best option for him."
Learning to play cornerback hasn't been a difficult transition. Tyrrell says FSU likes Baker as corner and also notes that both Eddie Gran and Mark Stoops like his covering ability and motor.
. "Early on I liked him so much at receiver, but then we saw how good his hips were as a corner and knew that was the place for him," said Tyrell. "He exploded last year and his cover skills alone is what blows you away."
The big rumor of the past few days was the Baker was going to announce his commitment on Wednesday after practice at 6:30 PM. However, that didn't happen and Tyrrell shed some light on the decision process.
"Adrian wants to make a decision between now and July 1," he said. "He does want to take a few more visits, including FSU where he will camp so he knows for sure because as I told him once you make a decision that should be it."
Until he makes that decision, Baker is not doing interviews so he can focus on recruiting without distractions. Talking or not, it appears as though the Seminoles are in a good position to land the talented corner. And the word is that FSU would welcome a commitment from Baker anytime.
Chaminade also has a very strong group of 2014 prospects that are on FSU's radar. In fact, according to Tyrrell, one of them has already received a verbal offer.
"I would say Khairi Clark is one of the big guys for FSU that they really like and FSU has actually verbally offered him. He is a 6-foot-3, 310 pound 2014 DT prospect that runs in the 4.9 range for his forty, and is one of the most powerful players on the team. He also has very good hand speed and quickness for a guy that size," said Tyrrell.
The Lions have two other talented prospects starting with QB Sean White (6-2, 199). Last season he threw 26 touchdowns and had just three interceptions. White already holds heavy interest from North Carolina, Notre Dame, FSU, Boston College, among others.
Then finally the Lions have outside linebacker Richard Gourgan, (6-3, 215). Gourgan has excellent speed off the point of attack.
Stop No. 7 - Orlando (May 15)
Evans: 'Nole commits making a big difference
What a difference a year makes for Orlando Evans head coach Chip Gierke. Last year, basically zero coaches dropped by Evans to check out any of his players. In contrast, over 58 college programs have already stopped by this spring. The main attraction for 2013 is the talented trio of WR Dominic Walker, WR Tony Stevens and LB Ro'Derrick Hoskins.
We spoke with Gierke about the two talented FSU commitments - Hoskins and Stevens.
"Tony is a very explosive player in making plays down the field and his length makes him even tougher to stop," said Gierke. "I think one of the best things about Tony is that he will compete with anyone. We have actually been playing Tony some at safety this year, so he's going to get a lot of action there. He's so long and has very good closing speed to make a strong impact back there for us."
There is certainly plenty of talent to go around at Orlando Evans and another one that will be headed to Tallahassee next season is Hoskins. His speed, change of direction and physicality is certainly an attraction.
"Ro'Derrick is the best football player on our team, bar none," noted Gierke. "I remember early into my career an all pro coach Bill Arsparger told me 'Great players use their eyes more than anything' and that describes Ro'Derrick the best. He has such a feel for the game it's truly remarkable to watch.
"Some of the stuff Ro'Derrick does we can't teach but what makes him special is to have a guy that is so darn instinctive to where the ball is going, but not just knowing that but executing, and blowing that play up."
Finishing off that trio is WR/DB Dominic Walker who Gierke says FSU likes both at receiver and defensive back, but mostly at safety. However, Walker is more passionate about lining up on offense.
Walker told Warchant.com that his two favorites right now are Vanderbilt and FSU. Judging by a process of elimination, I would say Walker is likely headed to Vanderbilt based on the fact that FSU likes him on defense. Still, Gierke raved about him on both sides of the ball.
"Dominic likes playing linebacker and receiver because he's so physical after the catch and he can do a lot of great things on defense, where we played him some last year," said Gierke. "I know Coach Fisher has raved about him there."
Some other Evans' players that should sign Division I scholarships include Levar Robinson, a top athlete for the Trojans who is getting serious interest from Duke, Pittsburgh and South Florida. Cornerback James Julius, who picked up a Cincinnati offer a few days ago and running back Brandon English in the 2013 class.
Evans also has two '14 prospect that everyone around the state and Southeast will be after - OL Deion James (6-5, 235) and the furious pass rushing skills of DE Traevon Sharp (6-5, 225).
"Deion is a guy I know Trickett immediately loved because of his size and how he moved in watching him in practice. Sharp is certainly one of those physical defensive linemen that will be able to play anywhere next season because of his motor and explosive first step," explained Gierke.
"I've been working on not running as high, so that's what I'm focused on. The coaching staff at Boone helped me with making my cuts and being lower and more balanced anytime I tough the football," said the four-star prospect. "It's about ball placement and running at a comfortable range. In high school I can overpower people, but I know it won't be that easy in college."
One part of his game that doesn't need to change is his tireless work ethic. And he certainly has the talent to succeed at an elite level.
"A.J. is the best running back we have ever had here. I've coached Stacy Mack, who played in the NFL and James Washington the starting running back at N.C. State. A.J. is better than both of them," Boone head coach Phil Ziglar said. "He is a power back with a lot speed, quickness that you should not have at that size. Jamal Jones came over from First Coast to work with him on staying lower, so that's the biggest area of change I've seen with A.J. and his running."
While recruiting isn't a strong focus for Turman at the moment, there is no doubt that Florida State is a major contender. Consider that he has visited FSU six times over the last two years and that doesn't even count the trips to see his brother who just graduated from Florida A&M.
One main attraction that keeps pulling Turman to Tallahassee has been the connection with running backs coach Eddie Gran.
"He (Gran) always gives me tips on small things to adjust. He talks about the small details that change my technique and make an impact," Turman said. "He also helped me some with the running lower and ball placement. We always connect well so I like him a lot and of course Coach Trickett is my main recruiter out of this year."
Despite all those trips to Tallahassee and a strong relationship with Gran, Turman insists that he doesn't have a leader. However, he admits that because of the number of times he's visited FSU, or even other schools like Auburn and Miami, it does give those programs a slight edge.
In addition to FSU, Turman says that Miami, Auburn, Louisville and Nebraska have all stopped by practice within the past week.
Turman isn't the lone recruiting prospect from Boone. Other targets that could show up on FSU's radar include 2014 defensive lineman Samford Meeks (6-4, 255). Also, the Braves have linebacker Quinton Davis (5-11, 205). According to Ziglar, Meeks was one of the few freshman to start last season. The Braves have DT Taresse Darden (6-2, 255), who will be another one to watch.
Orlando Jones star athlete Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield, cousin of FSU signee Marvin Bracy, might be one of the fastest recruits in America for the 2013 recruiting class. Nevertheless, Jones head coach Kenard Lang says Whitfield's football talents stand out as much as what he can do on the track.
"We play Kermit at as many positions as possible, playing QB, kick returner, punt returner, FS and slot WR. Most schools like him as a slot guy, but he's very special on kick returns," said Lang. "I honestly think it comes down to his vision about why he's so good with that. He sees how the play is developing and then he's gone.
"He's very natural at receiver because of how elusive he is out in space. I would say also he's focused so much time on route running this year and it's shown a lot in the spring. Now with him playing free safety, he can basically shut half the field off. Most kids can't but with his speed Kermit can so he's pretty unique."
On the recruiting front Lang says Whitfield is focused on FSU, Florida, Oklahoma State, Miami, Clemson and West Virginia, to name a few. He also says that at this time Whitfield isn't in a hurry to make a final decision. Lang did confirm that his star player will be visiting FSU for the summer camp and taking some more visits. All the above teams have visited Jones during practice.
"He wants to experience everything to see which school makes him feel at home," he said. "Right now he's just trying to figure that out but knows he's not in a hurry to do it."
Jones high school has another rising standouts for the 2013 class, DE Devin Washington. The three-star defender is one of the most likable prospects around because of the respect he showed for every school before selecting South Carolina last weekend. However, Washington and Whitfield aren't the only prospects to watch.
"We also have 2014 Sam linebacker Jackson George (6-2, 205). In addition, Jones has a talented FB/LB T.J. Bryan (6-1, 210). Those are really our main ones," said Lang. "Best part about both of them is the fact that they have great grades, but at the same time are extremely athletic in our defensive system."
"The main thing is I'm just supporting my team and just getting everything down," said Harris. "I pretty much know the playbook, so just ready for the spring game for our team and hopefully come out with a victory. I just have to get down the schemes more than anything in the fall."
On the recruiting front, Harris got a chance to see the full court press attack by the Seminoles, who made it clear from the start that he was one of their top safety targets. The staff certainly backed up that claim this spring.
"It was a lot of fun as my main recruiter for the Central Florida area D.J. Eliot came out a week ago and then yesterday Coach Trickett, who recruits this area and Mark Stoops were here," he said. "Having Coach Stoops here was pretty big considering he only visits the elite or best so I liked that."
Harris had high marks for the Seminoles and even hinted that if he took any visit, it could be to FSU because his younger brother might attend the summer camp. But his schedule appears to be packed. He will attend the Rivals100 challenge in Atlanta, then a little bit later he will attend the "Opening" event for ESPN. There's also been speculation that he could announce his college choice in before the start of the fall season.
"I would like to make my college choice in August, but that just depends on if I see everything I need to see with the visits. There's nothing set that I will do it for sure," Harris said. "I will have a top four coming up."
It's not often you stop on the Warchant recruiting tour to see mention of a 2015 prospect. First, of all FSU doesn't extend too many offers for that class, but then again Timber Creek RB Jacques Patrick is not your normal prospect. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound back now holds offers from FSU, Miami, Florida, South Florida and Central Florida. Could another big school could enter his offer list soon?
"Alabama is coming by Wednesday, so that's exciting and I believe Auburn, and Mississippi State are also coming by."
Patrick admitted to growing up a Florida fan, but not a die-hard one. Despite liking the Gators growing up, it was the 'Noles that really blew him away when he visited for the spring game.
"I actually remember when I attended "The Swamp" a week earlier I thought there is nothing that is going to beat that, but Doak Campbell did. That visit was unbelievable and without question the best visit I've ever been on," said Patrick. "The atmosphere was great, and I just felt at home totally there."
Patrick plans on attending the FSU summer camp in June and wants to get to know the players more on that visit. He will also attend camps at Miami, Florida and likely Alabama."
Recruiting analyst Michael Langston stopped by the Niceville and Fort Walton Beach area getting updates on key prospects on Thursday.
Niceville: 'Nole legacy will camp at FSU, Trickett drops by
The first stop of the day was Niceville, where the Eagles boast some very talented underclassmen. One of the highest regarded comes from the 2014 class in WR Tyre McCants (5-11, 182). He has plenty of connections to the Florida State program, but the biggest connection is his father, former FSU standout WR Terry Anthony. Tyre's mother also graduated from Florida State. He grew up a fan of the 'Noles.
"When I was in middle school I went to a lot of the camps, games there at FSU. I think FSU does a very good job of spreading the ball around to their receivers in giving them a chance to make plays," McCants said. "I grew up a big fan of FSU because my Mom and Dad went there. My mom ran track at FSU and my father Terry Anthony was a receiver there."
McCants, much like his father, is a game changer according to Niceville head coach John Hicks.
"Tyre's made a lot of big strides with his speed and quickness. He's always been a physical receiver, but I think the area he's improved the most on would have to be his route running," said Hicks. "His ability to fight off tacklers stands out. I think his body physically maturing has helped him a lot with improving that cuts with his route running,."
McCants' recruitment has picked up this offseason with schools like Missouri, Vanderbilt and FSU all stopping by recently to check in on him. Hicks also confirmed that FSU assistant coach Rick Trickett stopped by in the past week.
"Coach Trickett likes how physical he is more than anything. He feels he's a Lawrence Dawsey type that can block, be explosive in the middle of the field, and make plays," Hicks noted. "I know Tyre plans on camping there at FSU this summer, probably in June."
McCants says he's received a lot of interest from Miami, Cincinnati, South Florida, Vanderbilt and FSU. The last game McCants attended was the Miami game. He also confirmed that he will attending a few FSU games this year to get a better look at the receivers.
The Eagles also have some other young talent in the fold and that includes sophomore RB Shi'Kim Coward (5-9, 180) who started for the Eagles as a freshman rushing for nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"It's about improving every week. I actually have a bet with Tyre that whoever doesn't score first in the spring game, has to do 50 pushups so there is a lot of competitive stuff between me and him," said Coward. "I have the ability to get to the outside but I like the physicality part more than anything."
Niceville also has a few 2013 prospects to keep an eye out for this year that Trickett checked out recently, including OL Nick Haynes, who Trickett watched closely at the last practice. Also, a player on the radar is athlete Andrew Mitchell (6-foot-4, 208 pounds) that FSU is keeping close tabs on.
One of the most wanted players in the panhandle area for the 2014 class is 6-foot-2, 215-pound Denzel Ware. He's a furious pass rusher that already holds offers from Alabama, Florida and Clemson. This week the talented end got the offer he's been dreaming about when the Seminoles joined the sweepstakes. After talking with head coach Jimbo Fisher, Ware says that it was hard to come up with the words to describe the offer.
"That was a dream come true. I've always dreamed about playing for Florida State, so that made me happy how close I am to that dream," said Ware. "I really didn't know what to say at that time. Coach Fisher mainly went over the team, how everything was going and went over some things he liked about my game with my pass rushing skills."
Ware also got to hear Fisher give his breakdown of his skill level and what really impressed the 'Noles staff to extend the offer this early into the recruiting process.
"Coach Fisher said he liked how I can redirect with my pass rush and that I'm not afraid to stick my face in there with my pass rush. He says that he hasn't seen too many guys that can do that, "said Ware. Ware also confirmed that he plans to camp at Alabama. Although it's still early into the process, Ware says the Seminoles are the team that stands out the most, despite offers from Clemson, Alabama and Florida.
The one area that Ware will focus hard on this year according to Crestview head coach Kevin Pettis is how good he is against run support and that begins with the cut blocks. Pettis says Ware's pass rushing is off the charts, but this area needs improvement.
"To be successful at the next level he needs to get better against the cut block in using his hands," explained Pettis. "He can pass rush like crazy right now, but when you get to college you have to be able to use your hands to shed off blocks and then explode towards the ball."
Crestview also has some solid young talent besides Ware, and it also begins on the defensive side of the ball with outside linebacker Dakota Dean, who is the younger brother of Blake Dean, the former star baseball player at LSU. Dakota is committed on a baseball scholarship to LSU, but after talking with him Thursday, he said he would like to play football if possible. Currently Dean holds heavy interest from Vanderbilt, Duke and Northwestern.
2014 prospects on the radar include Jalen Robinson (5-10, 208), a safety that holds a Vanderbilt offer and interest continues to build for him. Then you also have OL/DL Lucas Lee (6-7, 235) , who FSU and Florida are looking at hard right now. According to Coach Pettis Lee got mono this year so his weight dropped all the way down to 215 pounds, but is now starting to move back up. Trickett is taking a strong look at him. They also have a 2015 RB in Emmanuel Reed (5-9, 180). "Emmanuel does everything well and is probably the best freshman running back I've had. Has great vision, strong, but everything goes back to his vision in seeing how the play is developing and Emmanuel does that," said Pettis.
The last stop of the day was Fort Walton Beach High school as we checked in on 2013 defensive back John Marvin (6-foot-1, 188), a safety/corner who can really do it all with his speed. He is arguably one of the fastest prospects in the panhandle area and now one who has peaked FSU's interest I'm told. I got a chance to talk with Fort Walton Beach head coach Mike Owen about the early attention for Marvin.
"John is the fastest player on our team, but also one of the most physical at defensive back. Some schools like him at safety and a few like him at corner as well because of his covering ability," said Owen. "He's a three year starter in the secondary, but this year we are going to use him some at running back for our offense. Marvin has offers from Louisville, South Florida, FAU and FIU. Just about every SEC school and some ACC schools have dropped in this spring, including FSU."
FSU is a new team in the mix. What did Rick Trickett like about him when he visited with Coach Owen last week?
"Coach Trickett dropped by last Thursday. He really liked the size of John and how fast he was with that size more than anything," said Owen. "I know Coach Trickett was taking some video of John and mentioned to me he really wants John to camp there so Coach Stoops can get a long look at him."
What did the three-star CB think about Trickett stopping by to see him in practice?
"I was actually surprised because I didn't even know Coach Trickett was coming by. That was great seeing him out here and I know FSU has one of the best defenses in the nation so that was exciting," he said. "I know I'll be camping there for sure. I plan on getting a lot of scheme type stuff I can learn from the FSU coaches to help me with my technique."
Some of the SEC schools have also expressed interest in Marvin.
"Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Missouri was actually just here on Wednesday," Marvin said. "I feel like Mississippi State is close to offering and Alabama wants me to camp there. They are actually one of the few that are recruiting me at both safety and corner. Most schools like me as a corner." Although schools are just now starting to heat up, Marvin says that his decision will probably get done this summer or right before the 2012 season starts.
The Vikings also have some young talent for 2014 are certainly worth a strong look. The crown jewel of that class would have to be Marquis Davenport (5-9, 155), a slot receiver that looks to be one of the most explosive offensive weapons for Coach Owen. The Vikings also will return Carl Pfifer (6-3, 210 pounds), a defensive end who Owens feels has a great motor and will be a prospect that has a strong shot at a breakout season.
Stop No. 5 - Jacksonville (May 8)
Recruiting analyst Michael Langston and staff writer Paul Thomas went through the Jacksonville area getting updates on key prospects on Tuesday.
Orange Park: Richardson still interested in FSU
DE De'Asian Richardson might have had the shortest commitment at FSU when he committed to FSU during their junior day, then 40 minutes later, had a change of heart and decommitted.
"It had nothing to do with how much I like FSU. I'm still very high on Florida State and they are in my top four with Alabama, Auburn, and Louisville," said Richardson. "I had a really good time on that visit and really can't wait to get back over there this summer."
Recently, Richardson caught some in-state football fans off guard on Twitter. He stated earlier this week that he was definitely heading out of state for school.
"I was actually joking with some of my friends on there," he said. "I never thought that it would blow out of proportion like that. I'm seriously considering all the in state teams and hasn't changed. Right now I'm just looking for the school I feel the most comfortable with in regards to coaches, players and overall environment."
While Richardson did back away from his commitment, his feelings about FSU and Coach Odell Haggins haven't changed.
"Coach Haggins is the best. He doesn't mess around and just tells you like it is and doesn't hold back. You never have to worry about if he is going to tell you the truth and I feel comfortable around him," said Richardson.
The three-star prospect plans on attending the FSU summer camp so he can get a feel for the style of coaching at FSU. He plans to make return trips to Alabama and Auburn, among others.
Coach Haggins will be at Orange Park on Wednesday according to head coach Danny Green.
Throughout the spring, First Coast linebacker Daniel McMillian hinted that he might take some visits to FSU this summer. Today, he took it a step further, saying he will be spending a great deal of time in Tallahassee to make sure the University of Florida is the place for him.
"I haven't gone anywhere this spring. I know some people talked about me taking some trips, but I never did," said the four-star linebacker who has committed to UF. "I was planning on visiting FSU, but just had some travel issues. I will be at the FSU summer camp and I will be taking several visits over there.
FSU isn't the only place McMillian plans on visiting. But he still feels very firm with his decision.
"I'm going to take my visits. I plan to go to Alabama and Clemson and try to get over there to Oregon to go along with visiting FSU as well. I also plan on visiting Arkansas," he said. "I'm still comfortable with everything at Florida. I feel I have a chance to get on the field early there and it feels at home there."
McMillian says he still talks with FSU assistant coach Odell Haggins regularly. While he plans to visit to other schools, I got the impression that Clemson and Alabama were very high as well.
Another prospect to watch from First Coast is cornerback D.J. Killings (5-foot-10, 180 pounds). He picked up a Kentucky and West Virginia offer on Tuesday. He is the cousin of FSU commitment Tyrell Lyons.
"I feel like my speed, quickness and how I am in press coverage is my best strength at this point," he said. "I like to press and be in control of what the receivers want to do. I also like the zone, man coverages, but press is my favorite so I just try to show that. I feel I redirect the receivers very well."
There isn't a lot of film on Killings, so most schools have to go on what they see from the talented corner during spring practice at First Coast. That hasn't stopped teams from showing interest.
"FSU, Auburn, Georgia, West Virginia and Kentucky are some of the schools that have shown a great deal of interest. Auburn was here on Monday," he said.
What would an offer from FSU mean to Killings?
"FSU was the first team to even show me any interest. An offer would be very big because I've always liked how their corners play press coverage more than anything," he said. "That would be a huge one if FSU offered."
That coveted offer may come later this week as FSU assistant coach Lawrence Dawsey is expected to visit Friday. According to the First Coast staff, FSU has liked what they have seen out of Killings so far and the staff feels FSU will offer soon.
Other names to watch at First Coast are 2013 LB Seyvlon Lowery, a BCS offer caliber player who currently holds 10 offers and including North Carolina. Also, keep an eye out for 2015 LB Sharrod Pittman (6-2, 215). Louisville and Alabama are some of the schools showing early interest. 2015 QB DeAndre Johnson also plans to camp at FSU.
Rivals100 defensive tackle Caleb Brantley didn't decommit from the Florida Gators, but it appears he has reopened his recruitment.
"I just made too quick of a decision. I mean I committed like the day after because of how excited I was about being around Florida," said Brantley, a four-star prospect. "I didn't take the time to look at everything for a lot of different schools."
One school that is very high on the radar that he will give a close look is Florida State. A team that was the first school to offer him and a coach he has a close relationship.
"Everything is straight down the middle with Coach Haggins. I'm looking forward to visiting FSU this summer. I want to see how I feel when I'm there on campus."
Baker County: Sophomore getting lots of attention
This week's first stop was at Baker County High (Glen St. Mary, Fla.) where we stopped by to see defensive end CeCe Jefferson, a prospect you will hear a lot about despite the fact he is only a rising sophomore. Jefferson is already at 6-foot-2 and 248 pounds end and has room to grow according to Baker County assistant coach Ryan Sulkowski. Some of the heavyweights like Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and FSU have already made inquiries about Jefferson.
"The main thing with CeCe is that first step. That's the most impressive thing. He's explodes off that line of scrimmage," said Sulkowski. "He actually played running back last year, so this is a kid that never had his hands in the dirt, so he's just been feeling his way around."
Helping develop Jefferson at Baker County might be a familiar face for Seminole fans in DE Craig Yarborough.
"We have a great coach in Craig. He's done a tremendous job with CeCe who still is learning the technique part of the end position, but he's the best we have had here at this position," said Sulkowski.
Jefferson grew up following the Florida Gators, but says his commitment will be a business decision. He says FSU's defensive front has captured his eye early into the process.
"That defensive line is incredible - a very nasty line. I really like the way they play over there at FSU so I know that's one school I will be checking out," added Jefferson.
Some of the schools in the mix are Auburn, Florida, Alabama, FSU and Louisville. The Cardinals are his lone offer.
For Jacksonville Trinity Christian 2014 wide receiver Isaiah Ford, there was only one game that was ever on the television on Saturdays - the Florida State Seminoles.
The up and coming wideout said his family is all Seminole fans, but he hasn't gotten the chance to visit Tallahassee yet.
"I haven't visited there but I grew up a Florida State fan," Ford said. "My family was just all Florida State fans so I just grew up liking them."
The recruiting process is just starting from Ford but he said he has heard from Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Clemson and Vanderbilt (who officially offered him on Tuesday) throughout the spring.
Odell Haggins is Ford's primary recruiter for FSU.
"(Coach Haggins) just tells me keep working hard and they're real interested in me," said Ford. "Just to stay humble most of all."
As things in the process have begun to heat up for Ford he has leaned on Florida commitment Nick Washington for advice on how to deal with all the attention.
"Nick helped me out a lot," Ford said. "He just told me when I'm making my decision to just stay humble and its no rush when you're making your decision. You just pick where you think fits you the most."
This summer Ford plans to camp at FSU and Florida among others, but that he currently is wide open in his recruitment.
"I'm really just open right now," he said. "Just trying to take everything that comes to me and stay humble and take my time when I make my decision."
Isaiah Ford is a player that grew up a fan of the Seminoles. He's a game changer according to Trinity Christian assistant coach Gerard Ross, a former Florida State player.
"Good thing about Isaiah is he's a long rangy guy that is one of the competitive kids out there and actually is one of the best receivers we had for 7-on-7 this spring," he said. "Another thing that stands out about him is how well he recognizes the coverages well in breaking off the routes if he needs too."
Vanderbilt offered Ford on Tuesday while South Carolina and FAU have also extended verbal offers .
Trinity Christian also has a very talented young 2015 safety prospect in Kevin Toliver, who is the cousin of Terrance Toliver of LSU.
"FSU, Miami and Auburn are some of the main ones that have inquired about Kevin. As a cover guy he's very good in press, and even man," Ross said. "He also plays with a lot of physicality. Coach Haggins from FSU is expected to drop by again this spring to get another look at him."
Victor Alexander is another player to watch. He's a 5-foot-10, 208 pound 2015 linebacker prospect. Ross says his young prospect can either play middle or outside linebacker.
Another name is 2015 linebacker Jeffrey Holland (6-foot-2, 221 pounds). This prospect has the frame to grow into a 6-foot-4 or around that mark. Out of this group he was the one the Trinity Christian staff seemed the most excited about.
Tuesday afternoon was a very exciting day for Ponte Vedra Nease High 2014 linebacker Kain Daub. After being sidelined for the first few days of spring practice with a pulled hamstring, he was finally cleared to return to the field with his teammates.
Off the field things have been exciting for the 6-foot-3, 249-pound linebacker as well, as he has become one of the Jacksonville area's fastest rising prospects.
"It's very exciting. I just never thought that it would take off this early," Daub said. "I've heard from Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Ohio State, UCLA, Miami, Alabama and LSU."
In April, Daub had a chance to visit Tallahassee for the Florida State spring game. He said he really liked the campus and thought Doak Campbell Stadium was "unbelievable".
After the spring game he had a chance to visit with the Seminoles coaching staff.
"After the spring game I stayed after for about two hours. I just talked to Jimbo Fisher and all the defensive coaches," Daub said. "To be sitting in one of the best college coaches' office is just a great feeling. It just makes me want to play even harder."
This summer Daub said he plans on attending the Jimbo Fisher football camps as well as Florida, LSU, and Alabama's camps. Right now he is just taking the recruiting process slow. He hopes to get more involved with Alabama and hear from Oregon later in the spring.
"No leaders, no top fives," he said. "There are a couple schools I'm hoping to hear from´┐Żall the other schools I want to hear from I've already talked to."
According to Nease head coach and former Florida quarterback Shane Mathews, Daub is a special player.
"There aren't too many kids like Kain when you talk about power, speed to take over at his position and dominate," Matthews said. "He still is raw in learning technique, but his quickness is still well ahead of schedule with how fast he can and execute the big play. That's just something you are born with and Kain has it."
The Panthers also have some other young talent that are possible FSU targets. 2014 DE prospect Blake McClain (6-3, 250), is also a solid basketball prospect. He shows great acceleration off the edge.
"I feel Blake's going to be the guy that everyone remembers this season. He has a great motor," added Mathews. Others to watch include 2015 athlete Jerrad Washington (5-foot-9, 165 pounds) blows you away more than anything with his quickness out in space.
Stop No. 4, May 4: Madison County and Taylor County
Madison County: Denson ready to visit FSU
It's been a whirlwind summer for Madison County (Fla.) offensive guard Ira Denson. Florida State, Tennessee, South Carolina, Western Kentucky and Florida International have all extended scholarship offers. Florida and Georgia are also close to pulling the trigger with an offer.
However, the 6-foot-4, 323-pound OL almost never got to this point.
"I remember Ira in his freshman year. He was a guy with clumsy feet. I told him this off-season, if you trust me and do everything I tell you, a scholarship will be earned," said Madison County head coach Mike Coe. "I noticed the light clicking on last year. He wasn't taking things seriously and messing around. I then took his jersey and said for him to go home. He realized from that moment what football means and ever since then it showed him responsibility.I think that situation embarrassed him."
Coe said his star lineman is one of the strongest players he's ever had and that includes former five-star DT Jacobbi McDaniel.
"I would have loved to see Jacobbi and Ira go at it because of their power," added Coe.
During his Friday interview, the powerful lineman raved about Florida State. It's been his dream school from the start. Even now, he admits it's hard for him to believe he has a scholarship offer.
"That offer was very big because I grew up watching FSU," said Denson. "I mean the offer was a dream come true. Now I just need to see what it's like when I visit and how comfortable I am there."
It appears Seminole Nation might not have to wait long for that visit. Denson plans to make the short trip back to FSU in a few weeks.
"I can't wait to visit FSU, so I can get to know the players," he said. "It's going to be a lot of fun seeing Coach Trickett and being around the campus."
More on Denson coming up soon.
Another Cowboy prospect the 'Noles are looking at is cornerback Shedrick Williams. Indications are that FSU may be close to extending an offer. Last week, assistant coach Odell Haggins dropped by and Mark Stoops is expected to make a visit to Boot Hill in the near future.
"Shedrick is a very dynamic punt returner and solid cornerback for us," explained Coe. "He has offers from Louisville, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State. As a punt returner, we have never had a guy like him. He also has very good instincts at corner - he had four or five interceptions last year. I believe he's going to be a steal for someone. As a tackler, he's a good one, not a great one, but he will stick his nose in there. He's a very instinctive and aggressive corner in how he can read plays with his speed."
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder will have plenty of choices when making a college choice. Early offers include South Carolina, Arkansas, Louisville, and Mississippi State with the Florida Gators very close. However, there's still one offer he's hoping to receive soon.
"FSU is my dream offer. That would be really big if I got that one because that's the one I've wanted ever since I was little," explained Williams. "I always like the way their cornerbacks play - being aggressive in reading the coverages.
"Also, Greg Reid is a lot like me - he's pretty strong in special teams with punt returns and cover skills. FSU would move way up there. It's an offer that would be hard to pass up."
Madison County head coach Mike Coe confirmed that Williams is also close to getting offered by Miami, who came by earlier this week. Alabama is also taking a hard look at at the talented defensive back.
Williams says he plans to make a decision before his high school season starts, so recruiting won't become a distraction on the football field.
Other prospects for Madison County include DE/LB Brandon Crawford, a 6-foot-3, 228 pound standout who holds an early offers from Wofford and Samford. Pittsburgh is also close to offering. Crawford's ability off the edge as a pass rusher is his biggest strength.
The 2014 class that is powered by DE Brice Hamilton, who is the cousin of former FSU great linebacker Geno Hayes and the nephew of former FSU fullback Mike Hamilton. Brice says FSU is the clear leader.
"Yes FSU stands out the most to me," he said. "That's the school I've always loved. As a defensive end, I know they are have produced a lot of top defensive players. I love it there."
Coe notes that his burst off the edge and top end speed makes Hamilton very tough to contain. He will need to continue to develop, play more physical and get stronger. Coe adds that the rising junior is coming along nicely.
"Brice is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and does have a chance to be one of the best we have had. He really has go-go gadget arms in that he can cover so much length with those arms in being very long," noted Coe. "Last year, he played with his hand in the dirt, but this year we are going to stand him up so he can use those long arms. He's a tremendous pass rusher, who has had a great off-season and spring so far."
The Cowboys will also have one of the best running back prospects for the 2014 recruiting class. Despite some height concerns, RB Deonshay Wells led the Cowboys in rushing last season. According to Coe, he is one of those players they have on offense with what he calls the "It" factor. He adds that Wells is a mixture of two former Madison stars - Desmond Gee with how he will attack between the tackles and current FSU RB Chris Thompson with his speed to the outside. Size is the only concern with Wells checking in at just 5-foot-7 t 5-foot-8, but as a game breaker he's a big weapon.
Another talented prospect to watch for 2014 is 6-foot-4, 205-pound outside linebacker in DeAndre Miller. He doesn't have quite the explosion Hamilton does at the end position, but still very quick and certainly a player to keep an eye on.
Taylor County: 2014 WR says FSU offer would shake things up big time
Taylor County (Perry, Fla.) 6-foot-3, 205 pound wide receiver Moral Stephens has four early offers to his name. The first major offer came on Thursday from the Miami Hurricanes. However, Stephens says there's one offer that would even trump the 'Canes.
"An FSU offer would really set it off for me. I mean I'm not going to commit because I I'm only a sophomore, so I would have to talk about that with my family. But it would be big because it's close to home," he said. "They have a great receivers' coach and they aren't afraid to play the big receivers as they have shown with Kelvin Benjamin. Not to mention, they were my favorite team growing up."
The rising junior wideout added a good 10-15 pounds from last year and getting stronger.
"Yeah I could really feel it when I ran my routes," Stephens said. "I felt lighter because I have built more strength and I feel comfortable going across the middle."
Stephens said that he's been a fan of the Seminoles since middle school. His father is a big fan as well. Last month, they got a chance to attend FSU's spring game. The younger Stephens says they will be making a return trip to Tallahassee in June for the Jimbo Fisher Camp.
"I just want to work more with Coach (Lawrence) Dawsey to see what areas I can improve. I'm going to try and camp at Miami and Vanderbilt as well if I can make it with the travelling."
In addition to Miami,Stephens holds offers from Louisville, Utah and Vanderbilt. In addition to FSU, he's also getting heavy interest from Iowa State, South Florida and South Carolina. FSU assistant coach DJ Eliot was planning on stopping by on Friday.
Stop No. 3, May 3: Tallahassee (Godby, Lincoln Florida High)
RB/DB rising senior Khalid Thomas is a 5-foot-11, 175 pound athlete who holds offers from Miami, Notre Dame, South Florida, Georgia Tech, Maryland and South Carolina. As a junior, he had 965 yards rushing, 461 receiving and 16 touchdowns. The three-star is the strongest 2013 prospect as a FSU target (DB position) and plans to camp at FSU this summer. Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops continues to take a look at Thomas I'm told.
For the 2014 class, the crown jewel is all-everything defensive back Deion Singleton, a 6-foot-2, 180 pound prospect who is being recruited at both corner and safety. I hear FSU likes him at both and is very high on the board. Singleton holds offers from South Carolina, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Tennessee. Kentucky and Miami are the most recent offers and that happened two days ago.
"Deion is very long with great range, but the thing that separates him from most players at his position would be that he has very good hands," said Godby head coach Ronnie Cottrell. "If he gets anywhere near the ball he's going to catch it."
At this time, Singleton does not hold an FSU offer. He says he doesn't have a favorite, but did say he watched Alabama growing up and attended the Alabama spring game. Could an FSU offer change things with his recruitment?
"I'm very interested in Florida State and I've been pretty impressed with their defense. It would be huge getting an offer from the Seminoles since they are in my hometown," said Singleton. "I know for sure I'll be camping there. I can't wait to work with Coach Stoops because he does a great job with defensive backs. That's impressed me a lot."
Last season, Singleton led the Cougars in interceptions with six. He also finished with 35 tackles, 10 pass breakups, 1 sack and one defensive touchdown.
Also on the radar for the 2014 class is 6-foot-2, 230 pound linebacker Kris Harris, who can play either outside backer or the Mike position. He will play outside for Godby. Harris had 30 tackles, four tackles for loss, and one sack.
"Mississippi State offered him today. He's also been offered by UMASS. Florida Atlantic, Florida International, South Florida, Maryland and FSU has expressed some interest about Kris," said Cottrell.
Also watch for Jefferson County transfer Jacob Pugh, a 6-foot-3, 205 pound outside linebacker that will also play tight end for the Cougars this year as a junior. Last year Pugh had 106 tackles, seven sacks and eight pass breakups.
The 2013 class is strong with the obvious names of WR/DB Taj Williams, WR Reggie Davis and Florida commitment DE/LB James Hearns. Out of those three, I get the impression that Hearns is solid with his decision. Teams out west continue to recruit him hard, like UCLA, California, Southern Cal. Hearns also mentioned that Louisville continues to stay in very close contact.
I've heard South Florida is the team that has made a strong move for Reggie, but it seems like he also likes Auburn a lot lately. Georgia and Florida are teams that are ones that both Taj and Reggie talk about. Auburn has been mentioned more for Taj lately.
Now the 2014 class has more FSU interest. Keep your eye out on junior CB Kendall Randolph, a 6-foot-175 pound corner that I got the strong impression every school in the South is all over. Randolph is also a 6'6 High jumper, one of the best in the state.
"South Carolina offered Kendall a week ago when they came through to visit here. I believe South Florida and Central Florida have offered as well," said Lincoln assistant coach Jacquez Greem "Kendall is a very versatile and coachable kid in how he picks everything up. He has very good closing speed, but his instincts make him very special."
The Trojans also have a kicker to watch - junior Brian Crews, who is the son of former Godby head coach Shelton Crews. Lincoln head coach Yusif Shakir raved about his leg strength and ability as a kicker. Another one to watch is junior outside linebacker Travis Hearns, the younger brother of James Hearns. Travis is a 6-foot, 210 pound outside linebacker. Then finally for the junior class the one player I've heard the most about much of the Lincoln practice was linebacker Jeffrey Williams, a 6-foot-1, 200 pound linebacker.
"Jeffrey is a very fast linebacker that plays with a lot of aggression and probably our best linebacker last year."
While that junior class is outstanding, Lincoln also has a strong group of sophomores to keep your eye on as possible targets for Florida State. Leading that talented group and maybe even one of the more talented players for Lincoln right now is 6-foot-4, 175 pound athlete John Burt, who plays quarterback and receiver. Green believes his future mostly will be at receiver, but Burt has also shined at quarterback.
"He's a game breaker anytime his hands touch the ball and very good out in space. He's a player you can use all over the field and not just on offense because of his leaping ability and how athletic he is," explained Green.
Other names to watch as possible FSU targets are Quentez Gallon, a 5-foot-11, 190 pounder, and yes that name should sound familiar to Seminole fans. He's also the younger brother of former FSU LB Rodney Gallon. The younger Gallon is described as being one of the faster linebackers on the roster for Lincoln and a strong producer for that young linebacker group. The Trojans also have noseguard Sam Branton, a 6-foot-4, 270 pound prospect. There is also DT Keyshawn Johnson a 6-foot-2, 250 pound lineman that Lincoln coaches are very high on.
The interesting thing about spring ball so far is FSU's staff hasn't dropped by yet according to Yusif Shakir, despite seeing both Florida High and Godby on Tuesday. I'll monitor this to see when FSU might be dropping by. I did confirm today that coaches from Maryland and Miami were here today at practice.
Florida High: FSU checks out Logan and Floyd
I'm told by Florida High head coach Jarrod Hickman that FSU assistant coach Mark Stoops stopped by on Tuesday to check out 2013 prospects LB Tevin Floyd and S prospect Austin Logan. I don't think they are high on the radar, but I did want to update their recruitments at this point in case FSU does start showing more interest.
According to Hickman, Logan has 14 offers so far. Utah, Duke, Northwestern and Louisville have all offered in the past week. Logan also holds offers from Purdue, Stanford, South Florida among others. "He's a great defensive back that can play either corner or safety," explained Hickman. "Some schools like him at both places, but he's a guy that will really come up and strike you. Probably the most physical guy as a defensive back that I've had."
The Florida High Seminoles also have a pretty talented outside linebacker in Tevin Floyd, who most schools want to see more of on the field or in a camp type setting. According to Hickman Samford and the Citadel have offered recently."
Now as far as future prospects, the Seminoles have some offensive weapons that a lot of schools will be drooling over down the line. WR Josh Davis, is arguably one of the fastest juniors around the Big Bend that should make a lot of noise. Davis is a 5-foot-165 pound prospect.
"Josh is a great one. He's a state qualifier in the triple jump and a 10.8 kid in the 100 so we are going to get the ball in his hands as much as possible," said Hickman. "He's a very dynamic weapon for our offense that's for sure. Maryland, Northwestern, Duke and FSU came by this week have shown some interest."
The Seminoles also have a talented playmaker at the other receiver position in Matt Donaldson, who is a big target at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. The interest level is really building, but most schools also want to see him in game mode before doing anything.
"He's a very good route runner, strong hands and certainly has the caught the eye of a lot of schools," said Hickman.
Stop No. 2, May 2: Panhandle (Marianna, Milton High, Gulf Breeze High, Pensacola Catholic High)
Today the Warchant spring recruiting tour spent a full day in the Panhandle. We dropped by four schools that included Marianna, Milton, Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Catholic.
Marianna: Bodkin trims down, Division I interest goes up
First was a quick stop at Marianna to check in with 2013 OL Ander Bodkin and new head coach Tim Cokley, who was the former head coach at North Florida Christian. Bodkin is a prospect to really keep your eye on. He is a kid that last season who was overweight, coming in at 320 pounds. However, he is now 6-foot-5 and 276 pounds. According to Cokley, Bodkin is one of the most athletic lineman he's had or coached.
"Ander's work ethic is very impressive. He also is one of the fastest kid I've coached by running a 5.0 flat in the 40," Cokely said. "I think the sky is the limit with what he can do. The best part with Anders is he's done everything we've asked of him to get his body in the right shape."
The weight loss and talent hasn't gone unnoticed by colleges. FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett dropped by Monday morning. Cokely said that South Carolina, FAU and Alabama also plan to stop by.
We spoke with Bodkin about FSU and he has a high opinion of Rick Trickett. He grew up a fan of the Seminoles. He's impressed with what he's seen out of the FSU line this spring when he attended a practice.
"Coach Trickett is a great guy and very detailed. The first thing he said to me is 'You look a lot different and very good' because of the weight loss and strength I added," said Bodkin. "He's about toughness and I like that style of coaching. I would say an offer from FSU would be very big because I'm from Tallahassee and grew up a fan of the team."
Bodkin has solid interest from FSU, Georgia and South Carolina early on. From what I can tell, if an FSU hands over an offer, a commitment would probably follow. Bodkin says he plans on visiting Alabama, FIU and Georgia. He will also attend FSU's summer camp.
The second stop of the day was in Milton (Fla.), where we caught up with three-star receiver Isaiah Jones, who is now up to 10 offers. He says his most recent offer was Clemson. Alabama was his most recent visit. He told us he had a good time on the Alabama trip and called the visit very "business like" when meeting all the players and coaches.
Jones also talked about his visit to Florida State. He said it was a tough decision to not pull the trigger on that visit and commit, saying he nearly did that a couple of times during the trip.
"I almost committed a few times when I was there because that's always been a dream of mine to play there. My main recruiter is Rick Trickett," said Jones, the No. 36 player at his position. "I love him. He's such a funny guy to be around with the way he tells it like it is. I really loved it there on my visit."
Jones says he doesn't know when he will return for a visit, but hopes to make it back for the summer. However, he doesn't have any camp plans at this time. He mentioned that if he did visit, it would be to just build a stronger bond with the players and coaches.
"I feel I can do a lot of things with my speed, but my hands and my route running are the areas I've made stronger since my junior season," noted Jones. "I think I can get even better, but that style fits the FSU offense well with how they spread the ball around."
When does Jones plan to make a decision?
"I feel like I'll be making my decision by the end of the summer," he said. "I want it to be done so I can focus on my senior season."
We also spoke with Milton head coach Chafan Marsh about his rising star.
"Isaiah can do it all. He's a good ball hawk at defensive back with how he closes on the ball. At receiver, he can turn a catch of 10 yards into a 60-yard touchdown reception because of how quick he is after the catch."
Marsh also revealed the first time he knew Jones was going to be a special athlete for him at Milton.
"I would say when I saw him in middle school. I mean even for his freshman year, Isaiah was 6-foot, 1, 180 pounds. So, he's always been a special talent with how he could change the game. He was a strong leaper and could change any play when he touched the ball."
There was no shortage of college coaches stopping by, including Rick Trickett. Marsh talked about that conversation and what Trickett likes about Jones.
"Georgia and FSU came by yesterday, Mississippi State, Miami and Alabama was here last week. Coach Trickett liked his long arms and he's the big receiver FSU always wants in their offense, so with that arm length he can create a lot of problems," said Marsh. "He also likes the fact that Isaiah is the type of kid that's a great receiver, but doesn't mind playing special teams as well."
The third stop of the day was at Gulf Breeze, where I got a chance to see OL Austin Droogsma in action despite rainy and wet conditions. I got a chance to talk to Droogsma and once again told me that FSU and Clemson are the top two schools. But he raved about Coach Trickett and even slipped up at one point that it's going to be fun playing for him and then said would be.
After seeing Droogsma again in action, he was much bigger than I last saw him. Austin says he's now up to 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds. He also said his relationship with Trickett is one that is very close and only gets stronger with every meeting. In fact, Trickett was there in person today.
"It's always great seeing Coach Trickett and having him watch my practices," Droogsma said. "I talked to him at least once a week and we spend a long time on the phone just catching up about things not even football. I know I'm probably going to camp at FSU again. I'll also camp at Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, and possibly Kentucky."
Also, keep your eye out for his teammate OL Alex Pagonis who has dramatically lost a good 25 pounds and I expect Trickett to keep a close eye on him. While he's a target that might not end up at FSU, he's one that has some interest.
I am also expecting Trickett to get six offensive linemen for this class.
Austin says he won't make a decision until near the end of the season.
- Warchant.com will have a full story on Droogsma coming soon.
Catholic: Delvin Purifoy, a new name to keep an eye on
"I've been hearing from FSU, Alabama, LSU and I have heard some from Florida. FSU though is my dream school. That's the place I've always wanted to attend since I was little," said the 2014 prospect. "They do a great job with their linebackers and when you look at all the players they have put in the NFL, it's a great place."
Purifoy said ever since he was six or seven years old, FSU is the one team he has watched on TV. The 6- foot-2, 228-pound explosive linebacker plans to attend FSU's camp this summer and is excited about working with FSU linebackers coach Greg Hudson.
"He's a very good linebackers coach. I want to see how he can make me better," he said. "I'm also looking forward to seeing the campus, meeting the players and coaches."
Warchant.com also got a chance to talk with Pensacola Catholic head coach Greg Siebert. He talked about Purifoy's skill level and what he brings to the table.
"He's a downhill player when he needs to be, but physical at the point of attack and also has very good lateral movement and speed," said Siebert. "Delvin can do it all when you talk about consistently making plays all over the field."
Siebert says his talented linebacker is more vocal on the field than he is in person. He's a big physical linebacker with good speed who runs in the 4.6 second range in the 40, which Siebert says is very good for a Mike linebacker. Although he is only a sophomore, schools have already started to flock to Pensacola to get a closer look at Purifoy.
"South Carolina, FSU and Alabama will be here next week to take a look at him. Bryant Young from Florida will also be here in the morning to get a look at him. I think overall Delvin will handle it well because he's a down to earth kid, but at first it will be an adjustment just getting to know the coaches. I do think once he knows where he's going, he probably won't wait a long time."
Stop No. 1, May 1: Columbia High (Lake City, Fla.)
This first stop on the Warchant.com spring/summer recruiting tour was at Columbia High (Lake City, Fla.). We checked in on 5-star OL Laremy Tunsil.
But the Tigers also have some other talent that includes 2013 QB Jayce Barber, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback who last season threw for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns in just 10 games. According to Barber it appears that the South Florida Bulls could get a new commitment soon if an offer is extended as expected.
"I would say South Florida is the school I have the biggest interest. Pittsburgh also came by my school yesterday, but the Bulls having been pushing hard," said Barber. "I'm supposed to talk with them tomorrow, so I think that might be the day an offer is extended. I've also visited there three or four times so I know the school well. I also plan on camping at FSU."
Barber said he won't wait long with his decision and it looks like if that South Florida offer is extended, excluding an offer by FSU, that will be the destination. Barber also said that Georgia Tech and South Carolina have also shown interest.
Tunsil very high on FSU, Trickett
During our chat with Laremy Tunsil, he revealed that he has a top six teams he's focused on.
"I have FSU, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma and LSU as my top six and I feel really solid with that group of schools," Tunsil said. "I really like FSU a lot. I'm very high on Coach Trickett from FSU because I know he's going to tell it to me straight."
Tunsil also gave his thoughts on some of those six finalists.
"I would say with the six teams they do a lot of the same things we do here with our playbook. With Oklahoma I like how they pull their tackles. With the four SEC schools, I like their success on the field, their weight rooms, and their playbook as well." Tunsil says with all the schools, he's focusing on academics. The 6-foot-5, 296-pound offensive tackle says he wants to major in sports medicine.
"I just like that major because I want to be around sports and that's something I've always been interested in," he said.
Tunsil revealed to Warchant.com that he's very high on FSU because of their need for tackles, but also his connection with FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett.
We also got a chance to see Tunsil in action on the practice fields, including his blocking. What stands out the most with the five-star tackle is that he has gained a good 15 pounds from what I can tell. But what's impressive is that he still hasn't lost a step with his lateral movement.
According to Lake City Columbia head coach Brian Allen, that's because of Tunsil's dedication to the weight room after his junior season.
"Anytime you have an elite talent like Laremy Tunsil, other young players are going to look at him as the leader and that goes for anything he does," said Allen. "He can't be late to weight room or meetings, it's his role as a leader, whether he wants that role or not it's there."
Coach Allen went on to say Tunsil has made tremendous strides in the weight room, a real weakness for Tunsil before the start of his junior season. Stay tuned for more later on Tunsil and is impression of Florida State.
Writers note: After talking with Laremy, a good part of the day, FSU appears to be in good shape with Tunsil based on his connection with Coach Trickett and Jernigan, as well as the need FSU has at offensive line. I believe Georgia is next, and then probably LSU but Tunsil didn't say a lot about Florida.
- Look for a full feature story and video interview on 5-star OT Laremy Tunsil on Warchant.com on Wednesday.
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