Charles Strong (Photo by Corey Bender)

FSU running backs pledge Charles Strong takes in a Florida practice. Are the Gators in play?

Charles Strong made an unplanned stop at Florida this week. Where does the Gators stand with the Florida State running backs pledge?

Charles Strong watched on this week as Florida returned to work on the practice field, however, it was not a planned trip by the Florida State pledge - actually the running back does not even call it a visit. 

"It wasn't a visit," he told Scout. "I wasn't planning to go."

Strong, who is from the Gainesville area, was working out at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium when the coaches and the players were making their way to the practice facilities to continue their spring ball schedule - that is when Strong decided to make a quick stop and watch. 

"The players like Cece Jefferson, he is like one of my brothers. He is a big factor in my life," said Strong.  "He is one of the reasons why I want to go to Florida to watch practice. He, Cece and [running back Jordan] Scarlett, those are great players that I kind of look up to. Freddie [Swain], he is also a big factor, coming from North Marion, they are coming from the same place that I'm coming from. They are coming from a small town like me and doing big things. So I look up to them in that point." 

Strong committed to the Noles last year, however like FSU, Strong has had a relationship with the Gators since he was in eighth grade. 

"They've pretty much watched me grow up," said Strong. "Florida State watched me grow up too. [Running backs] Coach [Jay] Graham has recruited me since the eighth grade too. Dalvin Cook has been a big factor for me. I am looking at my opportunities because you don't know what schools have to offer." 

One thing that has changed at Florida is who is set to coach his position group. Florida announced the addition of Ja'Juan Seider to the staff in February, and Strong had the opportunity to speak to the new assistant this week. 

The coach [Seider] understands his player," said Strong.  "He is willing to spend time with his players. He is not like those coaches that would sit there and cuss at you. He doesn't want to confuse you and make you mad; he is good coach. He is a coach and he is also a good father figure." 

At this time, Strong hsays he is "with Florida State 100 percent." But what does other schools need to do to flip him? Do other schools have a chance? 

"To others school to have chance, it's pretty much a family thing hat I got with Florida State," Strong explains. "With the teammates I have that are committed to Florida State like I'm real cool with like James Cook. Those are teammates that I follow. Then with the Florida Gators, everyone is a big family. Everything is part of a big family. I just met the new running backs coach. Thats a big thing. Just getting in touch with him and talking to him more.

"I'm looking for coaches that will lead me into the right direction, getting to you the next level and making sure everything is right in my part, off the field and on the field," said Strong. "I'm also looking at the team with the best offensive line. Florida State right now has a good offensive line. I know running behind them I would do really well." 

Living close to the Swamp comes with some pressures. Strong has lost count at how many times he has been told he should be a Gator-even family members have joined in the debate. 

"I have to say I get a lot of pressure from my uncle. My uncle and pretty much my idol is my dad. I look up to him. He used to be a Gator fan, but then I committed and that pretty much disappeared. Friends and cousins also say for me to be a Gator." 

All jokes aside, Strong says his family is fully behind him no matter what, and will even wear some FSU colors on game day. 

Strong plans to keep his "eyes open," as he continues to hear from other schools like Michigan, Ohio State and Clemson. He has no visits set but that does not mean he will not take future trips-as he points out with his trip to Florida, that was an unplanned visit. 

http://www.scout.com/player/206460-charles-strong


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