Hillsborough's Mitchell still has eyes on FSU, but how will headlines affect recruiting?

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Mon. October 5, 2009 | Eduardo A. Encina

TAMPA – Hillsborough defensive back Terrence Mitchell is one of Florida State’s most coveted recruiting targets.

Mitchell, ranked the nation’s eighth-best cornerback prospect by Rivals.com, had been paying attention to the Seminoles’ moribund 2-3 start and the news of Coach Bobby Bowden’s oust, but Mitchell said it doesn’t affect how he views Florida State.

“I feel like if I go in and do my part, I can make a team better,” said Mitchell, whose finalists are FSU, Georgia, USF, Tennessee, Ole Miss, North Carolina and Illinois.  “I pay attention to it. Every team has their ups and downs. In football, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some. It’s just how you bounce back from it.

“I’m not looking at which team is down and which is up. I’m looking at what’s the best fit for me, what school has the best academics, playing time and location, so that I’m comfortable.”

But on the heels of a Tallahassee Democrat story Monday in which FSU Board of Regents chairman Jim Smith called for the end of the Bowden era – saying “Enough is enough” -- Mitchell’s high school coach, Earl Garcia, said the way it’s been handled should affect recruiting negatively.  

“Even though I’m a little high school coach,” Garcia said,  “those heavy hitters that are out there, all the coaches in waiting, they need to be in tune and watch how the university is treating Coach Bowden, because if they are going to treat Bobby like that, how are they going to treat a kid off the street? You’re darn right it’s going to affect recruiting. Is it going to affect Terrence’s? I don’t know.

"If he was my son, I would tell him to take a wait-and-see attitude," Garcia said. 

Mitchell said FSU assistant Lawrence Dawsey has been clear that offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher will eventually take the reins. He didn’t think it would be this soon.

“From what I hear, (Fisher is) running the show now and Bobby Bowden is the head coach,” Mitchell said. “You know that it’s almost his time to go.

"To tell you the truth, I don’t know what’s going on there," he said. "You really can’t tell whether it’s the coaching or is it the players and they just don’t have the depth."

Mitchell, who made his first official visit to Georgia two weekends ago, said he still plans to make an official visit to Florida State.

Hillsborough alum Moses McCray is a starting defensive tackle for the Seminoles. Currently a sophomore, he was a four-star prospect out of Hillsborough.

eencina@sptimes.com

 

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