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June 12, 2013
Spring evaluations are over. Now it is time for Florida State's staff to turn the focus to the first session of the Jimbo Fisher Football Camp, where many of FSU's top prospects will be participating. The camp starts Wednesday afternoon and runs through Friday. Here are some storylines to watch this week.
It doesn't matter what time of year it is, most times the toughest part of recruiting is keeping a commitment, not gaining one. The Florida State Seminoles are in that situation with a few commitments, mainly at wide receiver. At this camp session, the 'Noles will get a chance to firm up those decisions by answering any concerns of C.J. Worton, JoJo Robinson and Markell Pack.
Worton is adamant that he is still a Florida State commitment and just taking the visits for fun. He removed the word 'committed' from his Twitter profile in recent weeks. This weekend will be pivotal for him as well - both sides will get a feel where the other stands. FSU has other targets on the board, so his performance could have an impact.
Robinson is a little more firm with his commitment to Florida State (than Worton) despite making the comment that national signing day could be suspenseful in a Canesport (Miami Rivals.com affiliate) article earlier this year. Don't look for that to happen with Florida State. It will be quite clear if Robinson wants to stay with the 'Noles. That answer could happen during or shortly fter this camp session. The comfort is there, but being in FSU's offense in a camp setting will be very big, considering Robinson has never camped at FSU.
There has also been decommitment talk from Markell Pack. He looked to be a solid commitment until the Mississippi native took a couple of visits to Ole Miss. Earlier this week, Pack told Warchant.com he had fun at Ole Miss, but felt FSU is the place for him and that's where his heart is. It's a very important for FSU to show Pack how he fits into the offense, meshes with the coaching staff and spends a lot of time with some of the players. Helping the cause is FSU is quarterback signnee J.J. Cosentino who will be at Florida State this weekend. This could really lock things up for the 'Noles if all goes well. Pack told Warchant.com shortly after his commitment, "I talk to J.J. He's got a cannon on him. It should be a great combination once we get together and start working."
The most exciting part of the camp is waiting to hear a commitment announcement. It's a trend that happens each year at one of the camp sessions. You have to believe with all the talent coming to either participate or observe that at least one will be on the verge of a decision.
One of the biggest names and probably the best chance to commit is Tampa Bay Tech (Tampa, Fla.) cornerback Tajee Fullwood. Why? He's always wanted to play at Florida State (it was his dream school), he mentioned he would like to make an early decision and his skill set is the exactly what Jeremy Pruitt looks for in his cornerbacks. Pruitt likes fast, athletic, versatile, tall and rangy corners. Fullwood meets those criteria perfectly.
Another player to watch this week is University Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) offensive lineman Josh Allen, who has always had high interest in the 'Noles. He even camped at Florida State a year ago and we hear he has already built an early bond with offensive line coach Rick Trickett. Allen would like to make an early decision and with the FSU needs at offensive line, he certainly is high on the list.
Finishing off the offensive line also keep an eye out for Frank Ragnow. The bottom line is if you are coming all the way from Minnesota to camp at FSU, it's a strong gauge of the FSU interest. We are told that Ragnow wants to get a decision done before the season starts and he talks with Rick Trickett the most. The only drawback coming into the visit is how comfortable Ragnow will feel on the FSU campus and how the workouts go with Trickett. If both get high marks, look out.
One more name to add is Adam Torres, an offensive tackle/defensive tackle. If Torres makes a big impression, he's certainly a guy you have to put on watch because he's indicated for a while FSU is extremely high on his list.
Rounding out the offense, tight end Mavin Saunders is one to watch. He has always had the 'Noles high on his list and even put them as his early leader before landing an offer. Saunders really likes FSU tight ends coach Tim Brewster and the good news for FSU is that there isn't a big concern about distance. FSU wants to take two tight ends for this class, so he's certainly a possibility.
We could not leave out Trey Marshall, who has been hinting he might do something soon. He has stated he might announce at The Opening, but you have to wonder if he makes it that long since he is so close to pulling the trigger. Marshall has also been recruiting for the Seminoles. Other names names include Jonathan Vickers, Kendall Gant, Trenton Thompson (2015), Madre London, Cole Cook and Johnathan Sutton (2015).
You never know who will come along to make that surprise performance. One candidate who has a good chance to land a FSU offer is Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.) cornerback Brandon Roberts. Most schools are in a holding pattern as they wait to find out his standardized test score. Roberts is a very athletic defensive back that would fit in really well with the system at Florida State. If the Noles offered, you probably won't have to wait long as Roberts was a big FSU fan growing up and is very close with Tyler Hunter. Roberts has excellent footwork, closing speed and his hands might be his best attribute.
At defensive end, Rickards (Tallahassee) standout Markel Winter is one to watch when you consider what he's done at camps this year including a strong performance at the Rivals camp in Lakeland where he was one of the best ends at the event. His skill set is similar to that of FSU commitment Blake McClain - very physical at initial contact, but has a strong rip move that he showed many times at the camp.
Another candidate is Admiral Farraguat RB/FB Cortavious Givens. FSU's staff already likes his game film a lot, but they want to see how he does running the Seminoles offense and how he fits into their plans in the backfield. The chances are high he gets an FSU offer if what FSU sees on the field matches the film the coaches have seen. As far as a decision, that's where it gets tough because FSU has a pretty loaded board at running back and fullback. But an offer is certainly something to keep an eye out for.
Other prospects include Zeek Rodney, a very talented defensive tackle who registered more than 20 sacks a year ago. Although he is small, there's a very good chance he is going to have a strong camp based on his pass rushing strengths.
Camps are not just for the prospects who are trying to earn offers. It is also a chance for those that have offers to deliver and see how they match up in FSU's offense/defense.
One of the big names that will need a strong camp is Countryside (Clearwater, Fla.) defensive back Mike Johnson. The three-star prospect has the body type of a corner and can play safety at the next level, but this camp should give a clear indication of how he matches up with some elite receivers and also his skill set (technique and speed) in a FSU defense. Johnson has shown inconsistencies, so having a strong performance could go a long way for a prospect that has the 'Noles at the top of his list.
Four-star running back Shai McKenzie will also need to make an impression. He is on the radar, but with a loaded group of targets, McKenzie needs to show what separates him from other backs. His size at 6-feet, 212 pounds is attractive, but assistant coach Jay Graham and the rest of the staff want to see what McKenzie does out in space with his quickness, ball security and vision. The one-on-one's will also be key to show off his speed.
One of the main tight ends on the radar is New Orleans three-star prospect Anthony Jones. The FSU staff liked his film when they offered early in the process, but now comes the real test - watching him in FSUs offense. How are his hands, speed and ability to get off the line of scrimmage? Those are areas of focus heading into the camp. Jones has the 'Noles high on his, list but this gives the staff a closer look at how he can be used. Out of all the tight ends, he is one that could benefit the most from a strong performance.
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) power running back Madre London is another to watch. You won't get a full appreciation of his skill set because his best strength is the power, but his vision is an area the staff will watch closely.
5. Top overall performer predictions
It's never easy to pick the MVP's for the camps because it comes down to match-ups. However, one name we feel will have the strongest week is commitment J.J. Cosentino. He has one of the strongest arms you will see and will have a lot of weapons that will make for a strong effort on the final day of the camp if he decides to participate. It will be interesting to see how Cosentino matches up with fellow FSU commitment and 2015 quarterback De'Andre Johnson.
Also, we'll focus on commitment Markell Pack. He is the top receiver on the board for the 'Noles and his ability to get off press jams and his top end speed will be very tough to contain. He is not a one-dimensional receiver. As far as offensive game breakers, he's the guy that will likely have the biggest camp at the skill position.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball, don't be surprised at all if Albany, Ga. 2015 defensive tackle Trenton Thompson emerges as the best defensive prospect. Thompson has unbelievable quickness and power that will certainly standout much of the day. His ability to use his hands and rip is going to make an impact once the one-on-one part of the camp starts.
Finally, look out for 2015 commitment Derwin James at the safety position. He can play both corner and safety. He has a long reach and does a very good job at baiting the receiver. James plays safety, but moves like a cornerback. He is a great hitter, but runs like a gazelle and has very good hip turn, speed coming out of his backpedal. The defensive MVP could come down to him and Thompson.