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Monday, July 29, 2013
ESPN 300 safety enjoys FSU unofficial

By Corey Dowlar

Four-star safety Mattrell McGraw (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian) had never been to Florida State's campus prior to this past weekend. He'd heard things that painted a mental image of the area, but in reality, in person, things were a lot different.

The state's capitol, something McGraw admittedly didn't know about, the amount of college students and having things to do all surprised him. And in a good way.

"It was better than I thought it was, to be honest," said McGraw. "I know it is not a real huge city, but it is big enough to where you can enjoy yourself -- there is a nice population, or whatever. So I was kind of thrown off a little bit.

"When I got here, man, it was beautiful. They have two other colleges around here, Tallahassee Community College and FAMU, so there are a lot of college kids. The whole city, campus, coaches and facilities really made my visit perfect."

Another surprise was in store when he found out that Vic Viloria, Florida State's strength and conditioning coach, was a product of his high school. With something in common, the two were able to connect on a unique level.

"When I first got there, I hung out with Coach Vic, the strength and conditioning coach," said McGraw. "He is an alum of Curtis, so me and him talked for about an hour and 30 minutes.

"The first day mostly consisted of me and Coach Vic. I saw the facilities and everything, but Saturday was the day that I really got to meet with the coaching staff."

Saturday was more of the business end of the trip. The ESPN 300 safety met with defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt and Jimbo Fisher.

With his mother also on the trip, the group discussed his current ability, where he projects and academic opportunities at the school.

"He just told me that I would be playing," he said. "The three guys ahead of me would be upperclassmen, so when I get there, they would be like seniors. He said that he wouldn't be recruiting me if he didn't think I could come in right away and contribute. He and Coach Fisher feel like I can be a third down specialist in a nickel package in the NFL.

"I would probably play the money or the star position my freshman year, and then my sophomore year, I would move to the strong safety spot. They spoke with my mom and answered my questions and her questions, too."

Parents are always important aspects of recruiting. Rarely do decisions happen without the blessing from at least one of them.

So Florida State's ability to capture McGraw's mother's attention was important.

"She was very impressed by the setup," he said. "She's real big on me getting my college degree. In the NFL, the average career is about three years long, so she wants me to have my degree to fall back on. I want to take up physical therapy and they have a good physical therapy program. I wouldn't have to leave campus to get certified. She was very pleased by that."

The Seminoles, already in McGraw's top three, have established themselves a little stronger. Without much doubt in his mind, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound defensive back has two schools, FSU included, at the very top.

"It is them and Oregon as the No. 1 schools," he said. "UCLA is kind of trailing. I am looking to get back here in October on an unofficial to watch the North Carolina State game for the Bobby Bowden game."

McGraw indicated that he would visit again officially in January.