Florida State Seminoles: Alex Collins

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South Florida is arguably the most fertile area in the country for recruiting, and college football coaches annually flock to the talent-rich area to try to land a small piece of a very large pie. The large area located south of Lake Okeechobee that includes the football hotbeds of Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties has produced 45 ESPN 300 members in the last two recruiting cycles and almost half (22) signed with out-of-state schools.

Several Big Ten recruiting targets will announce their college choices on national signing day, and perhaps none will generate more regional attention than Malik McDowell. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive lineman from Southfield, Mich., rated as the nation's No. 60 overall player by ESPN Recruiting Nation, is deciding among four schools, three of which are in the Big Ten: Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State.

McDowell visited Ohio State last weekend after visiting Michigan State the previous week. His destination remains a mystery, and he'll announce his choice at 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.

[+] EnlargeMalik McDowell
Tom Hauck/ESPNMalik McDowell and his parents apparently have different views on where he should attend school.
While McDowell has had positive things to say about all four schools, his parents are hesitant about their son playing close to home. Some recruiting analysts have considered Michigan State the favorite to land McDowell, including ESPN's Tom Luginbill, and McDowell told Rivals.com that he's most comfortable with MSU. But McDowell's mother made it clear Monday that she would prefer her son not end up in East Lansing.

From the Detroit Free Press:
"We don't want him at MSU," Malik's mother, Joya Crowe, said Monday night, and she gave multiple reasons.

"Something happened; I don't want to put it out there what it was," she said of her son's recent official visit, "but I had a bad experience at MSU."

Asked to elaborate, she said: "It was something on my end, I don't want to get into specifics."

Crowe said she and Malik's father, Greg McDowell, also fear "too much social life" at MSU.

"I want him to get a good education," Crowe said. "Not that he can't get a good education at MSU. But he also wants to be a first-round pick after college. Nothing is guaranteed, but I don't think their defensive line coach has the background for that."

Crowe's last remark is a bit of a head-scratcher. Didn't Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun become a second-team All-American last year under the watch of first-year line coach Ron Burton?

As Free Press reporter Joe Rexrode wrote on Twitter, Crowe's comment about Burton reeks of negative recruiting from another McDowell suitor. Would it be enough to push McDowell away from MSU?

The bigger issue is the apparent desire of both of McDowell's parents for their son to leave the state because of the potential distractions there. Ohio State fans certainly hope it's the case. It would be a blow to the Big Ten if McDowell picks Florida State, as the Big Ten needs to keep as many of the region's elite prospects as possible.

We've seen recruits defy their parents' wishes with their college choices before. Running back Alex Collins, a 2013 recruit, wanted to attend Arkansas but his mother refused to sign his national letter of intent, wanting Collins to play for Miami. Collins eventually got his father to sign the letter, and he rushed for 1,026 as a freshman for the Razorbacks this past season.

It will be interesting to see how much influence McDowell's folks have on his selection.

As Crowe told the Free Press, "It'll be one of the hats on the table. I hope he makes the right decision."

Signing day primer: Florida State 

January, 23, 2013
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Who is leaving: Florida State is losing three top-flight defensive ends to the NFL draft this season, led by draft-eligible junior Bjoern Werner. Senior Tank Carradine's stock would have been much higher if not for a late knee injury in the regular season finale against Florida. Brandon Jenkins, who was lost for most of the 2012 season because of a foot injury, will also be heading to the pros.

The offensive line only loses one player, junior Menelik Watson, but it is a big one. He's likely to go in the first couple of rounds and had a major impact for Florida State in just one season.

Xavier Rhodes is the lone corner departing, but it's also a big one. Aside from Rhodes, the secondary will return largely intact.


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Texas coaches visit ESPN 150 RB 

January, 11, 2013
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The Longhorns have jumped into the Alex Collins sweepstakes later than most, but the No. 57 player in the ESPN 150 is all for giving Texas a fair shot at winning his commitment.


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Walker gives Pruitt, FSU momentum 

January, 8, 2013
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Let's face it, things weren't going great for Florida State of late on the recruiting trail. Well, up until Monday night, anyway.

Amidst all of the turmoil that comes with multiple coaching changes -- and the loss of top recruiters at that -- the Seminoles had slipped a little bit. The class wasn't in a position to be in the top five, to which FSU fans have become accustomed in the last few years.

Florida State needed something big, something unexpected and something positive.

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RB Alex Collins has two visits remaining 

December, 31, 2012
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FULLERTON, Calif. -- Running back Alex Collins (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation) has plenty of options when it comes to a future school, which isn’t exactly making the recruiting process an easy one for the 5-foot-11, 195-pound ESPN 150 prospect.

Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee and Wisconsin are the six schools remaining for Collins, and the senior said all six are on equal footing at this point.

“A lot of people wonder what is my leading school, but there is no leader. I'm neutral toward each school," Collins said. "I want to take my last two official visits and then make my decision after that."

Collins already took official visits to Wisconsin, Florida State and Florida. It's no often that you take see the same head coach on two separate visits, but that's what Collins will do later this month, as he will take a visit to Miami on Jan. 18 and then Arkansas on Jan. 25. Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema recruited Collins while he was at Wisconsin and will do the same now that he is at Arkansas.


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Discover Orange Bowl preview 

December, 28, 2012
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DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL

Florida State (11-2, 7-1) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0)

Where: Miami

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FSU's recruiting Christmas wish list 

December, 24, 2012
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Christmas, for many, is a time to gather with close friends and family, eat way too much, catch up on all the happenings and exchange gifts.

But, for a moment, let's imagine what presents would reside underneath a Florida State fan's Christmas tree on Tuesday morning.

Stacy Coley
Jeff Peoples/IntersportFSU fans would be more than pleased to get WR Stacy Coley.
With Ryan Green (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic) already on board, ESPN 150 running back Alex Collins (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation) would be the perfect icing on the cake at the tailback position. At one point, FSU fans would have expected to unwrap this gift with little surprise, but the road to his signature has become less clear.

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NoleNation recruiting mailbag 

December, 6, 2012
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NoleNation addresses questions from the fan base about Florida State recruiting as we head toward national signing day.

Matthew Thomas
Jeff Peoples/IntersportIf Matthew Thomas isn't the top player left on FSU's board, he's pretty close.
ktruba asks, "What committed recruits out there are the most critical to FSU at snagging for the 2013 class?"

Dowlar: For me, the top remaining guy is Matthew Thomas. He is an instant impact guy at the linebacker position and Florida State has been all over him for a long time now. The Seminoles are probably the leader in the clubhouse, and from that position, they can't afford to lose him.

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Several FSU commits, targets in ESPN 300 

November, 7, 2012
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At first glance, this year's Florida State recruiting class lacks the star power of the two before it. That isn't to say it is void of quality, though. But Seminoles do have some offensive firepower on the list, notably four-star prospects Ryan Green, Isaiah Jones, and Levonte Whitfield. In the trenches, which has been an area of focus for the Seminoles coaching state in recent cycles, offensive linemen Austin Golson and Ira Denson and defensive end Davin Bellamy have them off to a good start.

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Collins opens back up 

November, 7, 2012
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ESPN 300 running back Alex Collins (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation) has decommitted from Miami, South Plantation head coach Doug Gatewood has confirmed.

Collins, who originally committed to the Hurricanes in January, is still considering Miami despite his decision to open things up. Both Florida State and Wisconsin are in the mix.

The Seminoles have been heavily linked with Collins having already gotten an official visit from the tailback in October. Wisconsin, too, has gotten an official visit during the first weekend in October. The Seminoles also picked up a commitment from 2013 QB prospect John Franklin, Collins' teammate at South Plantation.

Collins has been unavailable for comment.

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Franklin wastes no time, commits to FSU 

November, 1, 2012
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John Franklin (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation) said he was going to make a decision soon. Well, he wasn't kidding.

Just 24 hours after learning of an offer from Florida State, Franklin decided to accept the invitation to join the class of 2013.

"When we started the recruiting process, he was pretty adamant that he wanted to be a quarterback," South Plantation head coach Doug Gatewood said. "Because of Alex [Collins], he doesn't have prolific numbers. Alex has 2,000 yards, John isn't going to throw for 2,000 yards. He doesn't have prolific numbers, but what John is, he's a no-brainer. He is 6-2, 170 pounds, he has a 4.0 GPA, 20 ACT, they aren't going to miss with him anywhere. He's not going to hurt the program. He will fit in athletically some place on your team."

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Alex Collins (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation) took part in the morning session of the Jimbo Fisher Camp wearing normal camper attire. But when he took to the fields in the afternoon, his previous outfit was replaced by Florida State gear from head to toe.


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