Coach Lilly Talks Antone Smith

Last Wednesday Florida State landed one of the biggest surprises in signing day history by landing's No. 1 running back in the country. The Noles had some stiff competion, including the Pahokee (Fla.) childhood favorite in Miami. The Territory caught up with recruiting coordinator/tight end Coach Lilly, who was responsive for recruiting the five-star standout.

There are some people out there that Antone Smith might be one of the biggest day surprises in Florida State history. Would you buy that he was a real long shot to Florida State?

I told somebody the other day that wherever he ends up, probably will be a surprise to that program because of the way he handled the process. I don't he every really played around with anybody and acted like he was going there.

When did you find out he was going to come?

The same time everybody else did

Did he ever tell you the reasons why he was coming?

We talked for a little bit afterwards but we just felt like he was comfortable with us. Leon Washington was his host and Leon kept it real. I mean we weren't hiding anything with Leon and (Lorenzo) Booker being here. He came up here a few times and felt comfortable with his surrounding and everyone

You guys have has some incredible backs come through Tallahassee like Warrick Dunn, Leon Washington and Sammy Smith, does he have the potential of some of those great backs?

You always recruit kids with the ability of those great backs. Based on his ability in high school, he has a chance

What did you like about him?

Antone is the type of back that turns a normal seven yard run into a 20-yard game. He can cut without slowing down and he can cut on a dime. He breaks a lot tackles also. Based on watching him play a lot, he very rarely puts the ball on the ground. I think he fumbled it once this season, when he dropped a pitch. I mean he can carry it 30-35 times a game without a fumble. He's a tough and physical runner for his size. He will adjust the ball forward when he knows he's going to make another yard or two. He knows how to get the ball into the end zone. Everything you could possible like in a running back, we see in him.

Some of the South Florida media has criticized him for the way he handled his recruitment towards the end. Can you speak for his character?

I think for the way he's handled the process, I would give him very high marks for character. A lot of guys get caught up in it. He's not caught up in being a star or being the guy. I think he handles the process very well. He's the star of his high school team, who just won two state championship games, and kids in Pahokee look up to him for good reason.

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