Jaamal Berry is one of those prospects who isn't on the initial radar of recruiting services, but after attending combines sees his stock start to increase. Over the past month Berry has dominated the UnderArmour/Scout.com and Nike combines, running the top 40 times at each and showing how versatile he truly is as a prospect. Those dominating performances have started to translate into more offers.
"Recruiting is really heating up. It's crazy to be honest with you. I hear a lot from schools like Florida, Florida State, Clemson and Ole Miss. I have like 15 offers now, with Rutgers, Tennessee and West Virginia being the latest to offer me. With how I've done at these combines, it's done everything for me. Recruiting already has been confusing, and now more schools are going to come calling. But, I like it."
Just what did Jaamal do? He ran the fastest 40 time so far at an UnderArmour/Scout.com combine, and he showed through the other drills and one-on-ones that he is a force at running back.
"I ran a 4.31 at the combine in Miami. I really can't explain it. I felt like when I was running that I was moving. I ran the fastest time at the Nike event, so I felt coming in I had a lot of people looking at me. I was one of the last guys to run, so when I did a lot of people were watching me. I heard before I ran that the fastest time was 4.35, so I wanted to beat that. I just put my hand down and ran. After I ran it some guys from Scout ran up to me telling me I ran a 4.31, so I was happy. I also did well in the vert, jumping 38.5 inches, and I did the standing broad jump at 9'11". In the one-on-ones I don't think I got stopped once. I think I did pretty well. I just like to compete, and I want to continue to get better."
Berry's standout performances have caught the eye of several schools, one being Florida State. The Seminole coaching staff is very high on Jaamal, and they have been trying to get the speedy tailback in for a visit for the spring game. He says he plans on attending the game, along with a few other top prospects from south Florida.
"I am going to go to the spring game with Eugene Smith and Frankie Telfort. We are going to go to Florida first because their game is earlier in the day, then we're heading to Tallahassee to catch their game. I actually spoke to Coach Fisher and Coach Coley today (Tuesday) about coming. They were saying how they like my film and think I can make an instant impact my freshman year. They feel like I can be a special player and that I run like a 240 pound back, but have the agility of a smaller guy."
So what is Jaamal looking for in his visit to FSU? He says, like every visit, he wants to see how the school uses their running backs, how the team performs and if he feels comfortable there.
"I am interested in Florida State. As a whole I am mainly wanting to learn more about them. I am looking to have a good time while I am there. With all of these schools I am just trying to learn more because I've always been more of an NFL guy over college football. I want to see how FSU uses their running backs with their gameplan. I want to see how much the running back gets the ball and if they use him in the passing game. I want to watch the team and see the effort they give."
Jaamal states that he is pretty open to the process and states that he is beginning to make some visits this spring. Florida and Ohio State are the two other schools he plans on visiting this month.
"Florida is going to be my first visit. We are going there early Saturday morning before we go to Tallahassee. It's easier for me to get both done in one day. Then next week I am flying up to Ohio State to check them out. I like those teams because they're both good teams who have played for the title recently. Again, like a lot of teams I want to get to know more about them. I know both usually have good backs."
In talking with Jaamal, you can see that he is pretty open to the schools coming after him. With a good visit this weekend to FSU, it will help establish them as a team that provides a viable option for Jaamal. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Jaamal and the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.