Recruiting Trail

Recruiting continues to be a hot topic of conversation, and the Florida State Seminoles enjoyed a solid week. Still, there's plenty of ground to cover between now and February's National Signing Day. FSU received two commitments this past week in Madison County tight end <b>Charlie Graham</b> and Miami Coral Reef safety <b>Dorian Munroe,</b> pushing its total to 10 as the holidays approach.

How is Florida State faring in recruiting?

Of course, that's the $1 million dollar question each year at this time.

At the moment, the Seminoles have received 10 verbal commitments following the additions of Madison County tight end Charlie Graham and Miami Coral Reef safety Dorian Munroe this past week.

FSU is expected to sign around 25 players in February and needs are expected across the board in varying degrees.

While tight end wouldn't normally be considered a concern in December, Graham's stock had started to soar amongst college recruiters.

And there's also no telling what the Seminoles' thoughts were concerning other tight ends on their recruiting board.

Graham, a 6-foot-3, 228-pounder, helped lead the Cowboys to the Class 2A state-title game at Florida Field last week.

Madison County led Immakolee 15-14 with eight minutes remaining but lost 17-15 in the closing minutes on a 42-yard field goal from Moises Saintril.

Graham is noted as a physical run-blocker but also has demonstrated good pass-catching skills when needed.

Madison County coach Frankie Carroll said Graham was one player on the Cowboys' offense who could physically hold his own when it came to blocking heralded linebacker Eugene Hayes in practice.

Munroe, meanwhile, performed well at the Seminoles' summer camp. He attracted a number of offers, including Florida and Auburn, but said he felt FSU was the best fit.

Safety is a position of need for the Seminoles, who are losing seniors Jerome Carter and Claudius Osei. The status of B.J. Ward also remains unsettled after he missed his entire senior season with an injury. He is hoping to regain an added year of eligibility from the NCAA.

Of course, it also was a head-scratching week for fans concerning the status of heralded Twiggs County (Ga.) linebacker Antonio Clay.

According to reports, Clay is torn between FSU and Miami -- well, let's not forget Oklahoma too -- and has committed to each school at least twice. Is that good? Or bad?

Well, it's difficult to say at this point simply because smiling fans know how difficult this time of year can be on young athletes.

Still, indecision is a concern and programs could run out of patience. But the good news is Clay is friends with Matt Dunham and Dan Foster, both of whom are FSU commitments.

Locally, Godby tailback Roy Upchurch and the hard-hitting Hayes were named the Tallahassee Democrat's offensive and defensive players of the year in voting by coaches.

Upchurch gained a school-record 2,543 yards with 27 touchdowns, while Hayes finished with 124 tackles and 12 sacks for the Cowboys.

Upchurch is being recruited by a number of schools, including favorites Alabama and FSU. It's believed Upchurch is leaning towards the Crimson Tide. Still, a Godby coach said he believes Upchurch, who watched a recent Seminole practice, is looking more seriously at FSU.

Hayes is considered one of the nation's top players and his list includes favorites Tennessee and Florida State.

If indications hold true, Hayes could help the Seminoles land the nation's top linebacking class. Commitments at the moment include Foster and Anthony Kelly.

FSU also is currently in good standing with heralded linebacker Derek Nicholson, the younger brother of Seminole standout A.J. Nicholson.

In fact, Derek Nicholson was named defensive MVP for the North Carolina squad in Satuday's Shrine Bowl. A number of FSU assistant coaches watched the game.

On a state level, all eyes will be watching Pahokee tailback Antone Smith.

Smith ran for a state-best 2,814 yards and 44 touchdowns in 12 games and led Pahokee to the Class 2B state championship over Pensacola Catholic.

Smith had 276 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the 43-9 victory and was later named the Sunshine State's coveted Mr. Football award winner.

While FSU has been and remains a longshot for Smith, it should be interesting to see how his recruitment plays out.


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