Recruits happy uncertainty is finally over
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
by Jason Lieser
If it has any effect at all, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden's retirement could make the Seminoles more attractive to potential signees.
Since FSU hired Jimbo Fisher in 2007, recruits have not known whether he or Bowden would be in charge by the time they arrived in Tallahassee. With Bowden stepping down Tuesday, the future seems solid to high school prospects.
"It'll take all the questions out of everybody's mind about who's going to be the coach," said Treasure Coast linebacker Jeff Luc, one of the nation's elite recruits who is considering FSU. "It's not going to affect me because Jimbo Fisher is a cool dude. I've spent a lot of time with him, and I like him."
Atlantic wide receiver James Louis, who has committed to Ohio State, had an FSU offer and considered the Seminoles as a possible destination, but said the uncertainty in the coaching staff made him uneasy. He ruled out FSU early in the process.
"I didn't know if the people who were recruiting me were going to be around when I got there," Louis said.
Pahokee defensive back Merrill Noel committed to FSU in June but switched to Wake Forest two months later. The coaching situation was among several reasons Noel dropped the Seminoles.
"They weren't sure what was going to go on," Noel said of the assistant coaches who recruited him. "Now it'll probably give them a better chance to keep the recruits they have because the recruits will know what to expect when they get there."
Two local wide receivers, Glades Central's Greg Dent and Pahokee's De'Joshua Johnson, committed to FSU this year and said the coaching change won't alter their plans.
Both players said Seminoles assistant coaches talked openly about the likelihood of Bowden leaving.
"They were telling me he wouldn't be there long, so I really based my decision on Jimbo Fisher," Johnson said. "They said I'd start with Bobby, but finish with Jimbo. I'm not really upset."
Several local prospects with FSU offers said Bowden was not involved in their recruitment anyway.
Dent has never spoken with Bowden, but said Fisher called him before Glades Central's playoff game against Plantation-American Heritage last week.
The Seminoles' incoming recruiting class is ranked No. 31 by Scout.com and No. 37 by Rivals.com and does not include any five-star players.
Just three of Rivals.com's top 60 players in the state, including Johnson, are committed to FSU. Florida has seven of the top 29 and Miami has pledges from four of the top 44.