FSU-UM Rivalry Starts Young

If you take a look at the roster for any major Division-1A football program, regardless of geographical location, you're likely find at least a handful of players that were recruited from the Miami area. Miami and its surrounding area is the deepest pool of football talent in America, and has more than enough to go around.

Each year schools travel from all over the country to try to get their hands on some of the nation's top prospects.

However, more often than not, if a recruit has offers from the big three schools in Florida, it's likely that they end up staying in their home state to attend college.

With the heated rivalry between Miami and Florida State that has featured some of college football's biggest stars, in games that usually come down to the wire, most kids from the area either grow up being a ‘Cane fan or a ‘Seminole fan.

"It's all about the way you were raised and what the people in your household believe, and you just adopt that." FSU safety Lamarcus Joyner said. That's part of the uniqueness in this great rivalry; kids grow up picking one side or the other and playing with or against many of the same guys that they will one day see in this game. That history with players on the opposing sideline gives the players an added incentive when they are on the field, especially when the game is in Miami and the players have friends and family in the stands.

"You have to be enthusiastic to play football," Joyner said. "But in this game you're playing with even more emotion and passion. You have friends and family in the stands, and they give you that extra edge. It's more than a football game - I can't explain it. It's just a different kind of feeling when you play against the guys from UM." It's easy to understand why kids from the area would gravitate towards one of the two schools in this classic rivalry.

For roughly a 15-year span, each meeting between the two almost always had national title implications on the line, and many of the games were instant classics.

Additionally, both UM and FSU are factories in producing NFL players.

Between 1992 and 2011, the schools have combined to produce 226 players drafted. To go a step further, those 226 draftees have combined for 9,186 starts over the 19-year period. In Joyner's case it was his older brother, Michael Joyner, who forced him to become an FSU fan as a kid – something FSU fans surely appreciate. "I was always a Florida State fan growing up," Joyner said. "My older brother was a big Florida State fan and I fed off the passion and love he had for this team."

In his youth, Lamarcus looked up to his older sibling, as any younger brother does, and mimicked his every move.

He remembers when Michael's friends would talk trash about their beloved ‘Seminoles, he would always tell them to watch what they said because his younger brother was going to have a hand in this rivalry one day - something Lamarcus could not fathom at such a young age, but makes the opportunity to go home and play UM even more special.

"I think back to growing up around the neighborhood, my big brother talking trash with his friends and saying ‘my little brother's going to be playing for Florida State one day,'" Lamarcus said. "I never thought this would happen, I just thought I was a good neighborhood football player. You remember those moments and it makes it that much more special when you play those guys."


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