Recruiting Road Map

Talk about a quick visit. Florida State recruiting coordinator <b>John Lilly</b> traveled across the country Friday, evaluating recruits in California. Lilly said it was the sixth and final day this fall that Seminole coaches are permitted on the road in accordance with NCAA rules. Since November is quickly rolling into December -- which means February's National Signing Day is coming into focus -- Lilly and staff must be determined and resilient.

No matter the time zone or distance traveled.

"You get one day in there at different times, you only have six the whole fall, and so when you come out here you basically have to come in, do what you are going to do, and go," Lilly said from California Friday. "It makes for a long day but if you get a player or two out of it, and make sure they are the right ones, then it's worth it."

While upbeat about the Seminoles' recruiting efforts thus far, Lilly also realizes the Seminoles' showdown in The Swamp Saturday against rival Florida -- not to mention FSU's bowl opponent -- could impact the process as well.

"It's so important for recruiting to win, but it's also very important as while you are trying to put a lot of time and effort into winning, that you are handling your business recruiting wise," Lilly said.

"Be it phone calls, be it handwritten notes, be it evaluating. Time becomes an important element there. I think winning can so much dictate the reception that you get, especially going into December and January. And some ways you can set your mood I think for recruiting. If you are really fired up and you've just won a bunch a games, or you just won a bowl game in January, you are anxious to get out there and capitalize on that momentum. At the same time, you feel like it works the other if you lost, you have to get out and recruit to get things turned around.

"I feel okay about it (recruiting) right now, but there's still so much time to go -- over two months left until signing day and there are so many prospects who can go a variety of different ways. You never really feel great about it at this point unless you are at one of those schools were you have 20 (verbal) commitments I guess."

FSU, at the moment, has five verbal commitments -- quarterback Drew Weatherford, offensive lineman Courtney Abbott, running back Jamaal Edwards, running back Lamar Lewis and defensive lineman Darrell Robertson.

The Seminoles hope to sign between 20-22 players in February and, best guess, probably have around 70 players remaining on their recruiting board. Of course, quarterback remains a high priority as well as the secondary. FSU loses 12 seniors from this year's team.

Thanks to an emotional double-overtime victory over North Carolina State two Saturdays ago, the Seminoles return to practice Monday in preparation for the Gators on a high note -- both from team and recruiting standpoints.

"It's funny but it's almost, in some ways, sometimes it's maybe better to win a real close game like that against a quality opponent," Lilly said.

"I think the thing that maybe people don't realize or have an understanding or an appreciation for, at this stage, how difficult the Atlantic Coast Conference has become. Everyone has good players, everyone has good coaches who prepare them well, and you have tough places to go play, and I think next year -- addition of Miami and Virginia Tech -- is only going to increase that.

"Winning that game last week and doing so to be able to clinch the conference was really big for us. Especially in a year where I think a lot of people out there felt like we would finish second or third or maybe even fourth in the league. To be able to go 7-1 in the conference and win it again is really big."

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