Recruiting Road Map

FSU recruiting coordinator John Lilly and staff are on the road visiting local, state and national high schools during the spring recruiting process. In this first of three installments, Lilly chats with The Territory about the Seminoles' game plan. Lilly also is trying to mix in some workouts as he prepares to run his first marathon next month.

Florida State recruiting coordinator John Lilly was on the move Wednesday.

Lilly first visited a handful of high schools in Charlottesville, Va. He then jumped into his rental car and headed towards North Carolina with scheduled stops in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. He plans to also dip into Greenville, S.C., by week's end before ending back to Charlotte, N.C., for a high school combine Saturday.

Lilly, who has visited 33 schools since the spring recruiting process started last week - that includes last week's journey to California, a return trip to Florida and a stop in Maryland earlier this week - realizes the importance of this period.

"It's a very important time for us because you are evaluating ... not only athletic ability because some of that you can do off of film - but probably even more importantly you are evaluating what kind of people these guys are," Lilly told The Territory Wednesday afternoon.

"And then also what kind of students they are because you have a chance to talk to their coaches, guidance counselors, principals and whoever else of importance when you go into schools."

It's also important FSU makes good decisions. The Seminoles are looking to sign 18 to 20 players next February, and the skill positions - including quarterback - are a high priority.

The Sunshine State features a trio of highly-skilled quarterbacks -- Xavier Lee of Daytona Beach Seebreaze, Cornelius Ingram, who is also an excellent basketball player, of Hawthorne and Drew Weatherford of Land O' Lakes. Nationally, Texas features Rhett Bomar of Grand Prairie and Bobby Reid of North Shore Senior.

There are plenty of others as well.

"We definitely want to sign at least two quarterbacks and are kind of in that state of it," said Lilly, who will spend the final two weeks of the recruiting period in Florida.

"We've got two juniors who we feel are pretty good but in a blink of an eye they are going to be graduating. You want to be a year ahead in preparing your guys - as far as any position is concerned - but especially at quarterback."

Overall, Lilly says the Seminoles plan to stick to their gameplan.

"Well, I think if you had to really zero in and say skill positions," Lilly said.

"Even with that being said, it's going to very, very important we sign probably three, maybe even four offensive linemen - guys that we feel like are in position to contribute fairly early in their careers. Same on the defensive front. I am not saying the first game they play, but by the second year is kind of what you look at.

"We've got to sign some receivers because we are very junior heavy at receiver. We are very junior heavy in the secondary. I think we lose six defensive backs - not this year but the next year - your four safeties and two corners. It's vital we sign guys that can play there very quickly. We lose all three starters at linebacker, so naturally we are gonna be out looking for the best linebackers we can find.

"I think tailback is a very important position. As talented as we are there, you lose Greg Jones and you only have two left. About every year here we end up playing our fourth-team guy. You go through these guys very quickly because it's a very physically demanding position. Skill is probably the highest priority but the lines being positions where we have to get guys and guys who can contribute very quickly."

Lilly also has been on the move the past few months preparing for a personal milestone - he is scheduled to compete in his first marathon in June at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. The finish line is at the 50-yard line at Notre Dame Stadium. Lilly, who will be joined by fellow football staff member Ben Odom, just wants to finish.

"What better place for a college guy like me to finish his first marathon on the 50-yard line in (Notre Dame's) stadium," said Lilly, who has never run more than 16 miles at one time. He got into his hotel room too late Tuesday evening to run outside, so he opted for a six-mile workout on a treadmill.

At least Lilly is keeping his feet on the ground. He also recently completed his first skydiving experience in one piece.

"Just another thing to cross off my list of things I want to try at least once," Lilly said and laughed.


Nole Digest Top Stories