A Bright Future

Florida State has changed its recruiting strategy recently, and it's been paying off for them with 5 commitments before the end of February. On Thursday they extended another early offer to one of South Carolina's top defensive backs for the 2009 recruiting class. NoleDigest caught up with Justin Bright to get his thoughts on his recruitment and what schools are leading for him at this time.

Justin Bright is one of the top defensive backs in South Carolina for the 2009 recruiting class. While his offer sheet is small at this time, he received a major offer on Thursday when the Seminoles extended on offer to him. "I got the offer from Florida State today. My coach told me about it at lunch time. Other than Presbyterian I haven't gotten any offers. Schools like Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia have been talking to me too," said Bright.

For Justin, receiving his first big-time offer was a big deal to him. What he didn't know was that he was scheduled to get the official offer extended to him Thursday night at his football banquet. He said, "Coach Jimbo Fisher was the special guest speaker for our banquet tonight. They were gonna tell me in person about the offer, but my coach couldn't hold off any longer. I got to talk to the coaches after my workout. Coach Mickey Andrews told me he liked my highlight film and that I was aggressive. He said he thinks I fit his scheme. I like the man coverage they run and think I'd do well. He said he liked how I laid my shoulder into people and the quickness I had. He also found out that up until this year I was the back-up to Willy Korn, so I've played on both sides of the ball. Playing quarterback I think has helped me playing safety."

Coach Fisher was also a proponent of offering the standout safety prospect. "Coach Fisher said he wanted to check me out and see how I was. When he saw my film he talked it over with Jody Allen and Coach Andrews about offering me. I talked to Coach Allen when he was recruiting Everett (Dawkins). Coach Fisher liked how I was really the 6'2" I was listed and that I was hard working and committed to the weight room. Coach Fisher mentioned to me coming down there for the spring game and Junior Day they have coming at the end of March. I really didn't get much of a chance to talk to him," said Bright.

Everett Dawkins was a teammate of Justin's this past year and is a signee to FSU's 2008 recruiting class. As it stands right now Dawkins may play a role in where Bright plays his college football. He said, "Everett is going down for the spring game so I will probably go with him, we are close and have a good friendship. He has always looked after me since I transferred here my freshman year. I think he may have put a good word or two in for me with the coaches (laughs). He may play a part because it'd be someone that I know."

With the offer from FSU, there was scuttlebutt that a commitment may happen. When the offer was extended it wasn't long before coaches and former teammates at the state colleges began calling asking him not to commit. "Coaches from South Carolina called my coaches after they heard that I got the offer from FSU. They wanted me to hold on and wait. Willy Korn was telling me not to commit and that he thought the coaches were going to offer me. Basically they were asking and checking what I was thinking and feeling about the offer from FSU," said Bright.

Growing up in South Carolina, Justin was a big Clemson Tiger fan. He told NoleDigest that won't play a part in his decision. When asked, he said he had 3 schools that he favored at this time:

Florida State: "The fact that they offered me first means something to me. They thought enough of me and made the commitment to me that they offered me and I am going to do the same and visit and check them out. I enjoyed talking to Coach Andrews. They run some of the same schemes we run at Byrnes. He told me I could play both safety spots and that it was up to me. He liked how I am in the National Honor Society and that I have a 4.3 GPA and I'm ranked 38th in my class. Right now I'd say they are my favorite."

Clemson: "Ever since I was a kid they've been my favorite. I used to dream about running down that hill before the games. My grandfather would really like me to go there. I'm taking everyone into consideration and I'm taking everyone into consideration. I want the best fit."

South Carolina: "The facilities and all are under renovation. I went to their Junior Day and had a good time."

He did say that other than these three schools, Georgia and Presbyterian are among his favorites.

While he is a year away from graduating high school, he is still considered a very good prospect. Justin says he doesn't intend to rest on his laurels, though. He said, "I'm only 183 pounds right now. I'd like to get up to 190 pounds before the season. I have a 33 inch vertical, but I am trying to get that to 35 or 36. Overall I want to continue to improve off and on the field. Also, defensive backs can never be too good at man coverage. I want to work on that more."

The fact that Bright has played quarterback makes him feel that he understands the game more, and that it helps him excel as a safety. "Because I used to play quarterback, I think I understand the game and know where a quarterback is trying to go with the ball," said Bright. "I make all the checks on the defense and I am good in run support. I can lay a good lick and I read the ball very well."

With his first big offer in hand, Justin doesn't know when he'll make a decision. With some offers coming from schools like Clemson and South Carolina, his recruitment is still a long ways away from being finished. He said, "I'm not sure on a decision. Everett told me that when I go down there (to FSU), I am going to fall in love with it. I'm not sure Clemson will offer because of all the safeties they've gotten lately, but we'll see."

Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Justin and the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.

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