Olivier Vernon is rated as Scout.com's 9th best defensive end in the nation for the 2009 class, and he is considered to be the top end in Florida for this year. He is coming off of a junior season that helped put himself on the map as he amassed 52 tackles (32 solo), 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss. The American Senior standout committed to Miami back in March, but as the recruiting process has gotten more in gear Vernon has opened things up some. He was in Tallahassee this past weekend as they hosted numerous recruits for their Showtime camp. According to Olivier the long weekend went very well.
"It was a long weekend and was very good," said Vernon. "I have never seen anything like that before. Being around the college atmosphere like that was really cool. While I didn't participate in the camp itself I was able to check a bunch of stuff out. I've never been around so many NFL players before like I was at the Showtime camp. It was a new thing for me but it was a cool time for me."
Florida State coach James Coley has been one guy who's working hard on recruiting the talented 4-star recruit. Vernon spent a lot of time with Coach Coley this weekend as the new Seminole coach showed Olivier around.
"Coach Coley took me around to see the stadium," explained Vernon. "He gave me a tour to see the all of the facilities. I also got a chance to hang out with some of the players which was cool. The facilities are pretty nice. FSU is a big school so I kind of expected the facilities to be better than most. I also got to watch the 3-D highlight film. I've never seen anything like it and I thought it was nice. The coaches were just showing me a lot of love this past weekend which was nice."
The visit to Florida State was the first for Olivier. While he's been committed to Miami for 4 months the Seminole coaching staff has not let up on recruiting him. He says that aspect stood out to him during the weekend trip.
"Most of the coaches were showing me love," said Vernon. "Coach Coley was joking around with me telling me he wanted me to play tight end for him. Coach Allen was saying how they really want to see me in an FSU uniform. The coaches overall showed me love like the coaches at Miami. It was nice to be around."
With the long weekend visit to FSU over Vernon told NoleDigest that he plans on turning his attention back to finishing off summer school strong, as well as starting preparations for 2-a-days in a few weeks.
"I finish up school Wednesday and I plan on getting back into the weightlifting program," stated Vernon. "I want to focus on getting ready for 2-a-days on the 11th. I have goals that I want to achieve my senior year. First and most important is that I want my team to make the playoffs. Second is that I want to set some records. I want to have at least 15 sacks this year."
Olivier says that for now the visits are done. He has an idea of how the visits will unfold during the year but he's waiting to see how things line up.
"I have Florida State, Miami, USF and Alabama slated for officials. For the other one I am not sure about because I have to look at some things. I'd say those 4 schools would be my top one's right now. It's hard to say but right now those are the schools I'd put in there. I haven't heard much from Alabama since the spring. I was supposed to go up there this weekend but I can't make it."
Olivier told NoleDigest that he's still committed to Miami, but he also said something's may happen when his decision time comes. He hinted that a surprise may in store for recruiting fans.
"This visit really opened up my eyes a little bit more. I want to take my officials during the season. I want to go back to FSU and check out a game to see what the atmosphere is like during a game. I'd rate this weekend a 10 but I really want to come back and see it on an official. I'm still committed to Miami and the state of it is the same it's been. When I get to that point when it's time to choose a college I am going to let you all see what happens. I don't want to say too much but you all will see when that time comes."
Whether or not Olivier switches his commitment from Miami he still had an excellent time at FSU this past weekend. The staff showed him how much they like him, leading to Vernon coming away impressed. It looks like it may shape up to be a battle for Miami as they'll have to fight of the Seminoles before it's all said and done. Stay tuned to NoleDigest as we track Olivier's recruitment, as well as the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.