Gilliam selects Seminoles

Florida State's 2003 recruiting class must feature a Tallahassee flavor if it's to be considered a success. Quite simply, a handful of the nation's top prep recruits reside in the Seminoles' backyard. Well, the first local has decided to attend FSU next season, and it will be interesting to see if this signals a welcomed trend. Athlete <b>Ryan Gilliam</b> told TheTerritory.org this afternoon in this exclusive interview that he has orally committed to the Seminoles.

Florida State's 2003 recruiting class must feature a Tallahassee flavor if it's to be considered a success. Quite simply, a handful of the nation's top prep recruits reside in the Seminoles' backyard.

Well, the first local has decided to attend FSU next season, and it will be interesting to see if this signals a welcomed trend.

Standout athlete Ryan Gilliam told TheTerritory.org this afternoon in this exclusive interview that he has orally committed to the Seminoles. A superb athlete and impact player on both sides of the football at wide receiver and cornerback, Gilliam said he has been recruited as an athlete by FSU's coaching staff.

"Both JB (Jeff Bowden) and coach (Mickey) Andrews have been recruiting me -- they've been tag-teaming me,"Gilliam said from Atlanta, where he and teammate Antonio Cromartie were in-studio guests on Fox Sports New South's Countdown to Signing Day. Gilliam also announced his decision during the television broadcast.

"We are just going to see how it works out (offense or defense). Wherever I am needed, that's where I want to play."

Gilliam is a four-star cornerback ranked 64th overall on TheInsiders.com/CNNSI.com All-Region Southeast team. Gilliam is joined on that elite squad by North Florida Christian's Ernie Sims (No. 5), Cromartie (29th) and Quincy Shanks' DeCody Fagg (43rd). Sims is considered the nation's top prep recruit by TheInsiders.

Gilliam said he selected the Seminoles over Oregon, where he made an official visit Dec. 13, 2002. Gilliam was scheduled this weekened to visit Clemson, home to good friend and former Lincoln High teammate Buddy Williams. Although Gilliam's older brother Mike is a running back at Georgia, the Bulldogs did not make Gilliam's final list of favorites.

Gilliam has canceled his remaining visits, instead taking his official visit to FSU this weekend.

"I feel great – the only thing I ever wanted to do was play at Florida State," Gilliam said. "I wanted to come into this (recruiting) with an open mind. I had a great trip to Oregon and they have a great staff. It came down to staying or leaving. But in my mind, I knew Florida State was the right choice. Like Lorenzo Booker said last year, I just had to follow my heart."

"I have Garnet and Gold flowing through my veins. I've always wanted to be a Seminole."

Gilliam will join former Lincoln teammates Craphonso Thorpe, Pat Watkins and Andrew Henry-Kennon with the Seminoles. Gilliam also believes FSU will rebound quickly from its recent troubles. He also thinks other highly-regarded recruits nationally – as well as the local standouts – will want to sign with the Seminoles.

"You know FSU is going to a BCS bowl, it's gonna win 10 games, it's gonna contend for the national championship," Gilliam said. "My goal is to help Florida State get back to the glory days. I've talked to other (recruits) and they are kind of scared, because of all the bad stuff that's going on. But they all really want to come here.

"I think they are just waiting for that one person to take that stand, to come out and commit. I just want everyone to know than I am going to help get Florida State back to its glory days. I love this school. It's going to open the floodgates and they (recruits) are going to want to come here. I don't know what guys like Ernie and Cromartie and DeCody are going to do, but you do have to take care of your backyard first. And FSU is doing that. You don't want the local guys leaving."

The Seminoles have suffered nine defeats the past two seasons, including a Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia. Additionally, a FSU university police investigation continues into rumored gambling among Seminole athletes, as reported by The Tallahassee Democrat in December. FSU officials disputed that story, saying that former quarterback Adrian McPherson is the only athlete involved in the university's police investigation.

Earlier today, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was arrested for grand theft felony for his role in a shopping scheme at a local mall in December. Additionally, as reported on The Territory's football message board, Anquan Boldin announced he was leaving FSU early for the NFL.

Gilliam, who wears Boldin's jersey No. 4, is the seventh player to announce his intention to attend FSU next season.

There's certainly no denying Gilliam's enthusiasm and approach. Said Lincoln assistant head coach Tony Collins earlier this year: "The thing I like about Ryan the most is that he is the most competitive kid on our team and he shows great leadership. Ryan is also a playmaker on both sides of the ball."


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