Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jimbo Fisher builds strong Florida State football recruiting class

Jimbo Fisher apologized in advance that if his cellular phone rang, he would have to cut short his first news conference as Florida State's head football coach.

"If it's the right guy," he said with a widening grin, "I'm going to walk out of here. I promise you that."

Okay. His phone probably wasn't going to ring.

Vibrate, sure. But ring? Not in that setting.

Still, the witticism spoke volumes about the singularity of purpose that recruiting holds for Fisher. Identifying and wooing the right kind of athletes is a must for any coach, but it's a job that has demanded even more of his attention and passion given the questions that were converging into a perfect storm with the uncertainty before Bobby Bowden's departure.

"It looked like going into the season, they were really setting themselves up to do well, really well, but once the season started to unfold, they lost traction with a lot of kids," said Jamie Newberg, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "There was so much noise surrounding the program, and it just got ugly."

"There's much more of a viciousness in recruiting in the South than there is almost anywhere else," CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "When Bowden was the head coach, people attacked him — that he was old, he was not in touch."

So, no matter how you feel about outgoing president T.K. Wetherell's decision not to renew Bowden's contract, the accelerated move to Fisher muted some of that noise.

Within days of Bowden's announcement, Fisher received oral commitments from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast linebacker Jeff Luc, two of the nation's top prospects. (Luc is already enrolled in classes.)

"Once they got past the Florida game and the decision was made that Bobby Bowden was no longer going to be the head coach and it was finally Jimbo Fisher, there was clarity there, and I think that was enormous," Newberg said.

The Seminoles now seem poised for a top 10 class, perhaps in the top five if they land a few more heralded prospects by signing day Feb. 3 from a group including athlete/receiver Christian Green and offensive lineman Chaz Green (teammates at Tampa Catholic), defensive end Corey Lemonier (Hialeah) and safety/receiver Jeremy Deering (Leto).

"It wasn't that they didn't want to play for Coach Bowden," Fisher said recently. "Other people were doing what they're supposed to do, trying to create doubt in someone's mind about where they want to go. I think of it if it were my son. When there's doubt, it's hard to send a family member into something when you don't know exactly, 100 percent about how it's going to go."

Joyner said he grew up loving FSU and wanted to play for Bowden and defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, so, despite playing coy with the media, he "pretty much knew" where he would be signing all along. Still, meeting with Fisher in person and then talking to him about the makeup of his staff had an effect.

"Coach Fisher's a great guy," Joyner said. "He told me the truth, even before he let the media know, that Coach (Mark) Stoops was going to be my position coach and the defensive coordinator. You look at his resume and see all the guys he sent to the NFL in the first round and all the guys he coached; at Arizona, he had an All-American and Thorpe winner (Antoine Cason in 2007). With my ability and my hunger for the game, I can just imagine what he can do for me and for the program."

To say the least, he's excited about starting something special again in Tallahassee.

"There's some opportunities there for some of these guys immediately, and I think they see that," Fisher said. "And there's some guys who can be impact guys. That's been very good. We have to keep it going. It's not over. Those other schools aren't going to give up. They're going to fight and claw and do everything they've got to do to get them back."

So if his phone rings or vibrates, forgive him.

He's going to take the call. Promise.

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347.

Jimbo Fisher builds strong Florida State football recruiting class 01/25/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF tight end Palmore faces charge of credit card fraud

    Crime

    A University of South Florida football player faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft following his arrest by Temple Terrace police on Monday.

    USF senior tight end Adrian Palmore faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft after his arrest by Temple Terrace police on June 19, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Rowdies defender gets the call to represent Jamaica

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG —- Damion Lowe has loved his first season with the Rowdies but has some other soccer-related business that might pull him away for a bit.

    Family business, too.

    Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Damion Lowe collides with Louisville City FC forward Luke Spencer earlier this year.
  3. Sarasota's Scooter Gennett: Utility man turned historic slugger

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On June 10, 2009, the Brewers selected a Sarasota High School shortstop in the 16th round of the MLB draft. He'd assembled an impressive resume in prep ball, but as one of more than 1,500 players drafted that year, he had a tough road to the big leagues.

    Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (4) of Sarasota makes the throw to first as Rays DH Trevor Plouffe (14) grounds into a double play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Monday, June 19, 2017. For Gennett, the three-game series this week with the Rays was his first trip back to Tampa Bay since his historic four-home run game June 6, 2017 against St. Louis. DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  4. Vegas Golden Knights expansion selections

    Lightning Strikes

    Vegas Golden Knights expansion selections

    Goaltenders

    Calvin Pickard, Colorado Avalanche

    J.F. Berube, New York Islanders

    Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Forwards

    Teemu Pulkkinen, Arizona Coyotes

    William Carrier, Buffalo Sabres

    Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars …

  5. Lightning's Victor Hedman third in Norris Trophy voting

    Lightning Strikes

    Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman knew he was a long shot to win the Norris Trophy, given to the league's top defenseman, at Wednesday's NHL awards show.

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning attends the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena on June 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 700065353