Jimbo Fisher: FSU is one of teams that can play and recruit against SEC

How much of a challenge is it for a non-SEC school located in SEC territory to recruit against the almighty conference that has won six national championships in a row?

Jimbo Fisher would know. He’s the coach at Florida State, one of the few schools that hasn’t been smashed, clobbered and choked to death on the recruiting trail during the SEC’s golden era.

FSU's Jimbo Fisher (AP)

FSU's Jimbo Fisher on recruiting vs. SEC: “It’s a challenge but you need to remember this: Florida State and Miami were winning them (national championships) in the 80s and 90s" (AP)

“It’s a challenge but you need to remember this: Florida State and Miami were winning them [national championships] in the 80s and 90s,” Fisher told the AJC. “So Florida State is one of the teams that can line up and play with the SEC. We can recruit against them, and we have as good of a football tradition as any of those guys.

“We’ve had just as many great football players come through FSU, and kids know that. We just want to go get more great players. It doesn’t matter who we are recruiting against, if it’s the SEC or whomever. We think our conference [the ACC] is great but they’re hot right now over in the SEC as far as winning national championships. But at Florida State, we can recruit and compete against anybody.”

Earlier this month, Florida State finished with the No. 6 recruiting class in the nation, according to Rivals. The Seminoles raided Alabama for four recruits, including No. 1 QB recruit Jameis Winston, and plucked one out of Georgia – Stone Mountain High School LB Markuss Eligwe.

FSU’s 19-member class had prized prospects from Texas, California, New Jersey and Maryland – validating the school’s claim as a “national brand” despite being located in the heart of SEC land.

“It’s a great tradition at Florida State,” Fisher said. “You go back to all the players these kids grew up watching. And now we’re getting back with these elite [recruiting] classes, we’ve won 19 games in the last two years and we’re playing very good football. We’re right on the edge of getting back into the national title hunt and doing the things we need to do.

“Florida State has a great appeal. People like Florida State. It’s a national brand name. You know, why did Alabama go through that slump when Bear Bryant was still a national name? You know what I mean? Certain places have a national appeal, and you never lose it because you have history and you have tradition.”

Even though Florida State only got one Georgia recruit in 2012, the state is still a high priority for Fisher. “Georgia is very high on our list. We concentrate on Florida and Georgia. We sit here in North Florida. We have such great access to Florida and South Georgia. Atlanta is only four hours away. It is very close. We have great access, and Georgia has great football … we put a lot of coaches into recruiting the state of Georgia.”

The Lowndes-to-FSU pipeline? AJC Super 11 LB Josh Harvey-Clemons cracked it by signing with UGA (AJC)

The Lowndes-to-FSU pipeline? AJC Super 11 LB Josh Harvey-Clemons cracked it by signing with UGA (AJC)

That one player, again, was AJC Super 11 selection Markuss Eligwe, who committed to FSU last spring but still took official visits to UGA and Cal. Eligwe’s trip to Cal was on the final weekend before signing day, and he liked it so much that he announced he was going to wait until the week after signing day to make his final decision, which did not sit too well with Jimbo. Eligwe ended up going back to Plan A and signing with the Seminoles on signing day.

“I still thought he was going to sign with us on signing day all along,” Fisher said. “Kids always go through things with recruiting and he’s a great kid, a phenomenal young man. I think he’s going to have a great future here. With his size and his speed, and that intelligence, I think he’s a complete football player. With [the Cal situation], you go through stuff like that sometimes in recruiting. But Eligwe is easy to talk to, and we talked. And he wanted to sign with the rest of our guys.”

The “one that got away” was Josh Harvey-Clemons, the Lowndes High School linebacker who committed to UGA on national TV but waited until the next day to turn in his scholarship papers. It caused a crack in the Lowndes-to-FSU pipeline of football talent.

“Josh elected to go to UGA, and Georgia is a great school,” Fisher said. “We had gotten a lot of great players from that area before … Greg Reid, Telvin Smith, Tyler Hunter and Gerald Demps. But Josh made his own choice. He made a good choice. We would’ve loved to have had him. But we’ll worry about the guys we signed.”

This past season, FSU recovered from a 2-3 start, including a stunning loss to Wake Forest, to finish with a 9-4 record. Fisher was in his second season of replacing FSU coaching legend Bobby Bowden, who won national championships in 1993 and 1999.


Steve Spurrier: 8-0 vs. UGA, Florida, Tennessee and Clemson last two years

Steve Spurrier: 8-0 vs. UGA, Florida, Tennessee and Clemson last two years


– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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173 comments Add your comment

A person SMART enough to know......

March 1st, 2012
1:16 pm

March 1st, 2012
12:09 am

The upside to great recruiting is that you have all the talent needed to build an elite team. The downside is that you end up in the hot seat if that elite team doesn’t materialize.

Unless you are RICHT & BOBO at UGa. The dWag fans are just happy with the good christian man and the continuing arrest. it is all good in Athens when the team is the 5th best in the SEC but #1 or #2 in the SEC least.


March 1st, 2012
1:56 pm

So “A person smart enough to know,” if the girl in the video was dumb, stupid, etc. What does that say about a viewer like you who actually thinks she went to FSU? I bet you actually think the video was ‘real’ too (in that she honestly thought his name was Jerry, plays for whatever teams). But you’re so smart I bet you signed up to follow that dumb girl on twitter, don’t blame FSU because we’re the school she knew she would get some attention for pretending to go to.

I dropped my fried twinkie

March 1st, 2012
2:04 pm

so BP haha you actually KNOW all about it and you are calling somebody else out?

A person SMART enough to know......

March 1st, 2012
2:13 pm

BP…I never saw the video I heard about it and I wouldn’t doubt it is TRUE. many college students are plain STUPID. Look at how many voted for Obama last time and now most of those have actually graduated by now. God save us if they are the brightest the future has to offer.


March 1st, 2012
3:04 pm

Then why don’t you get your rear-end in the SEC and back up the big talk Jimbo?


March 1st, 2012
3:18 pm

Say what you want about Jimbo. But his reputation speaks for itself. Listen to his players speak about him. He is a great teacher of team work, character, values and leadership by example. 3-0against the Sec and 1-0 against the all mighty Alabama. G-dawg you obviously haven’t set foot on campus because FSU is known for their beautiful women. FAMU is not. FEAR THE SPEAR>>>——///–>


March 1st, 2012
6:21 pm

FSU has a tradition equal to the top SEC schools? What is Jimbo smoking? b4 bowden in the 80s you had squat for tradition. Go to wikipedia and look up cfb years in the 40s, 50’s etc and youll mostly see the same names you do now in the top 20. Fsu aint on the list


March 1st, 2012
7:27 pm

Jimbo is only a recruiting expert/ living room closer promoted to the point of incompetence. Groomed by the Devil himself evil Nicky….”Nick Saban da Devil Bobby……da Devil”—Mrs. Boucher aka Mama. Mother of a South Central, LA. linebacker.


March 1st, 2012
9:23 pm

Hey Jimbo….that’s not sayin’ much….heck, Boise State can play and recruit against the SEC…just ask them Dawgs. Boise recruits underrated (by Racist Rivals) 2&3 stars….while Georgia recruits overrated 4&5 stars…..then they meet at the Dome and who dominates?

Kenny Fincher

March 1st, 2012
10:10 pm

Isn’t this the team who lost to W.F. they are having a hard enough time in the AWFUL COAST CONFERENCE. When was the last time that they have won it. Hasn’t it been a while?


March 1st, 2012
11:57 pm

Of course; his best recruiting point? ” You don’t have to play against those teams in the SEC. Those guys are GREAT! Come here and brag every year about ‘this being the year’, win 5 or 6 games, get arrested a few times, then leave school early. Come to FSU.”


March 2nd, 2012
10:05 pm

how can yall say ND is better than FSU…didnt FSU beat the all mighty ND in the bowl game. Just wait and see this year FSU will have the number 1 D in the nation with a o that does enough to win it all bleep all SEC teams.


March 3rd, 2012
12:14 am

Jimbo has been been running the show and calling all the shots for 4 years NOT 2. And these are ALL his recruits. He always gets tripped up in several games a year…this year will be no different. NO ACC title and NO BCS Bowl…..again. Good coach but NOT an elite coach. His play calling leaves fans scratching their heads almost every game.

State Champs

March 3rd, 2012
1:01 am

To all you FSU haters…UGA is bad, Florida is a mess, UM is on life support. UGA..when was the last time you won anything of worth?? You had a decent year but bearly beat a bad Florida team and lost to them last year. UGA fans think it’s 1980 every year..lol. Have fun in the See Everybody Cheats conference!! FSU is on the rise and you folks know it.

Tech Forever

March 3rd, 2012
11:55 am

A crutch curriculum, lot sof babes, and good coaching = consistent solid recruiting

FS who?

March 3rd, 2012
4:54 pm

FSU hasn’t done a thing in at least a decade. They seem to be on the same track as Notre Dame–the fast track to being irrelevant. The only thing keeping FSU from already being irrelevant is playing in the Almost Competitive Conference and they still struggle to win 9 games. That ain’t hatin’, it’s factin’.


March 4th, 2012
1:20 pm

I like wineing and dineing clients

road runner

March 4th, 2012
6:14 pm

I believe Tech has the highest % of gay men of any college in the south. We all know Atlanta has a big gay community.


March 4th, 2012
9:24 pm

Of course FSU can compete with the SEC for top notch talent. Look at the majors it can offer.

Can it do anything with the talent? UGA has had perennial top-10 recruiting classes, and should have a fistful of BCS NCs by now. Will FSU become UGA South – - lots of talent, but perennial underachiever.


March 5th, 2012
11:33 am

FSU and Jimbo have just fallen into the luckiest situation they could possibly be in. The ACC is a joke so there’s barely any competition. Miami, the team the ACC bought to headline the league along with FSU, can’t figure out how to win games even when its talent is superior. And possibly the luckiest thing that happened to FSU was Urban Meyer forgetting that Tebow, Spikes, Harvin, etc. only had four years of eligibilty and half-assing his recruiting from ‘08 onward. If UF was even half the team that it was in ‘08 and ‘09, UF could easily have extended the streak over FSU to 8 wins.


March 5th, 2012
2:06 pm

FSU can compete with and beat anyone in the country on the field and on the trail. All they need to do is to stay healthy. It’s that simple. FSU was destroyed with an inexplicable numer of injuries in 2011. A healthy FSU unit can beat Alabama, LSU, Southern Cal–you name it–any day of the week. Fisher has loaded this team with talent.

Just stay healthy, boys.

Robert Nkemdiche

March 5th, 2012
2:23 pm

FSU will compete with any program in the country.

UGA and UF fans calling Free Shoes University is hilarious given their own very recent infractions. UGA just won the Fulmer Cup in 2010. Amnesia of oneself is a very tough to overcome. The incident at FSU took place over 13 yrs ago. That’s like someone bringing up Charlie Pell to UF fans…..just really has no bearing on football in this century.

UGA has and will continue to lose under Mark Richt. FSU fans tried to tell you he was a mediocre coach. Just because your program isn’t as bad as it has been (before Richt) doesn’t mean he is a great coach who can win. The state of Georgia is so rich with talent and Richt still can’t win big. Alabama, LSU, FSU, UF and others continue to cherry-pick whomever they want and UGA fans are complacent with their mediocre coach.


March 8th, 2012
9:59 am

Jimbo Fisher = Ray Goff