On the Mark

Florida State coach <b> Bobby Bowden </b> mentioned a few times Wednesday how he enjoyed this year's recruiting process. Though he turns 75 in November, Bowden reiterated his intention to recruits to see their class graduate. The Seminoles welcomed 27 newcomers to the fold, saying the met their needs across the board.

FSU coach Bobby Bowden said he felt the Seminoles' 2004 recruiting class was one of the strongest in quite some time, comparing it to the 1985 class that featured Deion Sanders.

Of course, Sanders' class blossomed two years later as FSU finished 11-1 and second in the polls after beating Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, igniting the program's unprecendented run of 10-win seasons and top-five finishes.

"I think this is probably the strongest group we've brought (into FSU) in a long time," Bowden said.

The class, headlined by quarterbacks Xavier Lee of Daytona Beach Seabreeze and Drew Weatherford of Land O' Lakes, features 13 offensive players, 13 defensive players, and one specialist, kicker Gary Cismesia.

The group features 20 players from Florida.

Of 11 uncommitted players on their board heading into signing day, the Seminoles landed five of them.

Two players -- linebacker Barry Wright and receiver DeCody Fagg -- are enrolled. They will be counted on last year's total, giving the Seminoles the maximum 25 signees allowed under NCAA rules.

Five players, however, have not fulfilled all academic entrance requirements.

AS far as needs, it appears the Seminoles were on the mark. They signed five offensive linemen, considered a key. They also had some misses as well, failing to sign a true defensive end. FSU also lost a commitment at receiver in Car Grimes, but added a surprise in California's Kenny O' Neal.

Of course, while Bowden's age continues to be a factor in the recruiting process, he is showing no signs of slowing down.

"I tell em, `Look, I'm not retiring next year, or the year after, or the year after that.' That's how I feel," he said.

"There will be a day when I can't say that. When it happens, I'll get out.

"I really enjoyed recruiting this year. It just seemed like the reception was so much better this year for some reason."

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