Florida State Seminoles: Johnathan Vickers


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The words were likely the same as the ones spoken by every other coach in the country, Jimbo Fisher was quick to admit Wednesday, but that didn’t make them any less true.

[+] EnlargeErmon Lane
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsErmon Lane, the No. 2 WR in the nation and No. 22 prospect overall, was a nice late addition for FSU.
Florida State’s 2014 signing class had a little bit of everything, and that made it easy to love. There were the high-profile stars, including receiver Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) and defensive end Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page). There were the late additions, from receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Senior) to tackle Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central). There was strength in numbers, including huge hauls on both sides of the line, and there were unique talents such as defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee), who Fisher raved might be one of the five best players in the country.

The Seminoles inked at least one player in every position group -- and a long snapper to boot -- with Fisher heaping praise on each one.

“The first thing is you need the ingredients to bake the cake,” Fisher said. “We have the ingredients.”

The class wasn’t the most high-profile. While Florida State did nab 13 ESPN 300 prospects and two more top junior-college transfers, it didn’t rack up a heaping quantity of five-star studs like Alabama did. The Seminoles grabbed some prized late additions, too, but also lost QB Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) and defensive lineman Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda), both longtime commits. But it was the grunt work on players such as Christmas that had Fisher so excited about the future Wednesday.

“If Christmas would have gone to [more] camps, he would be been the No. 1 or 2 player in the whole country,” Fisher said. “Everybody we asked, the first guy to come out of their mouth was [Christmas]. ‘That's the best football player we've played against in 10 years.’ Everybody. I never had so many coaches tell me he was the best player. Even coaches from Miami and the players in Miami. When guys in Miami give you credit, they don't give nobody credit.”

The same was true at quarterback, where Fisher spent his time raving about J.J. Cosentino (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic) rather than lament the loss of Harris. The 6-foot-4 QB from western Pennsylvania could wind up the heir apparent to Jameis Winston in a year -- or two years, as Fisher optimistically projected Wednesday -- and might already have the best arm of anyone on Florida State’s roster.

Highly touted running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central) is already enrolled, but Fisher raved Wednesday about the versatility of three-star prospect Jonathan Vickers (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian). Rudolph and Lane were two of the top six receivers in the nation, but Fisher heaped praise on Ja'Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen), too.

“He has a ton of juice,” Fisher said. “He can accelerate. He can make you miss. He can punt return, play defense, blocks very well. He has great length, size. I think Ja’Von has a big-time future.”

Florida State wrapped up the day with the No. 3 class in the country, the fifth time in as many years Fisher has nabbed a top-10 class. But Fisher wasn’t concerned with the final ranking.

“There's not a guy in here, even from a size standpoint, I don’t think will have a great future,” Fisher said. “Tremendous."

Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

September, 23, 2013
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It was a relatively mellow slate in the ACC this week, but there turned out to be several results of significance. Clemson defeated NC State in Raleigh, N.C., a place known for upsets, and Virginia Tech escaped against Marshall in overtime.

In recruiting, a couple offers were issued and a commitment was made. More in our weekend wrap from around the ACC:

Summer recruit wrap: Florida State 

July, 23, 2013
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NoleNation looks at 10 themes of Florida State's 2014 recruiting class to date:


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State has its big back for the Class of 2014.

Johnathan Vickers (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian) will stay home to play for the Seminoles after committing to FSU on a local television broadcast and attending the second Jimbo Fisher Camp.

Vickers, who chose the Seminoles over Louisville, credited the relationships he's developed with Fisher and running backs coach Jay Graham.

"Coach Fisher, Coach Graham, the relationship I have built with them over the last couple of years,” the four-star running back said. “Their running style, their academics and just everything they stand for here."

The coaching staff has been pushing for a commitment from the 6-foot, 212-pound Vickers since the first camp session in June. Vickers sees himself being used in a variety of ways.

"Just like they have used every other back, you know, Chris Thompson, James Wilder -- he came in at 230 and I am at 215 right now, and I should be about 225 when I get here," said Vickers. "Same running and blocking scheme and coming out of the flats and stuff like that."

ESPN’s scouts agree with the assessment.

“This is a prospect with a coveted size/speed ratio and overall impressive physical tools to develop,” the scouting report said. “Has a taller, well-built frame that looks like it could still fill out to the 220-pound range without losing the necessary speed he currently displays. Shows flashes on a straight-away of having much better speed than you might think.

“Vickers is a workhorse type of runner. Shows flashes of being a nice check-down with soft hands out of the backfield. Has good speed and strength and projects to be more of a downhill back at the next level. This is a physical back with good hole quickness, and he is only going to get bigger and stronger. Nice fit for a downhill scheme with some cutback possibilities for him to exploit.”

The No. 39-rated running back was being recruited by Alabama, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin before choosing his local team.

Vickers is the only running back in the Seminoles’ 2014 class. The 19th commit in the class joins 11 other offensive players.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As Florida State continues to sort out its running back board, the coaching staff got an opportunity to see some targets in person last week during the first camp session.


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Tales From The Road: FSU Seminoles 

May, 22, 2013
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Each week, Tales From The Road will provide news updates about where FSU coaches are visiting and what prospects are standing out.

This week's targets: Wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey is expected to make an extended stop in the Tampa area this week. Prospects like Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), Ryan Davis (St. Petersburg, Fla./Northeast) and George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) will likely get visits. Running back Jacques Patrick, a 2015 target, said Florida State has visited already.

Area of interest: The state of Florida. With spring games coming up, and the evaluation period hitting the home stretch, Florida State will try to make as much noise as possible in its home state. The Noles will see a bunch of prospects in person and continue to debate whether to offer a prospect or not. The stakes, of course, are higher in the home state because teams won't offer unless they mean it.

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