February 1, 2012

Notebook: Out of state prospects fill FSU class

Traditionally a Florida State football signing class is made up of a majority of Floridans-but that isn't the case for Jimbo Fisher's 2012 class.

Of the 18 letters of intent Fisher has received, just six were faxed from within the Sunshine State and the lone one he is waiting on (Five-star quarterback Jameis Winston will be coming from Alabama.

It marks the smallest group of Florida signees (33.3 percent) in school history. The previous low was the 2000 class, which had just nine of 24 signed from Florida (37.5 percent).

"We always recruit inside-out, but a lot of (this class) aren't outside the five hour radius," Fisher said. "Most kids are within five or six hours. Now we had a few to come out of that radius, when we think guys can have an impact and believe in what you do, but we're around such good football. The way we're located, I mean, we want the state of Florida, but right here in Georgia, just because no one has ever went to Alabama, don't mean you can't go to Alabama."

Including Winston, FSU signed three prospects from Alabama, two from the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, two from Texas, and others from North Carolina, New Jersey, and Georgia.

The class includes three five-stars from outside the state and six four-stars from beyond the Florida border. Fisher said that the Seminole logo is one that is recognized all over the county, especially up and down the east coast.

"The Florida State name is a national name," he said. "You can go to California, you can go to D.C, you can go to Maryland and bring a kid in and they love the atmosphere, they love the environment. And a lot of those kids when you go on up that D.C. coast or ACC coast, Florida State is a big deal. Those kids grew up Florida State fans, know what I mean? Because Florida State is a team that I recognize and you're able to recruit to it, you're able to recruit to the brand."

The brand is also becoming an internationally recognized brand. After a breakout sophomore season from German-born defensive end Bjoern Werner, FSU dipped back into international waters twice in its 2012 class.

Junior College offensive lineman Daniel Glauser (New Mexico Military Institute) and Menelik Watson (Saddleback College, California), like Werner are European born.

Glauser, who enrolled in January, was born in Rheinfelden, Switzerland and Watson was born in Manchester, England.

"You have a lot of folks (in Europe) that are over there learning football, getting in football, a lot of big bodied people that are athletic," Fisher said. "A lot of those guys, being soccer players at early ages, those big guys are developing athletically…it's opened up a whole new avenue of finding recruits."

Speed demons

There's fast.

Then there is the type of speed that Florida State inked on signing day.

Both four-star receiver Marvin Bracy and four-star cornerback Ronald Darby are not just football stars, but also track and field standouts as well. Fisher said without a doubt Bracy is the fastest player he's ever recruited.

"You're talking about a guy who is the fastest in the 55 meters in the world, is probably going to break every sprint record in high school history," Fisher said of the 5-foot-9, 170-pound wideout. "Hopefully he'll be a great athlete for us on the football field, which I think he will."

Bracy made waves last summer when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials last summer in Oregon with a 10.05 100m, meaning he will compete for a spot on this summer's 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

FSU track & field head coach Bob Braman makes no bone about, saying Bracy will have a chance to be one of the greatest FSU sprinters of all-time.

"The fastest ever, going all the way back to Mike Roberson," Braman said. "He will be the fastest statistical athlete, and if not for the .2 (mph) on the wind at the USA's (last summer) he is-just by a margin of breeze-the national high school record holder. He's very, very special."

As for Darby, the six-time Maryland state champion excels in the 200m. His most impressive international performance came in July at the 2011 IAAF World Youth games in Lille, France.

Darby finished fourth in the 100m (10.61) and earned a bronze medal in the 200m (21.08) as well as anchoring the Sprint Medley Relay team to gold medal and a meet record time of 1:49.47. His personal best in the 200m is 21.05 seconds.

The combination of adding both Darby and Bracy in 2013 has Braman feeling pretty good about his program's future.

"If you look at just statistics and what these guys have done on the track, it's really like getting Walter Dix and Charles Clark in one year," Braman said. "You're getting two the best guys that we've ever gotten and they're football players, which obviously makes our team unbelievably strong."

Bracy and Darby both signed football scholarships and the gridiron will be there first priority, but Fisher said the prestige of Braman's track program certainly helped lure them to Tallahassee.

"It does help when you have the baseball programs, the football programs, the track programs and all the different things when you have two sport athletes," Fisher said. "I don't have a problem with two-sport athletes, I think it's great, I hate the way we're doing it with our kids anyway. They're all specializing way too early anyway, I like the duel sport guys. But having a track program like ours really helped."

Fowler flips

They say you can't have it all.

That proved to be true for FSU on signing day as longtime commit and five-star defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. flipped to in-stat rival Florida.

With all four of the depth chart's top four defensive ends returning, along with the additions of five-star Mario Edwards Jr. and four-star Chris Casher, Fowler Jr. just felt like Gainesville was a better destination for him.

"Dante unfortunately, the depth chart bothered him, and that's the issues you have," Fisher said. "But he's gonna be a great player, he's a great young man. We wish him the best. You have to make decisions for yourself and you gotta live with them and hopefully that's the one he wanted to make."

Fowler Jr. did not inform the FSU coaching staff of his flip prior to signing with UF.

His father Dante Fowler Sr. let it be known that he still supports his son, but wanted him to stick with his original pledge.

"He made his own decision about this," Fowler Sr. told Warchant.com. "I was hurt about it. I still am FSU. I respect Dante's choice, I love my son and I support him 100%. I still love the Noles."


  • Fisher said he expects everyone in the class to qualify except for defensive tackle Dalvon Stucky who will head to Mississippi Pearl River C.C.

  • Fisher also confirmed that kicker Robert Aguayo will grayshirt and not arrive on campus until January of 2013.

  • Jameis Winston did not sign his letter of intent on Wednesday as he participated in the International Bowl in Austin, Texas. Winston will sign on either Friday or Monday, but told ESPNU "I'm a Nole," during a TV interview during the day.

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