How Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette helped FSU land its top recruit

A pair of Super Bowl 55 participants had a small role in the Seminoles landing four-star receiver Destyn Hill.
Chiefs All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu had a small role in Florida State landing its top recruit Wednesday.
Chiefs All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu had a small role in Florida State landing its top recruit Wednesday. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Feb. 3, 2021

Florida State landed one of the biggest recruits of the Mike Norvell era Wednesday thanks in part to a pair of players on opposite sidelines in Super Bowl 55: the Bucs’ Leonard Fournette and the Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu.

Fournette and Mathieu were teammates for a year at New Orleans’ St. Augustine High in 2009. The future superstars attracted recruiters from all over the country — including Norvell, who visited in one of his first stops as a full-time assistant at Tulsa.

Related: Tampa Super Bowl: Where did the Bucs, Chiefs players come from?

Norvell was immediately impressed with their head coach, David Johnson.

“I remember that interaction, and I remember watching him coach his players,” Norvell said. “To see the development that they had under his leadership, it really spoke volumes to who he was as a man.”

It spoke loudly enough that Norvell hired Johnson as his running backs coach and recruiting coordinator when he got to FSU a year ago.

The move paid off Wednesday when Johnson’s deep Louisiana ties led to the signing of speedy receiver Destyn Hill, a four-star receiver from New Orleans and FSU’s top 2021 recruit.

“Especially in a year like this where we weren’t able to get out as much as we want ... having those relationships has been big,” Norvell said.

Hill’s addition bumped the Seminoles’ class up to 22nd nationally.

Mathieu didn’t mention Johnson by name Wednesday but spoke highly of his relationship with Fournette and their time at St. Augustine.

Related: Super Bowl 55: What the Chiefs tell us about Dan Mullen’s Gators

“The discipline, the different teachers that were coaches that we had were really hands-on,” said Mathieu, an All-Pro safety. “I like to say that that school definitely put us in that mindset to dream big and work hard.”

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