The key to this year's class is obvious: FSU must finish strong in its backyard as well make an impact in California. The six combined players from Tallahassee and the Los Angeles area include Parade All-Americans Ernie Sims, Antonio Cromartie and Whitney Lewis.
Noted for its stellar closes on signing day, the Seminoles' will need one if this class is to be judged among the nation's elite. The past few days, however, haven't been kind to FSU.
Defensive end Jarvis Moss of Denton (Texas) High School selected the Florida Gators over the Seminoles Tuesday. A day earlier, fellow defensive lineman Marcus Thomas of Jacksonville also selected UF over FSU after orally committing to the Seminoles last summer.
Despite being snubbed by that duo, FSU ended Tuesday on a nice note, when highly-touted lineman Andre Fluellen of Georgia selected FSU over Vanderbilt.
"I think Florida State has good academics and that is what I wanted to learn about on my visit," Fluellen said of his visit to FSU last weekend.
"It has always been my dream to play there and no I get to do it. I couldn't give up on that. Vandy made it tough. Florida State also needs defensive tackles and I think I will get the opportunity to play next season and that is all I want."
Locally, the Seminoles will sign Fagg, a standout receiver, and expect to keep defensive back/receiver Ryan Gilliam of Lincoln High. Gilliam orally committed to the Seminoles last month but recently backed off his decision. Athlete Antonio Cromartie, USA Today's Defensive Player of the Year, is thought to remain a tossup between FSU and UF, while Sims, considered the nation's top recruit, hasn't tipped his hand at all.
Fagg, Cromartie and Sims took official visits to FSU last weekend, and Gilliam also showed on Friday to hang with the group. Gilliam had made his official visit to FSU earlier in January.
FSU, Georgia, UF and Miami ranked among Sims' favorites heading into the final week. While his parents both attended FSU and the Seminoles have been long considered the front runner, recruiting will be never known as an exact science. Last year, for example, highly-touted tailback Lorenzo Booker of Ventura, Calif., surprised many when he selected FSU over Notre Dame on a national television broadcast.
Finges are crossed the Seminoles can duplicate that West Coast magic.
Receiver Whitney Lewis, who also hails from Ventura St. Bonaventure, had been considered a lock for FSU. Another Californian, offensive lineman Kevin Brown of Long Beach Poly, ranks among the nation's top 10 offensive tackles and is torn between FSU and UCLA.
Decision time can be a hectic experience for some. For others, such as Fagg, the time to sign a collegiate scholarship will represent a milestone. In fact, Fagg also received a telephone call from Quincy Shanks alum Dexter Jackson, a former Seminole defensive back who earned Super Bowl MVP honors for his perfomance in Tampa Bay's win over the Oakland Raiders two weekends ago.
"The visit just re-affirmed everything we thought of FSU and what it has to offer," said Don Fagg, DeCody's father. "DeCody was a lot more relaxed and he will fit well into their (offensive) scheme."
FSU coaches are hopeful others follow Fagg's lead Wednesday. Locally, more than 40 area players are expected to sign football scholarships today. For a complete list, check out today's Tallahassee Democrat at http://www.tdo.com/news/sports/
Editor's Note: DeCody Fagg and his father Don will be guests on The Sports Authorities Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WTAL 1450 AM. The hour-long show will be devoted to recruiting and National Signing Day. Former FSU receiver Kez McCorvey is also scheduled to be a studio host along with Jim Henry.