It is no secret that coming into the 2008 recruiting year it was important for Florida State that they secure at least two commitments at the running back position. With the early pledges from Jermaine Thomas and British Footman coming early, some thought FSU may be done at running back for the year. Thomas is a legitimate big-time threat, which he showed on national television back in August. Also, it has not yet been determined if he plays running back or slot receiver at FSU. Either way, he looks to be a star. Footman is still battling the academic side, and it has yet to be determined if he will qualify. With that, FSU has not stopped their pursuit of two running backs in the Scout.com top 10 running backs; one of those being 10th ranked Jamie Harper. Harper is quite possibly one of the genuine great kids in this year's class, and NoleDigest was able to catch up with the Trinity Christian star to see what has been going on with his recruitment and to see if rumors of him dropping FSU were true, and just to see what he is looking for throughout this entire process.
Early on, it seemed that the Noles were the team to beat for the Jacksonville star. Harper, who is now up to 228 pounds, then moved away from that and opened up his recruitment a bit more. Schools like Clemson and Florida have been tied to Harper, and the Gators have been rumored to be the prohibitive favorite to land the state of Florida's top back this year. When asked if there is a team out front at this time, Harper said, "I am wide open right now. There are no schools out front at this time."
With that rumor put to rest, Jamie had this to say about FSU, "I grew up a fan of Florida State. They definitely have a chance to land me. I know that they need some running backs this year, and I feel I can learn a lot from Dexter Carter. I really could see myself playing for him; he is a real cool guy who has already gotten it done all levels of football. He has a lot of knowledge about the game of football." Jamie also mentioned to NoleDigest that defensive line coach Odell Haggins has also gotten into the recruitment of him. Finally, with regards to Jimbo Fisher, Jamie states, "I could also see myself playing for Jimbo Fisher. He is an innovative guy who would be able to use my size and speed to an advantage."
That combination of size and speed is what separates Jamie and puts him on the elite level of backs in the 2008 class. He is a purely explosive back who hits the holes hard and doesn't go down easy. He has drawn some comparisons to bigger, faster backs. Jamie compares himself to a legend, "I think I compare well to Bo Jackson in terms of my size and speed that I have. I grew up watching him and used to all the time." At this stage, it is too early to state just if Harper can compare to the legend, but he is on the right track. The Trinity standout has averaged a whopping 14.1 yards per carry this season, which is dynamic considering he has had several games where teams have focused solely on him.
This is the time of year where high school players are lining up official visits and beginning to narrow down their choices of colleges. While Jamie is in the middle of determining his visit schedule, he did tell NoleDigest that he intends on visiting Florida State unofficially for the Miami game. This is another huge prospect that is looking to attend the biggest home game for the Noles this season. While it has yet to be determined if FSU gets an official, Harper intends to make another visit to the Tallahassee area during FAMU's homecoming. Expect the standout to make a visit to the Noles then, too. Over the next few months it looks as though FSU will get a couple shots to impress Harper.
As a final point, Jamie is a guy who is not in a rush to make a decision. When asked his decision time frame and the things that he is looking for in a school, Jamie replied, "I think I will be making a late decision. Right now distance is not a factor and I am looking at these three aspects: playing time, spiritual environment and the chemistry between the players and coaches. My daddy and I are going to team up together, and with the help of God, make a decision."
To sum it up, it looks as though FSU is firmly entrenched in the race for the services of Jamie Harper. With two running backs on the roster that are healthy, it seems as though the depth chart is setting up perfectly for the targeted prospects like Harper to take a look at the Noles. With the relatively close location to Tallahassee, it is not vital that FSU gets an official, especially with him making several unofficial visits in a short period of time. The race for Harper is long from over, and it looks as though the Noles will be fighting to the end in hopes of landing this top playmaker.
Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates on Jamie Harper as his senior season continues.