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Florida State and Miami have not been national powers of late, but the rivalry remains very important for recruiting. A star-studded cast will be there to take in the contest.
Head coaches Jimbo Fisher and Al Golden spoke about the recruiting battle Wednesday on the ACC coaches teleconference.
Q. Like you just stated, the Florida State/Miami game is a special game. So is Florida State/Florida. Talk about the differences and similarities between the two games when it comes to recruiting.
COACH FISHER: I guess because Miami, the kids in Miami, they love the city. You have two kinds, in my opinion: the kids that are truly loyal to Miami, the university, but even the city, they want to stay, or guys that want to get out. It is a very important game because it does bring justification for a young man to leave Miami and come to Tallahassee and do some of those things. It is always good. The people in the state always look at how those games go and always have done.
Q. The rivalry has been downplayed a little bit nationally, but where do you think it stands from your perspective?
COACH FISHER: I think it's one of the best ones in the history of the game. This is one of the reasons you come to Florida State to play. They're No. 1 on their side, we're second on our side. A lot of implications in the state. To us, it's one of the major, major games of the year, and a huge game for us.
Q. This is obviously a great historical rivalry, in-state rivalry. Since you have taken over the Miami Hurricanes, how big is this match up for recruiting, especially instate recruiting?
COACH GOLDEN: Yeah, I think it's always going to be big. I don't think there's any question, it will be a great environment for us here at sun life on Saturday night, which will be great. We'll have all of our top players and many high school coaches in attendance. So from that standpoint it's great. There's two camps of players, look at this game, some look at -- right now Florida State is No. 10 in the country and some look at that and say, I want to a part of that; and some look at us and say, well, I want to be part of the resurgence of Miami and I want to go and make an impact and bring them back to the top. Again, I think ultimately, there's some guys in the state that are either a Hurricane or a Seminole and there are a whole bunch that you have to recruit and make sure that your values are the same as theirs and make sure they understand the value of a University of Miami degree and all of the things that we can afford a young man at the University of Miami.
Q. In terms of the rivalry, it's not one that the national media talks about much the way that it used to; what's your perspective on where it stands?
COACH GOLDEN: Well, again, I don't know if that's necessarily true right now, from a Florida State standpoint, we have to catch up to where they are right now. They are ahead of us right now. And that is what makes this game and this rivalry so good because the other teams have always responded, and if you look at through the years, it wasn't really just an every other year they exchanged wins. It's somebody gets hot and the other organization has to respond, and then it turns around and then you have to do that. So right now, they are ahead of us, both in years at the institution, but also in the rankings and they were favored to win the ACC and we have to catch up. That's what we are trying to do here not only this week but with recruiting and everything else that you guys mentioned.
A win for Miami, as unlikely as it is (FSU is a three-touchdown favorite), would do wonders to wow recruits who haven't seen a home 'Canes win over the Seminoles since they were in the fourth grade (2004).
In recent years, Florida State has had a lot of success recruiting South Florida. Starters Rodney Smith, Rashad Greene, Bryan Stork, Nick O'Leary, Xavier Rhodes and Lamarcus Joyner are from the area. Their depth chart features nine reserves from the area, as well: Devonta Freeman, Greg Dent, Kelvin Benjamin, Willie Haulstead, Austin Barron, Bobby Hart, Giorgio Newberry, Nile Lawrence-Stample and Keelin Smith.
Among the attendees will be a huge group from Miami Booker T. Washington High School. They include Matthew Thomas, arguably the top outside linebacker in the country. Thomas has Florida State as his leader, but is also considering Alabama and Miami. Offensive tackle Denver Kirkland will also take in the action. He is considered a Miami-Florida State battle. Other Booker T. standouts include underclassmen like athlete Treon Harris, cornerback Nigel Patten and defensive end Chad Thomas. All are high-level BCS caliber players.
Three current Miami commitments that are being pursued by Florida State will also be in attendance. Plantation (Fla.) South High School running back Alex Collins, a potential five-star recruit, took in Florida State's win over Boston College last weekend, but remains committed to the Hurricanes. Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic High's Keith Bryant, a defensive tackle, has been committed to Miami since the summer, but has some interest in South Carolina, and is drawing interest from Florida State. The same goes for St. Pete's Jeremy Kerr, a tight end who Florida State has some interest in as an offensive tackle.
There are also prospects who, according to some, Miami is looking to bring in that are not being recruited by the Seminoles. University School's Jordan Cunningham, a receiver, is a top target for the Hurricanes, as is defensive tackle Maquedius Bain, a former Florida State commitment. Hollywood (Fla) Chaminade Madonna's Khairi Clark, a top 2014 defensive tackle recruit who is rumored to be favoring Miami, will be checking out the game as well.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There could be as many as 60 BCS-level recruits in attendance. For them, this game hasn't lost its luster.
For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog State of The U.