FSUncecsored recently wrote an excellent story about Greg Reid which alluded to FSU regaining the fertile grounds of South Georgia as a recruiting stronghold. South Georgia is known for having talented football especially with schools like Thomas County Central High School (Thomasville), Lowndes (Valdosta), and Valdosta High. Some great players have come out of this area, and just to name one, a Nole favorite Charlie Ward is from Thomasville. But regaining South Georgia as a recruiting base is something that is very important for FSU. In the last couple of years we have signed Debrale Smiley and Anthony (Amp) McCloud from Thomasville, as well as Greg Reid and Gerald Demps from Lowndes High School. On top of that a top OL prospect for this recruiting cycle is already committed from Lowndes in Ed Christian, and FSU is recruiting his teammate Telvin Smith very hard to come play LB for us.
This leads me to a subject that I would like to discuss further which is “pipelines” or at least “regional power” as I will refer to it. When FSU was great they gathered up every legitimate prospect in the North Florida/South Georgia area, and cherry picked a lot of recruits from the Broward/Dade area. We got away from that a bit and began to recruit nationwide, and left some more local kids we could have had on the table. A pipeline is when a specific power high school begins to send recruit after recruit to the same college. FSU has long been a pipeline for Lincoln High in Tallahassee with the likes of Antonio Cromartie, Pat Watkins, Crophonso Thorpe, and yes Fred Rouse. Regional power is a little different. The high school football world is not that small, and a college can have power in a certain region because of its reputation amongst coaches, much like FSU had in its heyday with South FL.
With that said, I would like to look at where our 2010 recruits are from, pipelines that FSU is working on, and regions that are important.
Having already discussed the Lowndes connection and importance of South Georgia, as well as the Tallahassee area (which I assume is a given) I will look at other areas.
Byrnes High School (Duncan, South Carolina): Byrnes is a National power house school that puts out players who go to Division 1 schools every year. Two years ago FSU landed Everette Dawkins from Byrnes, and last year a trend started to occur as FSU signed Safety Justin Bright. This year FSU is recruiting three players heavily from Byrnes.
Corey Miller, WDE: A true pass rusher and FSU certainly needs to do well in Defensive Line help. He is a good FSU lean at this point.
Brandon Willis, SDE: Most believe he will move inside to 3 technique DT. He is a great player, and is in my top 5 “must have” recruits in this class. He is also an FSU lean, not sure if it as strong.
Marcus Lattimore, RB: One of the most talented players in the nation, and a RB who fits Jimbo/Trickett’s philosophy well. FSU looks ok from what I have read, but I think it is still really far up in the air. He likes USCe, Auburn (although that has apparently cooled), and he is close to Clemson, also reportedly interested in Penn State. He is #1 or #1A on Jimbo’s board alongside LaMarcus Joyner.
Miami Central High (Miami, FL): Miami Central isn’t known as a pipeline by any means, but it is in a part of the state that FSU needs to be able to flex its recruiting muscle. They also have a trio of players FSU is recruiting.
Brandon Gainer, RB: Besides Lattimore he is the #1 RB on FSU’s board right now, and he should be. There is a large contingent of FSU fans who feel that he is not as good as hyped, but I am not one of them; he is big and strong and runs hard. This season will show people that he is worth every accolade he is given. FSU is definitely driving the bus with him.
Jeff Godfrey, QB: He has good film and a very live arm. I honestly do not know if he wants to come to FSU, but I am almost 100% sure that we will take him if he does, which others have questioned.
Joshua Reese, WR: He is a clear third in the race amongst the team’s stars but he can play. Honestly I think the only way we take him is if Gainer and Godfrey commit and we do it as a favor. WR looks like a position of strength for FSU right now with DJJ, Shaw, and Green. On top of that Haggins may play WR if he comes here, although I think he is a safety.
Pahokee High (Pahokee, FL): Always laden with talent they have a number of players that will go D1 this year, and establishing a presence here would be great. Antone Smith and Anquan Boldin are Alumni.
Chris Dunkley, WR: Transferred to Pahokee from Royal Palm Beach, and is an explosive playmaker. He is a UF lean, but that recruit list is getting awfully full, UGA may be second in line but FSU may not be dead.
Merrill Noel, CB: I love this kid, a lot more than the consensus of other FSU fans. He is undersized but he moves up and hits well. He is good in coverage as well, should not let this become another Alphonso Smith situation in my opinion (because Wake Forest looks good right now).
Richard Ash, DT: Going to UF, I never really wanted him. Workout warrior.
Other Miami Recruits:
Eduardo Clements (Booker T. Washington) RB: I am not as high on him as others are. He is a good player for sure, but there are a number of backs I like more than him. Reportedly interested in UGA and FSU.
Corey Lemoiner (Hialeah) DL: Excellent player, probably top 10 in the state. UM lean, but if anybody can flip him it is probably FSU, he will make a trip to see campus. Would be a huge get, but I am not optimistic.
Calvin Smith (Hialeah) DL: ESPN 150 Watch/ Rivals 4 Star kid. I have not seen him play, but FSU may be in good position with him, plan on watching film on him soon, I may update this after looking at some film. Lots of people I talk to like him.
Without rehashing what we all know, FSU is recruiting 2 kids from Saint Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale. Keion Payne, DB, who I am not very high on and don’t expect in the class. As well as LaMarcus Joyner, a super elite DB, who is in the top 5 most needed kids with Brandon Willis.
Tampa, Land of Athletes: The Tampa Bay area is an area that FSU needs to become stronger in, and can help lead to more dominance. The West Coast gets underrated.
Terrence Mitchell (Hillsborough High) CB: I think the world of this kid, he is an excellent prospect and should be #2 on the CB board behind Joyner. With our need at this position he should move up the overall board to me. FSU lean I think.
Christian Green (Tampa Catholic) ATH/WR: An absolute playmaker, so much so that his high school coach wants to get the ball in his hands every play so he is QB in high school. Thought to be a WR in college. I’d be surprised if he is not in the 2010 class.
Jeremy Deering (Leto) ATH: I think he is severely underrated by Rivals and the 3 star is kind of a joke. He is an excellent athlete and can play WR/DB/ RB. I want him in this class, and we may have a shot. I’m not sure who his leader is.
Obviously there are other regions that are important and prospects can sprout up from any number of areas. However talent tends to concentrate and better coaches tend to do so as well. I have shown some schools that are hopefully becoming pipelines as well as some regions that FSU needs to become heavily involved in for future success. I think the new regime sees the same trends and has already started to think this way. Hopefully schools like Byrnes, Lowndes, and Pahokee will filter kids our way, while our coaches have regional power in Miami, North Florida and Tampa.