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Florida State

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

Sims May Play Hand Into Early Starting Role

TALLAHASSEE — Throughout his recruitment of Ernie Sims III, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden never could get a feel for the way the local North Florida Christian two-way star was leaning. “He played his hand beautifully,” Bowden said, after Sims signed with the Seminoles. “He'd be a great poker player.” Many believe the nation's top-rated prospect will be an instant contributor and future star for the Seminoles at linebacker. “When you watch Ernie play, you recognize he has the tools to be a running back and to be a very good one at that,” FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. “And then you see him play defense, and you see a youngster who has a chance to be a great defensive player. He's got outstanding speed and great tackling ability. He understands leverage and angles to the ball. He's physical and smart.” In short, Sims was the most coveted recruit in FSU's 19-man signing class, a player recruiting coordinator John Lilly — and the rest of the nation — had been tracking since his freshman season at NFC. The career numbers for the 6-0, 220-pound son of a former FSU fullback and six-time All-American track star are staggering, from his 10.5 100-meter dash time to the 333 tackles (56 for loss) and more than 2,000 rushing yards over his final two seasons. Swayed late in the process by new FSU linebackers coach Kevin Steele, Sims won't just shore up depth problems on the outside. He may even make a run at the strong-side starting position if incumbent Michael Boulware gets his wish and is moved to free safety. That scenario would be fitting, since Sims is FSU's most highly touted linebacker prospect since Marvin Jones, who was the last true freshman to start at linebacker for the Seminoles.

Who Got Away?

Long the undisputed king of the recruiting trail, Florida State has lost just a bit of its luster in the aftermath of mediocre (by FSU standards) results on the field and some well-publicized problems off it. In particular, in-state rivals Florida and Miami at least temporarily have jumped over the Seminoles in the eyes of many recruits. The following prospects had a scholarship offer from FSU but signed with one of the other Sunshine State powers: Pompano Beach (FL) Ely OL Andrew Bain (Miami), Hollywood (FL) Chaminade LB Jonathan Beason (Miami), Tampa (FL) Jefferson WR Andre Caldwell (Florida), Melbourne (FL) Palm Bay RB Joe Cohen (Florida), St. Augustine (FL) High DB Willie Cooper (Miami), Bushnell (FL) South Sumter LB Earl Everett (Florida), Reserve (LA) East St. John DE Vegas Franklin (Miami), Charlotte (NC) Independence QB Chris Leak (Florida), Oviedo (FL) High DE Howard Lingard (Florida), Punta Gorda (FL) Charlotte QB Justin Midgett (Florida), Miami (FL) Carol City DE Eric Moncur (Miami), Denton (TX) Ryan DE Jarvis Moss (Florida), Melbourne (FL) Palm Bay DB Reggie Nelson (Florida), Jacksonville (FL) Mandarin DT Marcus Thomas (Florida), Jacksonville (FL) White DB Dee Webb (Florida), Pompano Beach (FL) Ely OL Cyrim Wimbs (Miami) and Danville (CA) Monte Vista QB Kyle Wright (Miami). Here's a list of some of the other prospects who had a scholarship offer from FSU but signed elsewhere: Alpharetta (GA) Milton WR Sean Bailey (Georgia), Miami (FL) Norland WR Dwayne Bowe (LSU), Long Beach (CA) Poly OL Kevin Brown (UCLA), Mesquite (TX) North DB Tarell Brown (Texas), Jacksonville (FL) Jackson OL Tripp Carroll (Virginia Tech), Buford (GA) High OL Trey Chandler (Georgia), Opelika (AL) High LB Montavian Collier (Auburn), Washington (GA) Wilkes DE Richard Cook (Georgia), Tallahassee (FL) Lincoln DB Ryan Gilliam (Oregon), Huntington Beach (CA) Edison QB Tommy Grady (Oklahoma), Albany (GA) Dougherty LB Dana Graydon (Georgia), Jacksonville (FL) First Coast WR Anthony Hill (LSU), Brentwood (TN) High OL Steven Jones (Tennessee), Ventura (CA) St. Bonaventure WR Whitney Lewis (Southern Cal), Altamonte Springs (FL) Lake Brantley OL Jordy Lipsey (UVa), Sarasota (FL) High DT Donnell Livingston (UNC), Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military DT Shane Lucas (NCSU), Carteret (NJ) High TE Dan Mazan (Penn State), Lilburn (GA) Parkview OL Zeb McKinzey (Georgia), LaGrange (GA) High QB Blake Mitchell (USC), Kennesaw (GA) Harrison DB Paul Oliver (Georgia), Reserve (LA) East St. John LB Kirston Pittman (LSU), Mobile (AL) Williamson QB JaMarcus Russell (LSU), Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze DB Kenny Scott (Georgia Tech), State College (PA) High TE Jonathan Stupar (UVa) and Princeton (NJ) Hun OL Jeff Zuttah (Michigan). Compiled by Dave Glenn

2003 Florida State Football Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Stars High School/Junior College Comment
Chris Anderson* DT 6-3 295 3/4 Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military Re-signed prep A-A from Jacksonville (FL) Mandarin (?)
Alex Boston DE 6-1 220 3/4 Bartow (FL) High RV-9 DE; SP-41 DL; may play baseball; over ECU, Md.
Chris Bradwell DT 6-5 265 4/4 Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military Re-sign; 1st-team 5A at Alpharetta (GA) Chattahoochee
Antonio Cromartie* DB 6-3 190 5/4 Tallahassee (FL) Lincoln Parade A-A; USA Today def. POY; over Fla., Miami (?)
Chauncey Davis^* DE 6-2 260 5/4 Jones County (MS) JC Re-signed A-A from Auburndale (FL) High; RV-11 JC
Clifton Dickson DT 6-4 285 3/3 Miami (FL) Northwestern SP-31 FL; 2nd-team 6A; over Fla., Miami, NCSU, OSU
DeCody Fagg WR 6-3 185 4/4 Quincy (FL) Shanks RV-15 WR; SP-43 FL; 1st-team 2A; over Fla., Ga. (?)
Andre Fluellen DT 6-4 270 3/3 Cartersville (GA) High SP-20 GA; 1st-team 3A; over Aub., Fla., Md., Vandy (!)
John Frady* OL 6-4 275 4/4 Jacksonville (FL) Bolles RV-8 OG; SP-11 OL; 1st-team 2A; over Fla., Miami (!)
Chase Goggans^* PK 5-10 170 4/3 Douglas (GA) Coffee RV-1 PK; MX-2 PK; SP-35 GA; July 2002 decision (!)
Andraus Grace-C OL/DT 6-2 305 2/3 Fort Meade (FL) High SP-36 FL; 1st-team 1A; Alabama switch; unsigned (?)
Mario Henderson OL 6-7 330 3/3 Lehigh Acres (FL) High 2nd-team 4A; sat 2001/transfer; over Clem., NCSU (?)
Anthony Kelly LB 6-3 230 2/3 Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze 1st-team 3A; missed jr. year (ACL); over ECU, Syr. (?)
Jhermaine McAroy DB 6-1 170 3/3 Pensacola (FL) High 3rd-team 4A; cover CB; over Clem., USC, Troy St. (?)
Aubrey McPhadden* OL 6-5 316 3/4 Jacksonville (FL) First Coast RV-7 OT; TL-10 OT; 2nd-team 4A; over Fla., NCSU (?)
D.J. Norris TE 6-3 240 3/3 Pace (FL) High SP-39 FL; 1st-team 3A; Florida switch; over LSU, Tenn.
David Overmyer OL 6-3 270 3/3 Lilburn (GA) Parkview SP-13 GA; 1st-team 5A; over Ark., Clem., Miss., USC
Joslin Shaw WR/DB 5-10 175 2/3 Plant City (FL) High 3rd-team 5A; track star (4.4); over Clem., ISU, WF (?)
Ernie Sims* LB 6-0 220 5/5 Tallahassee (FL) N. Florida Christian SP-1 ATH; RV-1 ILB; 1st-team 1A; over Aub., Fla., Ga.

*-All-American (top 250 by two/more services)
(!)-strong academics
(?)-unconfirmed academics
MX-Max Emfinger
TL-Tom Lemming
STARS: By Insiders/Rivals