- Corey Dowlar, RecruitingNation
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The state of Florida, known for its tropical climate and sun, becomes a destination for many people, and many baseball players, too.
And Brett Knief, a star at Seminole State College in Sanford, Fla., via the University of North Carolina, just wasn't ready to leave quite yet.
Not so long ago, his destination looked like it would be Columbia, S.C. But Knief decided to decommit from the Gamecocks and head to Florida State instead.
"I think when it came down to it, South Carolina, of course, has a bunch of history, but I wanted to work with Coach [Mike] Martin Jr.," Knief explained. "He is one of the best hitting coaches in the country and obviously Coach [Mike] Martin Sr. I went to school in New Jersey [Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep], but then I went to Orlando for junior college and I just didn't want to leave the state of Florida to be honest with you."
Departing from the College World Series club a year ago is center fielder James Ramsey, a first-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The team's captain and emotional leader, Ramsey's vacated grounds in the center of the outfield was something the Seminoles were looking to fill. Knief, given this opportunity, is looking forward to taking full advantage of it.
"It definitely helps, and it is very attractive," said Knief of the potential playing time. "If you play a little of the time for a program like Florida State, it is an accomplishment, but they told me I can come in and make an impact right away and that is really appealing to me. I like having that weight on my shoulders. They have those expectations for you, and that is very flattering and I want to do well for them.
"Wherever I fall, I fall. When I was at North Carolina, I played in right. In junior college I played in center. I have played in left. Where I play in the field isn't the biggest thing to me because I just want to hit. I am a hitter."
Though Knief hit four home runs last season, it isn't the power that Florida State was looking to sign. He posted a lofty .376 batting average and drove in 31 runs in 2012.
That capability to drive the ball into the gaps in every field is what Knief prides himself on.
"People think I hit for power, but realistically, I am mostly a gap-to-gap hitter," he explained. "I hit a ton of doubles, I will stretch out a triple here and there. I have pretty good speed, but I try to be a line drive hitter and I don't swing for the fences at all."
Knief will arrive at Florida State for the fall semester as a redshirt junior and be eligible for the Major League Baseball Draft in June of 2013.
The state of Florida, known for its tropical climate and sun, becomes a destination for many people, and many baseball players, too.And Brett Knief, a star at Seminole State College in Sanford, Fla.