January 12, 2007

FSU gearing up for finish

Every year at this time, Florida State has made it a tradition to make a strong recruiting push in the last weeks of January to make a run at the top spot in the country. This year is expected to be no different, but if the 'Noles are going to be near the top, they need to start this weekend. Friday kicks off a big-time recruiting weekend for the Seminoles with seven official visits including one from five-star safety Chad Jones.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jones is the highest-ranked player set to visit Tallahassee this weekend. The Baton Rouge (La.) Southern Lab prospect is taking his second official visit of the season after a trip last month to Southern Cal.

Certainly Bobby Bowden and company will be selling the fact that they have hired offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher from LSU. While Jones is a defensive player at the next level, he has known Fisher since his freshman year in high school and that comfort level will help the 'Noles. A good visit to Tallahassee could vault FSU closer to LSU, the clear favorite for his services.

Joining Jones on campus are three offensive line commitments Antwane Greenlee, Rishaw Johnson and Zach Hillery. Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military's Hillery is already committed to Florida State, but Greenlee and Johnson are Georgia and Ole Miss commits respectively.

The 6-foot-6, 302-pound Greenlee was planning to make the trip with good friend and temporary Seminole commitment Chris Little, but Florida State recently pulled his offer citing the fact he didn't fit Rick Tricket's offensive scheme. Little is instead now heading to Notre Dame. Florida State was in very good position for the Columbus, Ga. lineman before they pulled Little's offer, but that fact may hurt their position significantly with Greenlee. There's no question the coaches are going to try to smooth over the situation in hopes of staying in good standing with Greenlee.

Meanwhile, Hammond, La. offensive guard Rishaw Johnson appears to hold FSU in very high regard. Like Jones, expect him to get a lot of face time with new coordinator Jimbo Fisher. The visit this weekend could be enough to make the three-star prospect finally switch his commitment from Ole Miss to Florida State.

The last official visitor set to be in Tallahassee this weekend is Sterlington, La. wide receiver Ahmad Paige. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder appears to be pulling further and further away from his soft pledge to the Seminoles particularly with visits to Florida and Southern Cal coming up. It is believed that the Gators may have an edge since he'll be heading to Gainesville next week with his family. Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher wiil undoubtedly pull out all the stops in an attempt to keep Paige from switching his pledge.

Besides players with scholarship offers, Florida State is hosting a couple of other interesting prospects. Defensive end Antoine Carter might not stay the whole time due to the Dade-Broward game on Sunday, but his interest level is high in FSU as it is with Auburn. A Florida State offer could make things interesting.

Rome (Ga.) Darlington Prep kicker Shawn Powell is also planning to be in attendance. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder is a possible greyshirt candidate. FSU needs a young foot with a senior kicker and a junior punter on their roster but they didn't want to have to offer one this year with few scholarships. The hope will be to get Powell on campus as a preferred walk-on.

With Jones on campus, you can bet super freshman Myron Rolle will be working hard to give FSU the best 1-2 defensive back punch in the ACC. However, the offensive linemen are more key to the 'Noles. The offensive line has been a huge hole for FSU to fill for a few years now and they haven't been able to do it. This weekend could be a good start if they can get a couple of de-commits to go their way.

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