Florida State Seminoles: SEC

With a combined six national titles and five Heisman Trophy winners since 1993, Florida State-Florida has been one of the top rivalries in college football during the past 30 years. The intense rivalry extends beyond the field and into the recruiting world.

The two schools, which are located roughly two hours apart from each other, are being considered by many of the top recruits in the talent-rich state of Florida. Florida State signed 14 ESPN 300 recruits from Florida in 2014, two of whom (Dalvin Cook and Ermon Lane) flipped their commitments from Florida. The Gators, meanwhile, where able to flip three prospects (J.C. Jackson, Treon Harris and Ryan Sousa) from FSU.

Flipping commitments from an in-state rival is an inevitable part of the recruiting process. Florida State quarterback commit De'Andre Johnson is stuck right in the middle of this heated rivalry and knows just how intense the process can be.

Getting to know: CeCe Jefferson 

June, 2, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CeCe Jefferson is one of the top defensive ends in the country, ranked No. 9 in the ESPN 300. Yet the 6-foot-3, 248-pound, five-star prospect found himself playing middle linebacker, defensive end and even fullback in his team's spring football game.

That’s exactly how Jefferson likes it.

"I like moving around because it shows the coaches at the next level that I’m versatile enough to do it,” Jefferson said. "I don’t mind playing multiple positions in college. Linebacker is probably what I’m going to be because I’m not really that big to play defensive end against 300-pounders all night. So moving around is definitely not a problem to me. I feel like I’m versatile enough to do it, so if a coach asks me to do it, I’m going to do it.”

It’s Jefferson’s versatility and ability to cause so much disruption for opposing offenses that has college coaches from across the country flocking to Glen St. Mary, Florida, to try to land the talented defender from Baker County High School.


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Getting to know Jeffery Holland 

April, 1, 2014
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video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- On a team loaded with talented prospects, do-it-all athlete Jeffery Holland takes a back seat to no one. The 6-foot-2, 226-pound outside linebacker plays multiple positions for Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, including running back, tight end, wide receiver and, of course, linebacker -- the position most schools recruiting him want him to play. Holland even lined up at cornerback for a game during the IMG 7v7 Southeast Regional championships in Bradenton, Fla., over the weekend.

The No. 8 player in the country, his athleticism is something that comes naturally, but it doesn’t hurt that he has pretty good bloodlines too. Holland’s uncle, Carey Holland, won an SEC basketball title at Auburn in 1985.


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Getting to know Eric Swinney 

March, 26, 2014
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Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

ROSWELL, Ga. — Running back Eric Swinney was one of 13 ESPN Junior 300 prospects to attend the Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday. Of those 13, 12 are from Georgia, which regularly churns out elite college football players. For some reason, however, the state doesn’t seem to get the recognition as a top talent-producing state.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 27, 2014
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Less than two weeks remain until national signing day, and this was the second-to-last official visit weekend before Feb. 5. There were a couple of big decommitments, a few commitments and several key official visits. Here’s a closer look at all the latest recruiting news around the SEC.


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Love it or hate it, the BCS delivered a dramatic and fitting ending on Monday night, as No. 1 FSU rallied from from a late four-point deficit in the final two minutes to defeat No. 2 Auburn 34-31 in the final VIZIO BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The Seminoles won their third national championship and ended the SEC's reign of seven consecutive BCS national championships.

Play of the game: Trailing 31-27 with about one minute to go, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston threw a 49-yard pass to Rashad Greene to move to Auburn's 23-yard line with 56 seconds to play. Six players later, after Auburn was penalized for pass interference in the end zone, Winston threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin to go ahead for good with 13 seconds to play. FSU's extra point gave it a 34-31 lead.

Turning point: After Auburn took a 24-20 lead with about 4:42 to go, FSU's Levonte Whitfield returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, giving the Seminoles a 27-24 lead with 4:31 left. Whitfield, a 5-foot-7 freshman known as "Kermit," returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the second time this season.

Early turning point: With Auburn holding a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter, Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall lofted a 50-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Ray to stake the Tigers to a 14-3 lead with 13:48 to go in the first half. Ray, a sophomore from Tallahassee, Fla., had four catches for 58 yards this season before hauling in the long touchdown catch against the hometown Seminoles. FSU, which hadn't trailed since falling behind Boston College on Sept. 28 and had led for more than 571 minutes of football before falling behind the Tigers, suddenly trailed by two scores. The Seminoles played catch-up the rest of the night but finally caught the Tigers in the end.

Player of the game: Winston, a redshirt freshman from Bessemer, Ala., got off to a slow start against Auburn's defense, getting sacked four times and fumbling once in the first half. But in the end, Winston broke the Heisman Trophy jinx, throwing the winning touchdown with 13 seconds to play. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns.

What it means: The controversial BCS era ends with the SEC being denied its eighth consecutive national championship, which should sit well with college football fans outside of the SEC. In a game in which the SEC seemed most vulnerable during its championship streak, the Tigers jumped out to a 21-3 lead but couldn't hold on for a victory. The Tigers were denied their second BCS national championship since the 2010 season, when they defeated Oregon 22-19 in the BCS National Championship behind quarterback Cam Newton. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn missed becoming only the second coach -- Miami's Larry Coker was the first -- to lead his team to the national title in his first season since the BCS began in 1998.

Stat that matters: 2-for-12: Florida State won despite going 2-for-12 on third down.

What's next: Florida State will probably be a popular choice to be the No. 1 team in preseason polls heading into the 2014 season. FSU will have to replace several key pieces on defense, including linebackers Christian Jones and Telvin Smith and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. But the Seminoles will bring back Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, along with several of their most important players on offense. Auburn, which reached the BCS national championship in Malzahn's first season, will be among the SEC West favorites in 2014, along with Alabama and LSU. The Tigers will bring back Marshall, but they'll have to wait to see if junior tailback Tre Mason returns to school or enters next spring's NFL draft. Auburn's very young defense will be a lot wiser in coordinator Ellis Johnson's second season, too.

DT Cummings makes switch to UF 

November, 18, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Junior college defensive tackle Darious Cummings (Titusville, Fla./East Mississippi CC) has switched his verbal commitment from Ole Miss to Florida after taking his official visit to UF this weekend.

The 6-foot-3, 292-pound lineman, who previously signed with Florida State in 2010 before transferring to EMCC, also had offers from Mississippi State, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Cummings will enroll in January and be a redshirt junior next season for the Gators.

Cummings, who is close friends with Florida defensive tackle Damien Jacobs, said Florida was just a perfect fit for him.

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ESPN 150 S Marcell Harris talks finalists 

November, 18, 2012
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) announced on Friday he has moved his college decision to Nov. 29. The announcement will be on ESPNU's "Recruiting Nation," which airs at 5 p.m. ET.

The four-star athlete will chose between Florida, Florida State, Texas and Oklahoma. Harris said he wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving to make his decision.

Marcell Harris
Derek Tyson/ESPN.comMarcell Harris is rated the No. 7 safety in the nation and the No. 68 overall player in the ESPN 150.
“That’s why I was waiting until after Thanksgiving," Harris said. "So I could sit down, enjoy Thanksgiving and talk about some other things with my coaches, because I didn’t get to talk to my coaches before all of this and everything else. So it will be a great time to sit down with everybody.”

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Marcell Harris sets final decision details 

November, 16, 2012
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ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) has finalized his plans to make a college decision. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound four-star prospect will make his verbal commitment on ESPNU's "Recruiting Nation" on Nov. 29 between 5-6 p.m. ET.

Harris, the No. 7-ranked safety in the country, will choose between Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas. The Under Armour All-American has officially visited all four of his finalists.

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Marcell Harris sets decision date 

October, 31, 2012
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) has set his college decision date for Nov. 16.

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound safety will chose between Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas. Harris hyperexented his knee in Dr. Phillips game last Thursday. The injury isn't severe and will only keep him out a few weeks, but Harris said it was enough for him to rethink his recruiting strategy.

[+] EnlargeMarcell Harris
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comMarcell Harris is ranked the No. 66 overall prospect in the ESPN 150.
"I took four official visits to Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State and Florida," Harris said. "I don't think there will be a fifth one with everything that's going on. My recruiting has been going pretty good. I've been talking with my coaches almost everyday. I think I'll have my decision by Nov. 16."

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Dawgs, Tide out in front for Laremy Tunsil 

October, 19, 2012
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MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- Five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) will take an unofficial visit to Florida for its game against South Carolina on Saturday. For the 6-foot-6, 295-pound No. 1-ranked offensive lineman in the country, this will be his second visit to Gainesville in the last three weeks.

Tunsil, who visited Florida for its game against LSU, said he enjoyed his trip to the Swamp.

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Watch List RB James talks recruiting 

October, 13, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- ESPN Watch List running back Tony James (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) missed Gainesville's game against cross-town rival Buchholz High School on Friday with a mild concussion. Despite missing the game, the 2014 prospect did talk about the latest in his recruitment.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound running back, who has offers from Florida, Miami, Ohio State, UCLA, Georgia Tech and most recently Florida State, visited Florida for its game against LSU last weekend. James said he was impressed with what he saw from the Gators.

"It was a very intense game, it was a close game," James said. "The second half, Florida came out and got their swag going on and got two touchdowns back-to-back with Mike Gillislee and the defense shut them down."

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ESPN 300 WR Taj Williams has top three 

September, 12, 2012
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ESPN 300 wide receiver Taj Williams (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) on Wednesday named a top three of Florida State, Alabama and South Carolina. The 6-foot-4, 178-pound four-star athlete will be at Florida State this weekend to watch the Seminoles take on Wake Forest.

"My top three schools right now are South Carolina, Alabama and Florida State," Williams said. "With Florida State, it's right here at home, it's a great place and I'm actually going to visit there this weekend for the game against Wake Forest.

"With Alabama, I've been there a few times, I went to a camp there this summer. I feel comfortable there. I just really like Alabama and what they have to offer. At South Carolina, I really like the coaches. I haven't been there yet, but I definitely plan on taking an official visit there sometime this season. I'll officially visit all three schools, I just don't know the dates yet."

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4-star OL Johnson has four standing out 

September, 8, 2012
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SEFFNER, Fla. -- Four-star offensive lineman Roderick Johnson helped lead Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage to a 36-28 upset win over Seffner (Fla.) Armwood on Friday night. The 6-foot-6, 316-pound tackle prospect helped lead the way for Greg Bryant, the No. 2-ranked running back in the country.

Behind the blocking of Johnson, Bryant rushed for two touchdowns. Johnson said it was a big win, but he is already looking ahead to next week.

"I feel like we got a lot off of our chest for this season," he said, "but now we have to get ready for our next game. It's an honor to block for Greg because I know he's the best running back in the country."

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ESPN 300 A.J. Turman sets 3 visits 

August, 28, 2012
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ESPN 300 running back A.J. Turman (Orlando, Fla./Boone) plans to take all five official visits, and the four-star back already knows of three.

A.J. Turman
Corey Long/ESPN.comA.J. Turman is the No. 24 running back and the No. 261 player overall in the ESPN 300.
"I'll probably decide which visits I'll take by either the end of this week or next week, but I know for sure I'll visit Georgia, Tennessee and FSU," Turman said on Monday night.

Though Turman hasn't set specific dates for the visits, the 6-foot, 198-pound athlete said those three schools are standing out.

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