Jacobbi McDaniel is a crown jewel in the 2009 recruiting class. Luckily for the Florida State Seminoles, they've been able to secure the commitment of the life-long fan before the 2009 recruiting season begins. For FSU, getting this All-American candidate and potential top-10 player allows them to carry the momentum from the 2008 class into 2009. Words cannot express how big this is for the Noles, but it may be even bigger for McDaniel. For Jacobbi, his lifelong dream is going to come true. "I'm feeling really good right now. I committed early because I know where I want to be, and I don't really want to go through all the attention. It's okay and all, but I'm a Seminole," expressed McDaniel.
Over the past few years when a recruit has said Florida State was their dream school, it usually has meant bad things for the Seminoles. With Jacobbi, it's something he truly means, and it's a goal in his life he has always wanted to achieve. According to him, he's always been a Nole, saying, "As a kid I always liked FSU. I like that they have great tradition and that it's 50 miles away from home. Tallahassee is a major city and a great college town. I love how Coach Odell (Haggins) develops his players. He uses his players in a variety of ways, and that's what I want. Also, you can't forget the amount of talent Florida State has put into the NFL. That's my ultimate goal."
Many fans and insiders have pegged Jacobbi as a Florida State lean for quite some time. Between the love of the Seminoles and the relationships with the coaching staff, there really was not much of an inclination that that assumption wasn't true. In the end the relationship with Odell Haggins played a major role for Jacobbi. "I love Coach Odell," said McDaniel. "When I told him I was committed he was amazed and very happy. He was telling me that he was proud of me and stuff like that. I'm just really comfortable around him, and I cannot wait to play for him."
In an update with Jacobbi last week NoleDigest talked to McDaniel about the whole situation with the announcement that Florida was his leader. He said that the visit was good for him and that he was interested in what the Gators had to offer. After time to think about it, he says that there really was no comparison. He said, "When I announced that Florida was my favorite I had just come off the visit and all. They did things different than FSU and went about things their own way. I sat down and wrote out question about each school, and it wasn't really close to who was best for me. FSU is a great school and their academics get a bad rap. I chose the Seminoles because they are right for me. I'm committed and once I make a decision there is no going back."
There are several reasons why Jacobbi decided to pull the trigger so soon. Between wanting to get the process over with and wanting to help recruit, the main reason was because he plans on being an early enrollee. "Enrolling early is very important to me. I want to get in there and get a head start on my academics. In the classroom is where enrolling early is going to pay off for me. I'll be able to get ahead in my classes and I can hit the weightroom really hard. Getting in early is just better. With the fact that FSU only signed 3 tackles in two years, it will also help the team me coming in the spring of 2009. I'm just excited, man," expressed McDaniel.
Much like the 2008 class, the coaches want to get some big-time players to commit early. It helps secure positions early, and it allows prospects that want to help recruit do so. McDaniel says he wants to follow the path of Nigel Bradham and E.J. Manuel in helping recruit for the Noles. He said, "I'm going to help recruit as much as I can. I plan on getting phone numbers from the coaches and get going with it. I'm going to tell these guys that Tallahassee is a great city and it's a great place to be. I think it's the place where talent should go. I've been talking to Chris Thompson a lot about it over the past week or so and I think he's close. I'm going to start with the defensive line because we need depth. There is plenty of opportunity there and I'm going to make sure we get the guys up front so we can abuse offensive lines."
Florida State has developed a pipeline from Madison County over the past 5 years. In every class since 2004 the Seminoles have inked at least one player from the reigning state champions. Jacobbi hopes that he can keep the good name of Madison going at FSU. "I want to keep that whole thing going. I want to make sure I'm one of those kids that come from Madison and do really well at FSU. We've had good players come from here, and I want to be the best. I want to make people proud," explained McDaniel.
As we saw with some of the top players in the 2008 class, there's often pressure to stay home and play for the hometown team. Jacobbi tells NoleDigest that he's never felt the pressure to go to Florida State, but when he gets there he'll feel a different type of pressure. He said, "I don't feel any pressure in that I have to go to FSU. I've never felt like I was forced to go there. When I do get there, I will feel some personal pressure in wanting to succeed. Once I get there and get I'll be okay. But I'm sure I'll be nervous and all that. One thing that I like is that I never felt like I was being made into going to FSU," said McDaniel.
With the big decision out of the way, Jacobbi has to do one major thing first. "I haven't told my family yet (laughs)," stated McDaniel. "I'm going to tell them tonight. My mom doesn't know yet, but I'm sure she is going to be really proud of me. Now that this is over with I'm just going to work on getting bigger, faster and stronger. I'm also going to focus on winning another state title. That's a big thing."
Today was a busy day for Jaccobi as he hosted several media outlets for interviews about this big decision. Before he got off the phone he wanted to say one thing to the Seminole nation, "We're going to be better in 2 years. I'm going to help bring FSU back. We will be back."