MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
After a recruiting process that started slowly and quickly became a blur and took the junior speedster all over the country, St. Petersburg Catholic running back Ryan Green has made a decision.
He's going to be a Florida State Seminole.
"I just made the decision I felt most comfortable with. Florida State is where I want to be,'' Green told the Times on Friday night. "It's a big relief. Now I can spend this last year worrying about my schoolwork."
Green, 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds with 4.4 speed, made an oral, nonbinding commitment to Florida State official Friday night on his Facebook page, but committed on the car ride home after a weekend in which he once again stood out during a camp in Tallahassee. Competing in front of Jimbo Fisher, Green excelled during drills and showed why he is considered one of the top running back recruits in the country.
"I knew it was going to be this weekend,'' he said, barring an unforseen disaster. But the camp went well, Green said he had a fabulous time talking to the coaches and seeing where the Seminole players stay, and his decision was clinched.
"He decided when we were leaving camp,'' said Vader Green, his father and a former standout player at St. Petersburg. "He said, 'Dad, I want to do it. FSU has always been at the top of my list.'
"It was definitely nervewracking trying to distinguish who's being truthful and who has your son's best interests at heart. That's the hardest part. But at the end of the day, it's his decision, and he has to be comfortable with where he's going.''
It wasn't an easy decision, though, Green said. Ultimately it came down to five schools: FSU, Florida, Clemson, Auburn and Notre Dame. For most of the recruiting process, FSU was on top, but the Baron senior said Notre Dame was his favorite for a while during the spring, and after that Florida was No. 1.
He decided he wanted to stay in state and be close to his family, eliminating Notre Dame. And with Belle Glades' Kelvin Taylor and Winter Haven's Adam Lane already highly rated running backs committed to Florida, he decided his first choice was his best one.
"FSU needed running backs,'' said Green, a frequent visitor to FSU during the recruiting process. "And I always liked it up there.''
Green rushed for 1,171 yards on 140 carries (8.4 per carry) in 2011, scoring 15 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. Green, a first-team all-county and all-Suncoast selection, added three return touchdowns to his scoring haul while also playing cornerback.
The Times ranked him No. 1 in its 2013 class rankings (for Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties) in February, and since then he has been ranked nationally by Rivals.com (50th in the country, ninth in Florida), ESPN (36th in the country, 10th in Florida) and 247Sports (77th in the country, 13th in Florida).
Green said he is happy the process is over. "I definitely want to thank all the coaches that came out of their way to recruit me,'' he said. "It would be much easier if I could take every coach I liked and put them all on the same staff and play for that team.''
Boasting offers from every major college, including Oregon, USC, Alabama and LSU, Green was coveted for his game-breaking ability, athleticism and speed. In track, he qualified for state in the 100 meters, and he averaged more than 25 points during basketball season, exhibiting the area's most impressive vertical jump.
Green becomes just the second of the Times' 25 to make his college choice, joining former Barons teammate and current Lakewood Spartan Rodney Adams, who is a Florida commitment.