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FSU History 101: Ronnie Cottrell-Architect of the FSU Dynasty

Here is the excellent story of how FSU's dynasty was built, and of the unheralded, unappreciated, and often forgotten FSU staffer who played a huge role in the making of our dynasty. The name may not mean much to the newest generation of Seminoles, but FSU fans who witnessed the glory years know exactly who he is and what he meant to their program. He didn't just keep in constant contact with players, he became part of their lives. Upon learning how much prospects disliked the usual coachspeak, Cottrell took to filling out detailed reports on each, with personal information that allowed him to have conversations way outside football. "If his girlfriend was Monica, I knew that. If Monica became Jane or Beth, I knew that too," Cottrell said. "My deal was I wanted to be so close to that kid that it would be nearly impossible for him to tell me no." In 1989, Cottrell's first year on the FSU staff, the Seminoles signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. Of the 24 signed, 20 were from in-state and half were members of The Sentinel's Super Seniors selected to play in the annual Florida-Georgia All-Star Game. The Seminoles got Abraham in 1990. They also got William Floyd, Marvin Jones, Lonnie Johnson, Tiger McMillon, Kez McCorvey, James Roberson and Chris Weinke, a haul that again rated near the top of the nation's classes. In 1991, Cottrell saw how the bevy of state recruits gravitated toward Pensacola Washington linebacker Derrick Brooks, the USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year. "I always felt there was a bell cow for every class," Cottrell said. "Identify him, build around him." Among the '91 prospects were Lake Howell running back Marquette Smith, the USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year, along with Derrick Alexander, Devin Bush and Greg Frey. Cottrell challenged them all to make a statement and sign together, urging Brooks to be the ringleader to make it happen. "Ronnie had a unique way of going after guys as a unit," Brooks recalled. "It was like he was recruiting a team rather than individuals." The Brooks-headlined class, another No. 1, formed the core of Bowden's first national title squad in '93. By then, FSU was a runaway train on the recruiting tracks. Please click on this link to read the full story by the Sentinel's Chris Harry, Coach-in-exile Ronnie Cottrell was an architect of Florida State's dynasty

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