Recruiting Road Map: Chatting with John LIlly

John Lilly, FSU's recruiting coordinator, spent Saturday finishing up paperwork and washing laundry. Back on the recruiting trail Monday, Lilly was pleased with the Seminoles' first week. Lilly visited signee Lorenzo Booker in California, ran across Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops in Texas and attended a Seminole Booster club function in south Florida. "...it's more just focusing on big picture and just trying to get the right guys up there on the board that we will end up recruiting," Lilly said.

John Lilly purposely planned a peaceful Saturday.

Lilly, Florida State's recruiting coordinator, was in the process of finishing paperwork before tackling his laundry. As quick as Lilly unpacked from his recruiting week, one that started in Los Angeles, Calif., continued in Texas and ended in West Palm Beach Friday, he must quickly repack.

Lilly returned home to Tallahassee for one day, all of 24 hours, and will fly to New Jersey Sunday morning. The recruiting process resumes in earnest Monday, when Lilly stops briefly in Newark, N.J., makes his way into Pennsylvania Monday night and then slides into Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina the remainder of the week.

Lilly believes the Seminoles' first week on the road went well. FSU assistant coaches will visit each and every high school in the state of Florida as well as cover their out-of-state responsibilities.

Lilly capped his first week on the road by attending the Martin County Seminole Booster Club meeting Friday evening. While in California earlier in the week, Lilly visited with FSU signee Lorenzo Booker, who plans to arrive in Tallahassee with his fellow recruits in mid-July.

"This is an evaluation period and it's one of those situations where sometimes you are just trying to confirm what you have seen in the past," Lilly said Saturday afternoon. "Sometimes maybe you are going to find a new one, sometimes you are going to see one that you were kind of interested in and maybe find out something, whether it's on the field or off the field, that might make you not so interested."

Of course, Lilly, who visited 27 schools last week, and the Seminoles are drawing serious interest from some of the nation's top prospects. In fact, Lilly figures he was on the right path in Texas when he ran into Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and three of his assistant coaches. Assistant coaches from Texas Tech and UCLA also were at this particular high school at the same time to check out a player.

At this time in the recruiting game, Lilly said his focus remains on the big picture. He categorized trips like last week as "cherry picking, since you may be passing five or six high schools to get to the one with the player you want to see." Still, it remains one piece to an interesting and entertaining puzzle.

"When you step back at the end of the week I don't know if you've got as much of a sense like you do in December and January, I think you already have a sense whether or not you have a chance to get a guy or not," Lilly said.

"At this stage of the game, you may have an idea because you find a little bit about them and we get the opportunity in May to get the one phone call, so from talking to them or talking to their coach or somebody in the school, sometimes you can get an idea whether you got a chance to get them or not, even at this early stage of the game.

"But I think it's more just focusing on big picture. Each person is obviously working on their own area but at the same time it's all done within the framework of the whole team and just trying to get the right guys up there on the board that we will end up recruiting."

Players who will certainly end up on the Seminoles' board and probably drew a visit from Lilly last week include Booker's St. Bonaventure teammate, wide receiver Whitney Lewis.

Lewis could be the best player on the West Coast. Playing in a run dominated offense, he caught 46 balls for 865 yards and 14 touchdowns, rushed 25 times for 294 yards and seven touchdowns and returned three kicks for scores finishing with 24 total touchdowns. However, Lewis' grades could be a concern.

There's also Steve Smith of Woodland Hills. Smith caught 91 passes for 1,612 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and has 185 receptions for 3,181 yards and 29 touchdowns in two seasons. He also finished with school-record 12 interceptions last season and is a very good cornerback as well as wide out.

In Texas, defensive end Jarvis Moss (Denton) is an incredible athlete with tremendous upside potential. He recorded 122 tackles, 28 sacks and 52 tackles for a loss as a junior. While Moss has already received numerous offers, he told Jamie Newberg of TheInsiders that "I really like the Florida schools a lot. That is where the best ball is played. I also like Texas, Oklahoma and UCLA."

Once back in familiar territory in Florida, Lilly ended the week at an energetic Seminole booster function.

"It was really nice," Lilly said. "Good crowd and everyone was really excited. We talked about our schedule, the signees, how spring (drills) wound up. We talked about the important battles and a lot of people wanted to know if we felt like we accomplished what we set out to accomplish goal-wise heading into drills. It was a good time."

Lilly's recruiting "time" cranks back up this week.


Nole Digest Top Stories