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Recruiting Bonus: Florida State, Miami Again Closing With Impressive Flurries

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

By Dave Glenn and staff, ACCSports.com
February 2, 2004 In mid- and late January, Florida State and Miami made most of the biggest scores on the ACC recruiting trail, with college football's annual signing period (Feb. 4-April 1 this year) just a few days away. Here are the league's latest commitment capsules, led by the Seminoles' most recent additions, with most of the details provided directly by college coaches, high school coaches, the players or their families.

Sarasota (FL) Booker OL Dumaka Atkins, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, committed to Florida State over Southern Cal and Michigan (visit). He also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Central Florida, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Iowa, LSU, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi, UNC, NCSU, Ohio State, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee and Tulane. His older brother Baraka is a defensive end at Miami. A first-team Class 3A all-state selection as an offensive lineman, Dumaka graded out at 94 percent for a 13-1 team as a senior. As a junior, he graded out at 93 percent and earned honorable mention all-state honors. Booker graduates who were on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included DE Baraka Atkins (Miami), DB Abe Brown (Louisville), DB Johnnie Jones (USF) and PK Matt Leach (Florida). Atkins, a three-year starter who projects as a guard for FSU, benches 330 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds. He has a 3.0 GPA and an 1,110 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Seminoles is quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey.

Lafayette (LA) St. Thomas More OL Geoff Berniard, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Louisiana, selected Florida State (first to offer; last spring) over South Carolina (visit) and Tulane (visit). He also had offers from Arkansas, Duke, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Oregon, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. Childhood favorite LSU did not recruit Berniard, who earned first-team Class 4A all-state honors in 2002 and 2003. St. Thomas More, one of the top programs in Louisiana, had many of its graduates on Division I-A rosters in 2003, including RB Jason Bourque (Vanderbilt), RB Andre Broussard (Army), TE Doug Horaist (Army), PK Brennan Landry (Rice), DT Trey Landry (Army), OL Regan Tatford (Army) and LB Spencer Tatum (Ohio). The only player from Louisiana on FSU's roster last season was tight end Paul Irons, but the state previously sent LB Chris Cowart, RB Warrick Dunn, DB Sean Jackson, RB Travis Minor, WR Javon Walker and other NFL-caliber players to the Seminoles. Berniard benches 350 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.4 seconds. He has a 2.5 GPA and a 19 ACT score. His main recruiter with the Seminoles is offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden.

Bradenton (FL) Lakewood Ranch PK Gary Cismesia, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, picked Florida State over Georgia Tech (visit) after originally selecting the Yellow Jackets last August. He also had early offers from Connecticut and Indiana, while Auburn, Florida, Miami, Mississippi State, UNC and Notre Dame showed interest. The Seminoles now face the unusual situation of having three placekickers on scholarship in 2004: Cismesia, rising senior starter Xavier Beitia and Chase Goggans, a 2003 prep All-American who redshirted last fall. A third-team Class 5A all-state selection, Cismesia made nine of 11 field goal attempts as a senior, including kicks of 56, 52 and 51 yards, and his two misses were a blocked attempt and a 63-yarder. A first-team Class 4A all-state pick as a junior, he made 11 field goals, including kicks from 57, 53, 52 (a last-second game-winner in the playoffs), 50, 47 and 46 yards. Cismesia booted 87 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone over the past two seasons, and he punted for a 39-yard average. He also holds his school's season and career scoring records in soccer. He has a 3.4 GPA and a 1,040 SAT score.

Miami (FL) Edison OL Jacky Claude, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, picked Florida State over N.C. State (visit), Rutgers (visit) and South Florida (visit). He also had conditional offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Kansas, LSU, Miami, Ohio State and Virginia Tech, but most of those schools backed off for academic reasons. A three-year starter, Claude didn't give up any sacks over the last two seasons as a left tackle. He earned first-team Class 5A all-state honors for an 11-2 team as a senior, and he was a second-team selection as a junior. Edison graduates who were on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included OL Carlos Joseph (Miami), TE Manny Levell (ECU), RB Bo Moncur (Alabama-Birmingham) and DB Terrell Walden (Miami). The Miami products on FSU's 2003 team were senior LB Allen Augustin (Miami Senior), freshman DT Clifton Dickson (Northwestern), sophomore DE Willie Jones (Carol City), junior LB Ray Piquion (Miami Beach) and senior DB Stanford Samuels (Carol City). Claude benches 350 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. With a 2.4 GPA and a 13 ACT score, he must significantly improve his academic credentials to qualify. His main recruiter with the Seminoles is linebackers coach Kevin Steele.

Miami (FL) Northwestern DB Trevor Ford, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, chose Florida State over Indiana (visit), Kansas State (visit) and Miami (visit). He also had offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and South Florida. A third-team Class 6A all-state selection, he had 56 tackles, 12 pass breakups and five interceptions as a senior. As a junior, in his first year of varsity football, he had 48 tackles, 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. FSU defensive tackle Clifton Dickson is a good friend and former teammate of Ford, and close friend Derrick Baker is a sprinter on the FSU track team. Other Northwestern graduates who were on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included DB Dondre Asberry (Rutgers), DB Travarous Bain (Miami), OL Vernon Carey (Miami), LB Taurean Charles (Florida), OL Roland Clarke (USF), DE Dorrean James (USF), RB Vernand Morency (Oklahoma State), RB Clarence Pittman (Rutgers), WR Allynson Sheffield (USF), LB Tranaine Sills (Miami-Ohio), DB Sidney Simpson (USF), LB Jarrell Weaver (Miami) and DB Frank Wiwo (Miami-Ohio). Ford benches 240 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds, the 100 meters in 10.7 and the 200 meters in 21.6. He has a 2.5 GPA and a 930 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Seminoles is linebackers coach Kevin Steele.

Orlando (FL) Edgewater WR/DB Kenny Ingram, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, picked Florida State over Georgia (visit) and Miami (visit). He also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, NCSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern Cal and Wake Forest. His host during his official visit to Tallahassee was DE Willie Jones, who also is his cousin. A first-team Class 6A all-state selection as a utility player, Ingram had 55 tackles and four interceptions as a senior, with 27 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver. As a junior, he had 60 tackles and six interceptions as a safety for a 14-2 team but didn't play on offense. Edgewater graduates who were on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included TE Darrell Carpenter (Florida), DE Kingsley Clark (Marshall), DB Jamaal Jackson (Oregon State), DT Chris Scott (Oregon State), WR Mike Walker (UCF) and DB Troy Washington (UCF). Ingram, an excellent basketball prospect ranked among the top 200 seniors on the hardcourt by some services, will attempt to play both sports for the Seminoles. As a junior, he led his school to appearances in the state championship game in both sports, and as a senior he returned to the final (a third loss) in football. He benches 280 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.55 seconds. With a 2.7 GPA and an 810 SAT score, he must maintain his GPA/SAT combination to qualify. His lead recruiter with the Seminoles is defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins.

Orlando (FL) Edgewater DT Aaron Jones, rated one of the top 25 defensive linemen in the nation, opted for Florida State over Georgia (visit), Miami (visit) and N.C. State (visit). He also had offers from Auburn, Florida, LSU, Maryland, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and many others. His father, Aaron Jones Sr., was a first-round draft pick out of Eastern Kentucky and played nine seasons in the NFL. Along with his teammate Kenny Ingram (see above), Aaron Jr. is FSU's first commitment from Orlando since Chris Woods in 1998. A first-team Class 6A all-state selection, Jones had 78 tackles and six sacks as a senior. As a junior, while playing most of the season with a fractured wrist, he had 60 tackles and nine sacks for a 14-2 team. He benches 360 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.9 seconds. With a 2.7 GPA and an 800 SAT score, he must maintain his GPA/SAT combination to qualify. His lead recruiter with the Seminoles is defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins.

Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze QB Xavier Lee, rated one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the nation, chose Florida State over Auburn (visit), Ohio State (visit) and Texas (visit). He also had offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Louisville, Nebraska, UNC, NCSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee and many others. His half-brother, LB/DE Anthony Kelly, failed to qualify after signing with FSU in 2003 but plans to re-sign with the Seminoles in 2005 out of Jones County (MS) Junior College. Lee's position coach at Seabreeze was Thad Busby, a former starting QB at FSU. The holder of Florida's coveted Mr. Football title in 2003, Lee completed 198 of 364 passing attempts for 3,133 yards and 37 touchdowns (and seven interceptions) as a senior, while also running for 609 yards and 12 scores. He was the state's Class 3A player of the year as a senior and also as a junior, when he completed 188 of 304 passes for 3,077 yards and 33 TDs while rushing for 461 yards and 12 more scores. He finished his prep career as Florida's all-time leader in completions (544), attempts (993), passing yards (9,083), touchdown passes (98) and total TDs (127). Seabreeze graduates who were on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included DB Jeff Couch (BYU), WR Victor Glenn (Louisville), DB Kenny Scott (Georgia Tech) and OL Greg Taylor (Southern Miss). Lee benches 250 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.55 seconds. With a 2.5 GPA and an 18 ACT score, he must maintain his academic credentials to qualify.

Jacksonville (FL) Raines OL Cornelius Lewis, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, chose Florida State over UNC (visit). He also had offers from Auburn, Clemson, ECU, Iowa State, Louisville, Mississippi, South Florida, Syracuse and Tennessee. A third-team Class 3A all-state selection as a senior, he helped an offense that averaged more than 31 points per game on a 10-2 team. A third-team Class 4A all-state pick as a junior, Lewis is FSU's first signee from Raines since DE Derrick Alexander (who became an All-ACC and NFL player) in 1991, although the Seminoles had Jacksonville products OL John Frady (Bolles), OL Ron Lunford (White), DB Gerard Ross (Trinity Christian) and RB Leon Washington (Jackson) on their 2003 team. Raines graduates who were on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included DB Bobby Britton (Ohio State), DB Devron Francis (Northern Illinois), RB DeJuan Green (South Florida), DB Kevin Newsome (Navy) and WR Kevin Youngblood (Clemson). Lewis, who is projected as a guard for the Seminoles, benches 350 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.5 seconds. With a 2.5 GPA and an 18 ACT score, he must maintain his academic credentials to qualify.

Oakland (CA) Skyline WR Kenny O'Neal, rated one of the top 25 receivers in the nation, picked Florida State over Florida (visit), Georgia (visit) and Oregon (visit). He also had offers from LSU, Nebraska, South Carolina, Southern Cal and Washington State. His father, Kenny O'Neal Sr., played tight end for New Orleans in the NFL and lives in the Atlanta area. As a senior, O'Neal Jr. had 35 receptions for 853 yards and scored 16 touchdowns (12 receiving, two rushing, two returns) for an 8-2 team. He spent his first two and a half years of high school living with his grandparents and attending Savannah (GA) Benedictine, then moved to California to be with his mother. The Georgia Class 5A champ in the 100 meters (10.4 seconds) as a sophomore and the runner-up at the World University Games international competition as a junior, he runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds and benches 330 pounds. He has a 2.4 GPA and a 940 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Seminoles is offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden.

Pace (FL) High FB Joe Surratt, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Florida, chose Florida State over South Florida (visit) and Southern Miss (visit). He also had offers from Auburn, Central Florida and Clemson. A third-team Class 3A all-state selection, Surratt rushed 176 times for 958 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. As a junior, he rushed for more than 600 yards. His former teammate, TE D.J. Norris, signed with the Seminoles last year. The other Pace graduate on a Division I-A roster in 2003 was DB Seth Cumbie (Southern Miss). Surratt benches 380 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds. He has a 3.0 GPA and a 19 ACT score. His main recruiter with the Seminoles is defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.

Hurricanes Likely Class Of ACC

Miami is one of the true heavyweights of college football, and the Hurricanes also have been a superpower on the recruiting trail in recent years. Here are the program's final Associated Press rankings over the past six seasons (1998-2003): No. 20, No. 15,
No. 2, No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5. According to SuperPrep, here are the program's final rankings on the recruiting trail for the signing days that followed the first five of those campaigns:
No. 11, No. 7, No. 9, No. 2, No. 6.

This year, Miami is on its way to another top-10 class — and, possibly, the highest-ranked group in the post-expansion ACC.

Below are the Hurricanes' latest commitment capsules, with most of the details provided directly by college coaches, high school coaches, the players or their families.

Miami (FL) Northwestern LB Romeo Davis, rated one of the top 250 seniors in Florida, selected Miami over Indiana. He also had offers from Florida A&M, Florida International, Northern Illinois and Western Illinois. A second-team all-county selection, he had 70 tackles for a 12-1 team as a senior. As a junior, he had 86 tackles and two sacks despite missing five games with a separated shoulder. Three Northwestern graduates, freshman DB Travarous Bain, senior OL Vernon Carey and senior LB Jarrell Weaver, were on the Hurricanes' 2003 roster. Many more played for other Division I-A programs, including DB Dondre Asberry (Rutgers), LB Taurean Charles (Florida), OL Roland Clarke (USF), DT Clifton Dickson (FSU), DE Dorrean James (USF), RB Vernand Morency (Oklahoma State), RB Clarence Pittman (Rutgers), WR Allynson Sheffield (USF), LB Tranaine Sills (Miami-Ohio), DB Sidney Simpson (USF) and DB Frank Wiwo (Miami-Ohio). Also an accomplished wrestler, Davis competes at 189 pounds but said he expects to weigh about 215 by the time he reports to Miami in August. He runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds and said he has a qualifying GPA and an 880 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is defensive coordinator Randy Shannon.

Miami (FL) Washington DT Antonio Dixon, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, picked Miami over Florida (visit), FSU and Rutgers (visit). He also had offers from Georgia, Iowa State, LSU, Ohio State, South Florida and Tennessee. A first-team Class 4A all-state selection, he had 62 tackles and 10.5 sacks as a senior. As a junior, he had 44 tackles and eight sacks, earning third-team all-state honors. He benches 350 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. Washington graduates on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included LB Willie Demps (LSU), DB Yamari Dixon (Akron), DE MacKenzie Pierre (Florida) and LB Patrick St. Louis (USF). Dixon, who has been diagnosed as learning disabled, has a 2.6 GPA but still needs a qualifying ACT/SAT score. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is defensive coordinator Randy Shannon.

Millville (NJ) High DT/DE Dwayne Hendricks, rated one of the top 25 defensive linemen in the nation, chose Miami over Iowa (visit), Michigan (visit) and Virginia (visit). He also had offers from Boston College, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, UNC,
NCSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. His older brother Damian was an offensive lineman at Temple, where he was a two-year starter. A first-team all-state selection, Dwayne had 83 tackles (13 for loss) and 6.5 sacks for a 6-4 team as a senior. As a junior, he had 65 tackles (15 for loss) and three sacks for a 2-8 team. The only New Jersey products on Miami's 2003 roster were sophomore DE Thomas Carroll, freshman TE Greg Olsen (a Notre Dame transfer) and freshman OL John Rochford. Hendricks benches 300 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds. He has a 3.4 GPA and a 910 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is defensive line coach Greg Mark.

Orlando (FL) Oak Ridge DT Joe Joseph, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, picked Miami over Florida (visit), South Carolina (visit) and Tennessee. He also had offers from Central Florida, Connecticut, ECU, FSU, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State and South Florida. A first-team Class 5A selection, he had 68 tackles and six sacks as a senior. He had 92 tackles and four sacks as a junior, when he was a second-team Class 6A pick. A four-year starter, he benches 330 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. He has a 2.9 GPA and a 19 ACT score. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is running backs coach Don Soldinger.

Arlington (TX) Grace WR Lance Leggett, rated one of the top 25 receivers in the nation, chose Miami over Florida (visit), Oklahoma (visit), Purdue (visit) and Texas A&M (visit) after previously committing to the Gators. He also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Central Florida, Colorado, Duke, FSU, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Syracuse and TCU. As a senior, he had 934 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns for an 11-1 team that won the Class 4A private schools state championship. As a junior, he had 38 receptions for 869 yards and 12 TDs for an 11-2 state championship team. The Hurricanes had six Texas products on their 2003 roster: TE Kevin Everett, DB Marcus Maxey, DE John Square, OL Tony Tella, OL Eric Winston and DE Alton Wright. Before his family moved to Texas, Leggett played at Bartow (FL) High. He played wideout as a freshman but was suspended from the team as a sophomore for fighting. Also a track star, he consistently runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds. He has a 3.0 GPA and a 1,040 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is receivers coach Curtis Johnson.

Commitments Make Late Changes

High school seniors couldn't make their choices official until Feb. 4 at the earliest, and many ACC commitments changed their allegiances in the weeks leading up to national signing day.

Bradenton (FL) Lakewood Ranch PK Gary Cismesia (see page four), formerly a Georgia Tech commitment, switched to Florida State. … Columbia (SC) Spring Valley DE Anthony Davis (see last issue), formerly a Clemson commitment, jumped to Wake Forest. … Frisco (TX) High DB Chessly Johnson, formerly a Wake Forest commitment, decided to give up football and will accept a track scholarship at Arkansas. … Merritt Island (FL) High DE Mike Mangold, formerly a Virginia Tech commitment, switched to Florida after a mid-January visit to the Gators. … Greensburg (PA) Hempfield Area LB Mike Marvis, formerly a Maryland commitment, re-opened his recruitment after the Terrapins asked him to postpone his enrollment until January 2005. He said he's still considering the Terps, Clemson, South Carolina and others. … Charlotte (NC) Providence RB Andrew Pearman, formerly a Virginia commitment, re-opened his recruitment after UVa running backs coach Kevin Ross (his lead recruiter) left to work with his father Bobby Ross at Army. Pearman said he's still considering the Cavaliers, Army, Hawaii, South Carolina and others. … Boca Raton (FL) High OL Ryan Schmidt, formerly a North Carolina commitment, switched to Kansas State after a mid-January visit to the Wildcats. … Greenacres (FL) Leonard RB/DB Damian Sims, formerly a Virginia Tech commitment, jumped to Iowa after a mid-January visit to the Hawkeyes.

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