1. Archive


Florida State didn't finish with its trademark flurry of big-name prospects in the final hours, but coach Bobby Bowden didn't care one bit.

Unlike the past, Bowden and his staff locked up most of their commitments early; or as he said, essentially filled the Easter egg basket before the hunt. They got a couple late, but Bowden said the 30-member class that ranks No. 7 nationally will address immediate needs. Remember, a dozen players will miss the first three games because of academic misconduct.

"It's a group I don't think we could afford to swap with anybody in the country," Bowden said. "I don't know what they got, but I know what we got."

A closer look

most celebrated:Linebacker Nigel Bradham, from Crawfordville Wakulla, was a Parade All-American and the highest-rated linebacker by He also is one of three players, all on defense, already enrolled.

most circuitous route:Defensive end Markus White was a standout in Lake Worth (John I. Leonard High), moved on briefly to Rutgers but never played there and ended up at Butler (Kan.) Community College. He also is a five-star prospect and junior college All-American.

best nickname: As a sophomore, his teammates started calling Nigel Bradham "The Nightmare," as in what he meant to opponents. And it stuck. As a senior, he used his speed (4.5 in the 40), size (6-2, 225 pounds) and strength (440-pound bench, 310-pound clean and jerk) to record 147 tackles, 12 sacks and four defensive scores. "I don't think the guys here know it," he said with a wry smile. "But hopefully one day, they'll find out."

fastest:A.J. Alexander, a versatile athlete from Altoona (Penn.) High, might be the guy to take in a sprint. He has run a 10.5 in the 100 meters on the track and a 21.5 in the 200. He consistently clocks in the low 4.3s for 40 yards.

signature signee:Quarterback E.J. Manuel, a Parade All-American, is linked to offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher. He was Fisher's guy, and Fisher was his guy. "I picked him. I don't think it's a mistake at all. I love the guy," Fisher said, undaunted that dropped him from a five-star recruit to four-star after a high school all-star game. He's expected to be in Tallahassee in June.

hidden gem:Middleton High running back Carlton Jones had big numbers on the field despite diabetes, but academics scared many folks off, including FSU. A recent test score changed that. He chose FSU over Toledo. "I don't know how many stars are by him (two). But I know one thing. He's big. He's fast, athletic, can catch, block and run and make you miss," Fisher said. "There's nothing he can't do. I think he's one heck of a football player."

Bowden on the need for instant impact:"I think this group has more maturity than some of our past groups. I say that in regard to boys who will be able to help us immediately. They better. You better be ready to help us immediately (pointing at the three early enrollees)."

Fisher on the receivers and backs: "We got guys who when they get in space are running away from people and when they're in a crowd they're punishing people. That's the kind of football player we want, and that's why we're very excited.

Brian Landman can be reached at or (813) 226-3347.

Name Pos. Ht./WT. School

A.J. Alexander ATH 5-11/170 Altoona (Penn).

Travis Arnold DB 5-10/184 Madison County

Nigel Bradham* LB 6-3/220 Crawfordville Wakulla

Nigel Carr LB 6-3/205 Jacksonville First Coast

Avis Commack WR 6-4/182 Jacksonville First Coast

Andrew Datko G 6-5/285 Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

Everett Dawkins DE 6-2/242 Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes

Garrett Faircloth OT 6-6/265 Jacksonville Bolles

Jarmon Fortson ATH 6-3/220 Columbus (Ga.) Carver

Josh Gehres WR 6-3/190 Tallahassee Lincoln Anthony Hill DT 6-4/270 Pensacola

Ed Imeokparia ATH 6-0/188 Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy

Carlton Jones RB 5-11/215 Middleton

Jabaris Little TE 6-4/240 Tallahassee Lincoln

E.J. Manuel QB 6-4/215 Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside

Moses McCray DT 6-2/268 Hillsborough

Anthony McCloud DL 6-3/295 Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas Co. Cent.

Nick Moody S 6-1/218 Philadelphia Roman Catholic

E.J. Manuel QB 6-4/215 Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside

Terrance Parks* CB 6-1/200 Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside

Tavares Pressley RB 6-1/215 El Camino (Calif.) CC

Zebrie Sanders OT 6-5/273 Clayton (Ohio) Northmont

Rhonne Sanderson OL 6-4/280 Plant

Debrale Smiley RB 6-2/240 Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas Co. Cent.

Blake Snider OL 6-4/282 Heflin (Ala.) Cleburne County

David Spurlock OL 6-5/287 Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Riverdale

Toshmon Stevens DE 6-5/205 Crescent City

Corey Surrency WR 6-5/210 El Camino (Calif.) CC

Jermaine Thomas RB 6-1/190 Jacksonville First Coast

Markus White DE 6-4/245 Butler County (Kan.) CC

Vincent Williams* LB 6-0/210 Davenport Ridge

*Enrolled in January