Posted: 2:01 pm Thursday, March 6th, 2014

South Georgia is recruiting “priority” for national champs, FSU 

By Michael Carvell

FSU has had lot of recruiting success in South Georgia over the years (AP)

FSU has had lot of recruiting success in South Georgia over the years (AP)

No out-of-state school has recruited South Georgia better over the last decade than Florida State.

It’s one of the reasons that Florida State has remained in the upper echelon of college football, and it directly contributed to this year’s successful run for a national championship.

Former Lowndes High School linebacker Telvin Smith led FSU in tackles last season, while former Wayne County High School offensive lineman Tre Jackson turned down the NFL to start for the Seminoles next year for the third season in a row. Colquitt County’s Cameron Erving was named 2013 ACC Offensive Lineman of the Year.

“I think it’s very close,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told the AJC on Thursday, referring to South Georgia.

“It has been a priority for us. It has been for me. I go all the way to Atlanta. I consider Atlanta like going to Florida because it’s only four hours away. It is the same distance from us as Orlando is. There’s a tremendous amount of people there, and it’s easy access with the airport and also driving.

“We’re all over South Georgia because I think it’s some of the best football in the country, along with Florida and other parts of the South. But I think it’s a great area. The kids are very well-coached. We spend a lot of time there, and we spend a lot of time with evaluations in South Georgia. So Georgia is an extremely important area to us.

Since 2002, Florida State has signed 33 kids from the state, including 18 from South Georgia. The Seminoles have two 2015 commits from Georgia and guess which part of the state they are from? It’s Lowndes linebacker Brian Bell and Coffee High School offensive lineman Cole Minshew.

Here’s more from the Q&A with FSU’s Jimbo Fisher:

It’s tough to measure the impact of the national championship on your 2014 class because most of your signees were already committed by the game. But how would you describe the tangible impact of the title on 2015 recruits? “I think it has been very good. We’ve been received very well, but we’ve always been received well. But I think it brings a lot more attention to our program. It has definitely helped, there’s no doubt about that.”

One recruiting analysts said that you had more early offers out last year than this year because, in theory, more kids want to go there because you’re national champs and you have to be more selective. “We’re about exactly the same (with early offers). We’ve very similar to where we were last year in our philosophy. We think there seems to be a greater nucleus (of prospects) really close to home, so we don’t have to venture as far (to find them). Sometimes when you do that, you don’t have as many offers because you’re with more local kids. We’re still going to go with the national brand name, but we’re always going to recruit Florida and Georgia inside and out before we expand out. And look into south Alabama and inside the Carolinas a little bit. I think there are some really good prospects close to us. We don’t ever rank trying offer more guys or less (compared to other years). We just offer guys who we feel comfortable about that we want to play here.”

So what about the theory of being more selective because more kid want to go to FSU now?“I am sure that is going to happen. We’ve felt that to a point but not an unbelievable point. We’re going about things like we always do.”

How much do you think FSU winning the national championship impacted the ACC’s overall recruiting efforts? Because it seemed to show some of Georgia’s elite prospects that you didn’t have to sign with an SEC school to win it all. “Oh, there’s no doubt. Here’s the funny thing: Look at the number out of the top 18 schools that sent guys to the NFL combine. There were six SEC teams and five ACC teams, along with Notre Dame, which is now an ACC school. So you have six SEC and six ACC teams. So the number of players you are producing has been just as good. We are, by far, the No. 2 league in the country, and we’re not that far behind the SEC. So once you sell those numbers and you do win the national championship, I think it definitely helps with the ACC’s recruiting, no doubt.”

UGA's Jeremy Pruitt (AJC)

UGA’s Jeremy Pruitt (AJC)

You changed defensive coordinators just before signing day, which is always scary in recruiting. How did Jeremy Pruitt leaving for UGA affect your 2014 class? “None. I don’t mean that in disrespect. Kids don’t come here … they understand that program and the system we run isn’t going to change. The organization we run isn’t going to change. I don’t mean that in any bad way. I think Jeremy did a tremendous job for us. He’s a great coach. He’s a great recruiter. He’s one of the best in the business. But at the same time, we have a great organization and a great staff, too. People saw what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. From a continuity standpoint, you wish you didn’t have to do that. But it didn’t affect us really.”

Since he worked for you last season, what can UGA fans expect from Jeremy Pruitt? “He’s an excellent coach. He will do a great job recruiting for them. I’m sure they’ll play a great defense. Jeremy is a very good football coach, and a good guy.”

Pruitt’s replacement as FSU’s defensive coordinator was Charles Kelly, the former Georgia Tech assistant who is well-known and well-respected in Atlanta for his recruiting efforts. With Kelly being in such a high-profile position with you now, will that make you recruit Atlanta even more aggressively? “He’s always had Atlanta, and he’ll keep Atlanta. Atlanta is a base area for us. It’s one of the main areas for us. We’ll attack it the same way we always have. Charles has always been recruiting for us up there. We’ll keep the same amount of emphasis we’ve always had.”

2013 Heisman winner (AP)

2013 Heisman winner (AP)

Do you think Jameis Winston will repeat as Heisman winner?  “I don’t even think about that. He’s just got to improve as a player, and the guys around him have to improve, and our team (has to) play well.  If the Heisman comes in there, then it comes in there. If we play well and do the things we’re supposed to do, and he plays at a level that he’s capable of playing, I’m sure he will be back in that conversation again. No. 1, he has to play well, and No. 2, our team has to play well. If we hit our goal as organization, then he’ll definitely have a shot to do that.”

Jameis is the most famous player in college football, and you gave him permission to play college baseball this spring. There are always a few elite recruits every year that want to play two sports but some college football coaches seem reluctant. Why do you seem to support this so strongly, and do you think future recruits notice this? “They do notice it. And we’ve got some other guys in track. I have no problem with that (two sports). I think it’s great. I think it’s good for kids to diversify, create, and learn how to compete in different ways and in different formats. We’re always good for it, and we’ve always had good success (with multi-sport athletes) at Florida State.”

What was your reaction to FSU quarterback Jacob Coker picking Alabama for his transfer? “If that’s what Jacob wants, I’m very happy for him. Jacob is a tremendous guy, and I think he will be a great player. I think he has a tremendous future. I think he has a future at the next level possibly, I really do. I think he’s a big-time player. Jacob did a tremendous job for us, and I’m very happy for him. I hope that everything works out.”

FSU’s sales pitch to Georgia’s top prospects for 2015? “I mean, we’re playing as good of football as any in America. In the four years that I’ve been here, we’re graduating over 88-percent of our players. We’re winning as much as anybody. We’re putting guys in the NFL. We’re graduating players, we have good people, we’re putting guys out in the league, it’s a tremendous place to live, it’s a great environment, and it’s a very good school for academics. I think it’s one of the most unique places in college football for those reasons, along with the great tradition that we have.”

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59 comments
Andy123
Andy123

Look at all the animosity against FSU from the fair-weather fans of the school that hasn't won a NC in decades.  UGA can't even win the sorry bowl games it finds itself in year after year.  Good luck competing for a national title with Richt and BooBoo.  At least UGA is a good at gymnastics. 

lingding
lingding

also, LMAO @ UGA fans trying to brag about academics..... UGA is nothing special in the academic department either.... when was the last time UGA  had a rhodes scholar?.... FSU had myron rolle bitches.... 

lingding
lingding

there are a lot of butthurt uga fans here.... NOLES>>>>UGA any day of the week

HotDawg
HotDawg

Sure sounds like he has a grudge against Pruitt.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Jimbo Fisher - "I consider Atlanta like going to Florida.....it is the same distance from us as Orlando is". ????

Does he realize he is IN Florida? Is the first letter in FSU not a big enough hint?

Not much between his ears!

Don't try to defend him by saying he meant U of Florida. Otherwise he would have said same distance as Gainesville (which it is not).

And FSU has been recruiting GA since Bowden was first hired there. It is not a "priority" all of a sudden.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

There is a lot of good football players in Georgia no doubt. If not for Georgia auburn would be Miss State in orange and blue. Nick will cherry pick but Bama doesn't depend on Georgia players as does FAU. Hope Pruitt will plug that leak of great recruits going to lee county but instead he might just get the few players Nick and Kirby wanted for Bama. Expect the unexpected.

Mulk
Mulk

So, FSU signs, on the average, 3 recruits a year out of Georgia? They have a lot of good ball players at FSU. They must be coming from some other talent rich state. Do they play high school football in other states than Georgia? Sounds like heresy to me.

SLR
SLR

" We're graduating 88% of our players ". You've got to be a moron if you can't graduate from FSU. The academics there are a known joke. Its just like UGA & Auburn---Where do you go if you can't get in Georgia?--Auburn    Where do you go if you can't get in Florida?---FSU

Charlestondog
Charlestondog

Whiznot:  I agree with you.  When Dooley was head coach, South Georgia was a priority for recruiting.  Since Richt became HC, he and his coaches do not spend enough time in South Georgia.



FarTrain
FarTrain

That's really weird because I read another article earlier today that not enough GA baseball players are recruited by FSU.  I found that interesting so checked and sure enough there's only 3 players on the roster(total of 53) from all of GA.  The same South GA high schools that have excellent football programs also have great baseball programs, Colquitt Co for example.  Makes one scratch his head doesn't it?  BTW,  2 of those current 3 players on FSU from GA are twins, freshmen, from Holy Trinity Episcopal HS in Atlanta. Both listed at 6-7 205 (Yep, that's how I knew they were twins, LOL).  Both pitchers, last name Voyles,  so will be interesting to see how they turn out.  Sounds like the FSU baseball coach, still Martin I think, is just ignoring Georgia, especially his backyard of South GA.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Cole Minshew and Bell are two Super players.  Great picks kids, I'm looking forward  to watching you play at FSU.

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

looks to me like there just trying to get back at us for taking there prized coordinator. jimbo needs to get over it he chose us over fsu.   it seems pretty pathetic to me but thats life at the top.

atlantaismycity
atlantaismycity

Funny you didn't name the 2013 ACC Offensive Lineman of the year Cameron Erving.  He is from Moultrie!!!

FireSomebody
FireSomebody

Put down the crack pipe, Jimbo.  The ACC is a 2-trick pony.  Sell your school, because your conference is a joke.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

FSU made a great decision NOT to come to the SEC and instead selected the Easy Button of the ACC. Heck with Miami and VT down and out other than Clemson it's easy most every week. Maybe Notre Dame will challenge them at some point and the Gators will get better.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Animosity?? We couldn't care less about FSU. Sounds like you're the one with the animosity, for some unknown reason.

UGA and FSU has the same, common enemy in UF.

FSU took the easy road and joined the ACC, when it had opportunity to join SEC. So, not many head to head battles between us.

Could it be you're still sore about UGA kicking FSU's tail in last football meeting?

HotDawg
HotDawg

Lingding- UGA Rhodes Scholars- 2013 was last time. 4 in last 6 years.

We definitely know by your comment, you are not a Rhodes Scholar.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Mulk I think some of them are from Florida.

I think

JamieWard
JamieWard

@SLR You MAY wanna do a little research there Homer....Florida State ranks MUCH higher than uga. Sorry. --;;-->>

JamieWard
JamieWard

@MoistDawg LOL..seriously??  screwitt pruitt HAD to leave town...his sexual meanderings were becoming increasingly more wide spread... ( no pun ). The FSU players and staff were complaining about him for months...

Mulk
Mulk

@MoistDawg  Prized? Jimbo was asked a direct question and he answered it directly - "none". Appears he is already over it.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@MoistDawg No doubt in my mind that Moist knows exactly what its like at the top.

Mulk
Mulk

@FireSomebody  When you win the NC, you don't have to sell your conference as much as the alsorans in the SEC like to do.

KitchenCalling
KitchenCalling

@FireSomebody Ohio State and UGA with losses to Clemson and TAMU that was taken to the mat by Duke would disagree.  Oh, and uf that suffered their worse loss last season to FSU.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie  

I, too, wish the Noles were in the SEC, but your implication that the NC came easy to them because of their conference is BS. They spotted the very best the SEC had to offer 18 pts--and still came back to win when the game was on the line. 

And don't come with that tired old line about the rigors of the SEC schedule; Auburn had 5 weeks to rest up from its mighty SEC slate, and still couldn't stifle FSU in the second half--with an 18-pt lead, no less.

The Noles' schedule, shamefully soft last season, undergoes a significant upgrade this year, so repeating as NC will be challenging, to say the least. If they can pull it off, they certainly will have earned it--just like they did following the '13 season.

JamieWard
JamieWard

@HotDawg FSU courted the sec for years....to no avail. So..when FSU was at the very pinnacle of the game..dominating the 90's...all of a sudden..roles were reversed...the sec was doing the courting...all verifiable facts..and the sour grapes have never ceased from sec fans ...   ( lol@ conference homerism in any regard..)


While I would welcome the opportunity to compete in the sec...I'm also glad that the 1991 administration decided to go with the ACC. Remember..the sec hasn't always been the best conference for football...I simply like it (sec) because Florida State is dead in the middle of sec country..and looks in every way..like an sec school.


It's of no matter these days..because uf would NEVER vote us in..they were fighting it in '91 as well. I have never met an FSU fan who didn't want FSU in the sec....but the pompousness regarding that conference..is not attractive.


As far as the last meeting..yeah...the year after he left FSU and Richt brought your dead program up from the ashes of mediocrity...we played...and ya think..maybe...you had the advantage of him knowing not only every offensive play FSU would call..but also the tendencies of then DC Mickey Andrews..whom he coached against every day in practice..for YEARS??


Either way..  GO >>--;;--SEMINOLES--;;-->>


THE ACC and NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!!! ;)

Oh...GASUCAWA....uf.

DewayneDixon
DewayneDixon

Weak response! SEC was 2-1 in bowl games with FSU barely getting by a very lucky Auburn team! Clemson could have easily lose to UGA but luck was on their side that day! Duke choked against Texas A&M! The Gayturds just sucked so that doesn't mean much for the FSU win! Good try though!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

No dayum way does/did FSU want to play an SEC schedule week after week! Miss State would have won the side Duke won in 2013.

Mulk
Mulk

@gtcaryd @Mulk @FireSomebody  A lot of the UGAG folks on here like to talk conferences a lot more than they do individual achievements.

JamieWard
JamieWard

@DewayneDixon Ahh.it's LUCK when FSU wins... but uga was NOT lucky with CU...I get it. Typical Bsec biasness. lol  FSU IS..the National Champion Douc he.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DewayneDixon  

"SEC was 2-1 in bowl games"??? Hello?

So not only are you a whiner, but a liar as well.

There's your weak response.

JamieWard
JamieWard

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie And STILL would've lost to FSU...like every other member you have. Our record against the mighty Bsec..is pretty damned good.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie  

Spare me the BS about FSU not being able to compete in the SEC, because BS is all that is--as clearly demonstrated in the NC game. Remember, that well-rested Auburn team was the SEC's very best. Wish it could've been your boys, but y'all had your shot and blew it big time.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

when you play good phyiscal teams week after week that is a problem...not the time off before the NC game. Hell Bama had 12 players at the NFL combine and only about 5 could even workout due to injury. Spare me the BS about the ACC because BS is all it is at this time. (week after week).

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Yes it was! The only deal was Bama didn't win the 3rd and all this chatter would never seen the light of day. A couple of missed FG's and we're back to hating only Bama for the 3 peat.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie  

Totally irrelevant in the NC game, when Auburn had plenty of time (5 weeks) to "recover" from its "brutal" SEC schedule.

JamieWard
JamieWard

@DewayneDixon Dewd..you have ZERO credibility. Your constant sec chest pounding is repetitive..and non factual...boring, and tiresome.