By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
December 2, 2002 The bad news for Florida State is that the Seminoles, in the midst of back-to-back seasons with four or more losses for the first time in Bobby Bowden's 27-year career in Tallahassee, at least temporarily have lost their place as the nation's glamour program in the eyes of high school football players. FSU clearly has fallen behind Miami and a handful of other national powers in that regard. The good news for the Seminoles is that, nevertheless, they remain involved with more prep and juco All-Americans than any other school in the ACC.
In addition to many of the elite ACC area prospects listed in the accompanying chart, the following prep and juco All-Americans listed FSU among their six favorites entering December: Mesquite (TX) North DB Tarell Brown, New Orleans (LA) Walker WR Craig Davis, Jackson (MS) Callaway OL Donovan Davis, Reserve (LA) East St. John DE Vegas Franklin, Brentwood (TN) High OL Steven Jones, Duncanville (TX) High DT Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, Ventura (CA) St. Bonaventure WR Whitney Lewis, Cartaret (NJ) High OL Dan Mazan, Tulsa (OK) Washington WR Robert Meachem, Denton (TX) Ryan DE Jarvis Moss, Wayne Hills (NJ) High TE Greg Olsen, San Francisco (CA) City College DB Chijioke Onyenegecha, Reserve (LA) East St. John LB Kirston Pittman, State College (PA) Area TE Jonathan Stupar and Princeton (NJ) Hun OL Jeff Zuttah.
Brown said his top four consists of FSU (Nov. 30 official visit), Ohio State (Sept. 27), Texas and Texas A&M (Nov. 9). Craig Davis said LSU (Dec. 6) and Miami (Jan. 24) lead Auburn, Clemson, Florida and FSU. Donovan Davis said his top six consists of Auburn (Dec. 20), FSU, Georgia (Dec. 13), Georgia Tech (Jan. 10), Mississippi State (Jan. 17) and Tennessee (Dec. 6). Franklin said Miami (Jan. 24) leads FSU (Jan. 10), LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee (Jan. 17). Jones, who plans to enroll at his school of choice in January, said FSU (Nov. 30), USC (Dec. 6) and Tennessee lead Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, UNC and Notre Dame.
Lawson-Kennedy said he's still considering Arkansas, Florida, FSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. Lewis, a former prep teammate of FSU tailback Lorenzo Booker, said his top five consists of FSU (Jan. 24), Miami, Nebraska, Southern Cal (Jan. 10) and Tennessee. Mazan said his top six consists of Boston College, FSU, Maryland, Nebraska (Jan. 17), Ohio State and Penn State (Dec. 13). Meachem said he's still considering Alabama, Florida, FSU, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Moss said he will choose from among Florida (Jan. 10), FSU (Jan. 24), Miami (Jan. 17), Oklahoma and Texas (Dec. 13).
Olsen said his top six consists of FSU, Miami (Dec. 20), Michigan (Jan. 10), Notre Dame (Dec. 6), Syracuse and Tennessee (Dec. 13). Onyenegecha said FSU (Nov. 30) and Oklahoma (Oct. 18) lead Arizona State, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State. Pittman said his top six consists of FSU (Jan. 10), LSU, Miami (Jan. 24), Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas. Stupar said his top six consists of Arizona State (Sept. 27), FSU (Oct. 25), Iowa (Oct. 4), NCSU, UCLA and Virginia (Sept. 6). Zuttah, who plans to enroll at his school of choice in January, said he'll choose from among Boston College (Nov. 30), FSU (Nov. 16), Michigan (Dec. 13), Notre Dame (Dec. 6) and Penn State (Nov. 23).
Prospects Select Area Programs
Jamestown (NC) Ragsdale WR Emmanuel Byers, rated one of the top 25 seniors in North Carolina, committed to Virginia over Tennessee (no offer) and Wake Forest. He also had offers from Clemson, ECU, Marshall and NCSU. A four-year starter, he had 35 catches for 495 yards this fall for an 11-1 team. As a junior on a 13-1 team, he had 52 receptions for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns as a receiver, and 42 tackles and seven interceptions as a cornerback. A Shrine Bowl selection, he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and has a 32-inch vertical leap. He has a 2.7 GPA but needs to improve his score on the SAT.
Montclair (NJ) High WR Derrick Harper, rated one of the top 25 wideouts in the nation, picked South Carolina over Boston College, Maryland and Pittsburgh. He also had offers from Georgia Tech, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, UNC, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Wisconsin. As a junior, he had 35 receptions for 815 yards and 10 TDs for an 11-1 team. He has family members living in the Palmetto State, including some in Manning and Columbia. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds and benches 225 pounds. He has a 2.5 GPA and a 1,010 SAT score.
Charlottesville (VA) High DT Chris Johnson, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Virginia, selected Virginia over interest from Clemson, Maryland, NCSU, Stanford, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. His father, Eric, attended Virginia, and the UVa campus is five minutes from the family home. Chris runs the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds and benches 360 pounds. He had more than 140 tackles and 26 sacks over the last two seasons. He has a 3.4 GPA and a 1,200 SAT score.
Green Cove Springs (FL) Clay OL Luke Lathan, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Florida, chose N.C. State over Georgia Tech, Maryland, USC and Wake Forest. Auburn, Florida, FSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Wisconsin also showed interest. He runs the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds and benches 360 pounds. He has a 3.6 GPA and a 990 SAT score.
Fayetteville (NC) Smith WR Delon Lowe, rated one of the top 50 seniors in North Carolina, chose Wake Forest over interest from Appalachian State, ECU, ETSU and Richmond. A three-year starter, he had 46 receptions for 776 yards and eight TDs as a senior. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. His teammate, DT Demarcus Tyler, remains a primary target of the Deacs, UNC, NCSU and many others. Lowe is on track to meet minimum NCAA eligibility standards.
Lilburn (GA) Parkview OL Brandon Pilgrim, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Georgia, picked Clemson over long-time favorite Georgia (no offer). He also had offers from Arkansas, Central Florida, Duke, MTSU, Northwestern, South Florida, Tulane and Virginia. Two of his fellow offensive linemen at Parkview also are Division I-A prospects; Zeb McKinzey committed to Georgia, while David Overmyer remains a target of the Tigers, South Carolina, FSU and many others. Pilgrim, whose primary Clemson recruiter was offensive line coach Ron West, runs the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds and benches 330 pounds. He's on track to qualify academically.
Wheeling (WV) Park TE Nick Stefanow, rated one of the top 10 seniors in West Virginia, selected Duke over Ohio and Purdue. Marshall, Northwestern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, UVa and West Virginia also showed interest. As a senior, he had 35 catches and five TDs on offense, and 65 tackles and six sacks on defense. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds and benches 330 pounds. He has a 4.0 GPA and a 1,280 SAT score.
Youngstown (OH) Boardman OL Kevin Tuminello, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Ohio, opted for Georgia Tech over Vanderbilt. He also had offers from Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent, Miami-Ohio and Toledo. A four-year starter and 2002 team captain, he is projected to play center for the Yellow Jackets. His brother Chris was Toledo's starting center this fall as a senior. Kevin, who runs the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds, was recruited by Tech defensive coordinator and Ohio native Jon Tenuta. He has a 3.7 GPA and a 19 ACT score.
Columbus (GA) Shaw LB Phillip Wheeler, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Georgia, picked Georgia Tech over interest from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Indiana and Mississippi State. As a senior, he has 86 tackles (23 for loss) and 10 sacks for a team that's 10-1 and still alive in the state playoffs. Although he's listed as a 2001 all-state selection in numerous media reports, he wasn't on the official all-state team (not even honorable mention) last year. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds and benches 315 pounds. He has a 3.0 GPA and scored 960 on the SAT.
Talented Targets Head Elsewhere
Fork Union (VA) Military DB Delton Ashburn committed to Louisville over Bowling Green, Hampton, James Madison, Kent State, Ohio and Richmond. NCSU and Virginia also showed interest. ... Bethlehem (PA) Catholic QB Adam Bednarik, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Pennsylvania, picked West Virginia over interest from Iowa, Penn State, Virginia and Wisconsin. A distant cousin of two-way NFL legend Chuck Bednarik, Adam is coached by Dan Kendra, Sr., a former West Virginia quarterback. ... McCalla (AL) McAdory WR Matt Caddell, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Alabama, picked Alabama over Auburn. He also had offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, USC and Vanderbilt. ... Clearwater (FL) Central Catholic DE Nick Capogna, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Florida, chose South Florida.
Buford (GA) High OL Trey Chandler, rated one of the top 25 offensive linemen in the nation, chose Georgia over FSU and USC. He also had offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech and many others. ... Covington (KY) Holmes DB Brandent Englemon, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Kentucky, chose Kentucky over interest from Cincinnati, Louisville, Marshall, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. ... Altamonte Springs (FL) Lake Brantley LB Josh Ferguson, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Florida, chose Purdue over Central Florida. Louisville, USC, Vanderbilt and West Virginia also showed interest. ... Sarasota (FL) Riverview DB Trae Gomes, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Florida, picked Central Florida over interest from Army, Navy, Northwestern, Syracuse and Wake Forest. ... Columbus (GA) Spencer LB Brad Horton, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Georgia, chose Mississippi State over Florida, Indiana and MTSU.
Bowdon (GA) High OL Nick Jones, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Georgia, picked Georgia over Auburn and Clemson. ... Dublin (OH) Coffman LB Adam Kadela, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Ohio, picked Northwestern over Duke, Indiana, Louisville and Vanderbilt. ... Lackawanna (PA) Junior College TE David Kenner opted for Florida over Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Maryland. ... Oviedo (FL) High LB/DE Howard Lingard, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, opted for Florida over Central Florida, South Florida and West Virginia. He played the last two seasons at Deltona (FL) Pine Ridge. ... Orange Park (FL) High OL Austin Matthews, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, chose Northwestern over Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. He also had offers from Duke, Purdue, Southern Miss and West Virginia.
Coffeyville (KS) Community College DE Tony McClain chose Auburn over Arkansas, Indiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and TCU. ... Bushnell (FL) South Sumter LB Ben Moffitt, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Florida, selected South Florida. ... Palm Beach Gardens (FL) High P Brian Monroe, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, picked Miami over Boston College and Ohio State. Florida and FSU also showed interest. ... Killen (AL) Brooks WR Will Roach, rated one of the top 25 wideouts in the nation, opted for Alabama over LSU, Mississippi, USC and Tennessee. He also had offers from Auburn, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. ... Shreveport (LA) Evangel WR Tristen Ross, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Louisiana, picked Oklahoma over Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and Texas Tech. He also had offers from Baylor, Clemson and Tulane.
East Cleveland (OH) Shaw LB Reggie Smith, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Ohio, picked Ohio State over Maryland and Virginia. He also had offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Iowa, Michigan State, UNC, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wisconsin. ... Cherry Hill (NJ) Camden Catholic WR Byron Williams, rated one of the top 50 seniors in New Jersey, opted for Purdue over Central Florida, ECU, Iowa, Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. ... Highland Springs (VA) High DB Larry Williams, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Virginia, chose West Virginia over conditional offers from UNC, NCSU, Ohio and Tennessee. He must improve his academic credentials to qualify. ... Rockmart (GA) High DB Roger Williams, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Georgia, picked Kentucky over Marshall and Tulane.
Dave Glenn, the editor and football recruiting analyst for the ACC Area Sports Journal, has been covering football recruiting and the ACC since 1987.
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