Ernie Sims and Antonio Cromartie on signing day. What's in store this year? "> Ernie Sims and Antonio Cromartie on signing day. What's in store this year? ">

Bell Lap

Florida State appears to be meeting its recruiting needs as Wednesday's National Signing Day approaches. A year ago at this time, the Seminoles had 11 verbal commitments. Calling it "the most grueling finish day I think I can remember," coach Bobby Bowden and staff added two of the nation's top players in locals <b>Ernie Sims</b> and <b>Antonio Cromartie</b> on signing day. What's in store this year?

Florida State is piecing together a stellar recruiting class that can still get better by Wednesday. A top-three finish is a possibility, but the Seminoles may also be able to overtake a Southern Cal or LSU with a stunning finish.

It could happen.

There are plenty of big names remaining who can influence such a bold move.

Of course, the list is headlined by linebacker Willie Williams of Miami Carol City. Williams will decide between FSU and Miami on signing day, though the Hurricanes are considered the favorite.

Others waiting to decide, with FSU high on their list, include defensive end Brandon Miller of Colquitt, Ga, cornerback Tony Carter of Jacksonville, offensive lineman Calvin Darity of Tallahassee Lincoln and Demario Pressley of Greensboro, N.C., and two-sport star Cornelius Ingram of Hawthorne.

FSU has 22 commitments thus far, including receiver DeCody Fagg and linebacker Barry Wright. However, the pair, currently enrolled at FSU, is earmarked towards last year's signing class. That gives the Seminoles needed breathing room and they could sign anywhere from 28 to 30 signee depending on last-minute decisions.

However, FSU can not have more than 25 signees on scholarship for the 2004 fall semester and must not have more than 85 players overall on scholarship. At least four commitments could go to the wire academically in regards to meeting NCAA initial eligibility requirements.

Fifteen of FSU's commitments, including Fagg are targeted for the offense. FSU needs to finish well defensively, though last week's trio of commitments in defensive lineman Aaron Jones, safety Kenny Ingram and linebacker Lawrence Timmons was an impressive boost in that department.

Madison County safety Jonathan Warren, who committed to FSU earlier but said he continues receive telephone calls from the Universtiy of Florida staff, is excited about the Seminoles' recruiting class.

"My home and dream has always been Florida State," Warren said Sunday.

"Florida still calls and they've been on me pretty hard, but that's (part of) recruiting process. Coach (Bobby) Bowden came to my house last Sunday, and it was a great experience. It was very neat that my family got to meet him.

"I am just looking forward to Wednesday and signing."

Last year, offensive lineman David Overmyer of Lilburn, Ga., who had committed publicly to Clemson, was the first to send his fax to the Seminoles on signing day. Chris Bradwell, who spent the year at Hargrave Military Academy, capped the 18-member class after signing the wrong line a day earlier. Three players enrolled early last January – Chauncey Davis, Chase Goggans and Roger Williams.


John Lilly, a few days after 2003 signing day, on this year's needs:

"Obviously, you don't have very many seniors on this year's team. But if you start looking where our juniors are and you see some big groups at wide receiver. Obviously, we've got all senior starters at linebacker and we have not signed as many players in the secondary the last couple of years as we would like to, especially at corner. So, jumping out at you, priorities obviously we want to get a quarterback. We very much need to get some very, very good wideouts. We need to get some quality corners who can play pretty quickly. And our safeties, though we have most of them back, most of them are going to be seniors the following year. So, we are going to have to get some really good safeties. The perimeter now becomes the focus again. The lines were more the focus this year and we are still going to have to sign some along the line next year. We would like to bring in two, maybe three offensive linemen again. You would like to be able to bring in another defensive tackle or two or a defensive end or two and we got to get some linebackers. Best guess right now, say we are able to sign 15 next year, you can't afford a lot of mistakes in that. We are going to do what we can on it."

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