For months, reports out of Tallahassee have claimed the Pounceys are 100 percent committed to Florida State. On three occasions, James and LeShawn have told Gator Country that they should not be considered commitments to FSU even though they both grew up Seminole fans and even though reports persist that they are all but in the door at FSU. In a conversation Wednesday with Gator Country, James said that he and his brother have eliminated everybody but the Seminoles and the Gators and this is one recruiting race that should be considered a dead heat.
"We're still open although it's just Florida or Florida State that we're considering," said James. "We've talked about it and we've decided that we're going to stay in state and that we'll be happy with either Florida or Florida State."
The Pouncey twins will do three camps this summer, the Down and Dirty camp which attracts linemen from all over the country, Florida (starting Sunday) and then Florida State. The Florida and Florida State camps will provide the deciding factors when they make a commitment that James says will be final.
"Consider everything even until we camp at Florida and Florida State," said James. "That's going to decide it for us. We'll go to camp, get a chance to get to know the coaches better, especially the ones that will be coaching us on the offensive line, and we'll get to know the campus, the facilities and all that stuff better. When it's over, we'll make our choice."
They've been to the campuses at Florida and Florida State several times. They are quite familiar with the coaching staffs since they've been hotly recruited by both schools. They have also spent a lot of time on their computer checking out the recruiting sites and gathering up plenty of information about academics, campus life and the surrounding areas.
"We've tried to find out everything we can so we can make a good choice," said James. "When we go to camp there's a lot of stuff we'll be looking for and a lot of questions we'll be asking.
"We go to the recruiting places on the internet a lot, too. We've been looking at who's already there, who's thinking about going there and things like that. We want to know who are teammates are going to be, who we'll be playing with and who we'll be playing against, too."
The investigation and ground work has led the Pounceys to one certain conclusion according to James.
"It's dead even between Florida and Florida State," he said. "Both of them say we can come up to their school and compete for a spot. Both of them have made a good impression on us."
Whether it's Florida or Florida State, the Pouncey twins will in all probability graduate from high school in December and enrolling in January.
"We've been thinking about that a lot," James said. "That seems like the best thing to do, graduate early, then get started learning the playbook, competing with our new teammates and getting adjusted to college life. Everybody we talk to says it's a real advantage when you do that so we've really talked about doing it."
Getting in school won't be a problem. Both James and LeShawn have a GPA above 3.0 and they both have ACT scores that are far above the minimum requirement. They plan to major in business or sports management once they are in college.
They will spend the summer trying to improve their upper body strength and foot speed. They've set a goal of 415 pounds in the bench press and a 5.0 time in the 40. James says that those are realistic and achievable goals designed not only to prepare them for college football but also to help Lakeland earn a third straight state championship and a second straight USAToday national championship. The twins haven't played in a losing football game since they were freshmen.
"It's been so long since we lost a game that every game we play against every team is like a state championship game for them," he said. "If a team can beat us they make their whole season so we have to be better this year than we were last year."
The pressure to extend a 30-game winning streak to 45 games is enormous but James says that nobody on the Lakeland team would want it any other way.
"Sure there's pressure but the pressure keeps you motivated to win," he said. "For us seniors, we don't want to go out our senior year with a loss on our record."
Lakeland is loaded with Division I prospects. In addition to the Pouncey twins, the Dreadnaughts have running back Chris Rainey (Florida commitment), defensive tackle John Brown, defensive end Jordan Hammond, wide receiver Paul Wilson, running back Jamar Taylor, safety Steven Wilks and cornerback Ahmad Black, all of whom have plenty of Division I scholarship offers. James Pouncey has wondered aloud what might happen if one school were to offer all nine of the Lakeland prospects.
"If that happened, we're all so close I guarantee you we'd all go there together," he said. "That would be unreal. I don't know if something like that has ever happened before."