Spring recruiting stop No. 3: Jacksonville Sandalwood
JACKSONVILLE -- When Florida State football fans think of Jacksonville's Sandalwood High School, the first name on their minds, of course, is quarterback commit Jeffrey Sims.
But Sandalwood has much more talent on its roster in 2019, and no one knows that better than the Seminoles' coaches. Along with the commitment from Sims, FSU also recently received a pledge from defensive back Derek Bermudez. The 'Noles also are hot on the trail of massive offensive lineman Kobe Baynes and others in the Saints' program.
Earlier this week, we presented a feature and exclusive video interview with Sims. Today, we've got the rest from our trip to Sandalwood in the third stop of our Spring Recruiting Tour.
In case you missed them, here are our first installments from our Spring Tour:
Spring Tour Stop 1 -- Madison County, Fla. (Travis Jay, Zane Herring, more)
Spring Tour Stop 2 -- Orange Park, Fla. Oakleaf (Chantz Williams, Jalen Rivers)
OL Baynes receives coveted FSU offer
Sandalwood offensive guard Kobe Baynes never hid the fact that he wanted a Florida State offer. Not that the Seminoles have come through with one -- they actually made it a few weeks ago -- Baynes has some serious decisions to make.
The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder said getting an offer from the Seminoles is a game-changer.
"I just think going in, that was one of the offers I wanted and needed to earn," Baynes said. "I actually was really excited that FSU offered me. It was kind of an out-of-body experience that FSU offered me. It definitely puts them on a plane that not a lot of schools can get on."
It also doesn't hurt that two of his closest friends on the Sandalwood team -- Sims and Bermudez -- are already FSU commits.
"Derek is one of my closest friends on the team," Baynes said of Bermudez. "Me and him talk about it every day. Then Jeff, we grew up down the street from each other. So it's definitely now I have to go see FSU again."
The massive guard got a chance to see FSU early in the spring and came away impressed. Even though he didn't yet have an offer, Baynes said he liked what he saw from the Seminoles' program and first-year OL coach Randy Clements..
"I liked how the guys were working very early, even though the season just ended for them," the three-star lineman said. "He (Clements) is a good coach. I haven't met him face-to-face yet, but I have talked with him multiple times on the phone. He's an inviting guy, but the one thing is you are going to have to work. And with my personality, I come to work. I come from a place where I wasn't given anything and have to work for everything."
While his recruiting process is just now heating up, Baynes said he's very focused on using this spring to help Sandalwood become a better team and to also improve his individual skills.
"The number one thing I wanted to improve on was my speed, get more explosion in my pull, and I want to become someone you fear when I'm pulling," Baynes said.
Saying he feels comfortable playing guard or center, Baynes confirmed that FSU and his other suitors all are projecting him as an interior lineman. The 'Noles specifically like him at guard, he said.
Baynes plans to visit FSU soon and said that Sims has been recruiting him hard to Tallahassee. According to, Baynes, Florida State, South Carolina and Virginia Tech are the main schools on his mind right now.
"I really want to make my decision at the end of the summer," he said.
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