Recruiting Trail

Florida State recruiting coordinator <b>John Lilly</b> finally had time to catch his breath for a few minutes Saturday evening. Lilly and Seminole coaches have been busy traveling the country in search of the nation's top players. Closer to home, there also has been plenty of news, as <b>Urban Meyer</b> will become the University of Florida's 21st football coach. Farther south, Miami, which was bidding for its fifth straight BCS berth, fell to Virginia Tech for the ACC league title.

Florida State recruiting coordinator John Lilly knows the routine all too well.

The recruiting trend in the Southeast has been for top players to take their official visits before making a decision on college.

While the Seminoles, at times, have received their share of early commitments over the years, FSU is noted for its furious finishes.

Brace yourself.

The recruiting season appears to be once again shaping up as a mad dash to the February finish line. The Seminoles expect to sign up to 25 players with needs across the board.

FSU had two scheduled official visitors this weekend -- defensive line standouts Callahan Bright and Everette Brown.

"For Florida State, every year the last two months of recruiting are critical," Lilly told The Territory Saturday evening.

"For most of the Southeast, not a large number of the top prospects are usually going to commit early. So that makes the last two months so critical in the recruiting process. We feel like we are in position to have another outstanding class."

The Seminoles also will see a new coaching regime on the road. Utah coach Urban Meyer confirmed on Saturday that he will become the Florida Gators' 21st football coach.

Meyer, who replaces Ron Zook, said he believes UF "has everything in place to make a run at the whole thing, and that was a factor" behind his decision. Meyer also pointed to the Sunshine State's fertile recruiting ground.

"I also recruited Florida for five years and I understand the type of talent that you're playing with," Meyer said.

Lilly felt the news of Meyer's hiring actually should help settle any recruiting uncertainity.

"It actually settle things better -- now you takeaway the unknown factor in terms of having kids out there trying to weigh a lot of different factors of making decisions concerning visits and (coaching) staffs," Lilly said.

Many of Florida's current assistant coaches, many of whom will likely not return next season under Meyer, have been busy recruiting. It's still unknown who will coach the Gators in the Peach Bowl.

"Recruiting's been held together as good as it can be," UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said.

"Now they know who our coach is and hopefully (recruits) will wait until December to take visits, and I think they will. I think we'll be able to piece that together."

FSU, meanwhile, also is looking to piece together a positive ending to its football season.

The Seminoles are headed to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville against West Virginia after suffering regular-season defeats to Miami, Maryland and rival Florida by a combined total of 16 points.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, fell to Virginia Tech on Saturday for the ACC title. The Hokies are expected to play Auburn in the BCS Sugar Bowl, while UM is headed to Atlanta to face the Gators.

"You lose three games by 16 points... but that's the nature of college football and we have to handle our own business," Lilly said.

"We are playing an excellent team (West Virginia) which also probably didn't have the year it expected to have. But we have an opportunity to end the season on a good note and you want to take a positive feeling into the offseason.

"And the way recruiting is set up this year, we can go back out on the road the very next day (Jan. 2)and obviously it (bowl victory)gives you a chance to hit the ground running."


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