While the Jimbo Fisher Football Camp featured many of the top recruits in Florida and the Southeast, one of the better prospects at the camp didn't even bring his cleats. Davin Bellamy, a top defensive end recruit out of Atlanta's Chamblee Carter High School was in town to visit, not to work out.
Three days after returning from Tallahassee, Fla., Bellamy was still glowing about his visit Tuesday. "It was great. Florida State was the best visit I've had," Bellamy said, adding: "They are the front-runners."
There were many things Bellamy enjoyed about his visit to Tallahassee.
"It was my first time. I'm a social guy, and the campus was beautiful and the women were amazing," Bellamy said, expanding on the tweets he sent over the weekend discussing Florida State's women. "You have Florida State and then you have FAMU across the street. I felt like I was on vacation, but a vacation where I could study and play ball for four years. The palm trees and the variety of women, Atlanta doesn't have that. I love Florida."
He then clarified that he has many things he is looking for in a school.
"Education, football and having a good time are all important," Bellamy added. "I'm not just a football player. Some places are only about football and there is nothing else to do but football."
Bellamy didn't know all that much about Florida State before coming down to Tallahassee. "I didn't know they had 35 winning seasons in a row," he said. "And I didn't realize they have that much tradition,"
He made the trip down to Florida State primarily because of his relationship with Dameyune Craig, Florida State's quarterback coach, who recruits the Atlanta area.
"Coach Craig is the best recruiter I have. He keeps it real," Bellamy said. "I can talk to him about anything. I think of him as an uncle. We have similar backgrounds, and he talks to me about life. It's not all about football with him. He recruits me as a person and not just as a player.
"And he played pro ball and knows what I want to get out of my career," he added.
Once in Tallahassee, Bellamy met with Florida State defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot.
"He is a program-changer. Two years ago, they led the nation in sacks. Last year they were great, too. They have two first-rounders right now and another junior (Bjoern Werner) who will be one, too," Bellamy said. "They showed me how bad the defensive ends were before coach Eliot took over and how good they are now. Eliot has to be one of the top defensive coaches in the country."
Bellamy is also a fan of Florida State's scheme, saying the team makes "complete defensive ends."
"They rush the passer a lot, but also play the run with their hands," Bellamy said. "It's a 4-3 scheme that really benefits ends. They need me on that defensive line."
Before Florida State became Bellamy's top school, Vanderbilt held the title. "Vanderbilt wanted me before I emerged as a top recruit. I have a great relationship with the staff and had a great visit in April," Bellamy said. "I love the campus, and Nashville is a great city."
One of Bellamy's close friends committed to Vanderbilt in the class of 2012, and that relationship keeps him close with the program. In addition, Bellamy called Vandy's James Franklin the head coach to whom he relates best.
"Coach Franklin is a young, hip coach. He gets me and keeps it real," Bellamy said. "Vanderbilt is a program on the rise, and they play a 4-3, too."
The 4-3 defensive scheme seems to be a bit of a sticking point for Bellamy. He spoke of his visit to Georgia, which runs a 3-4 scheme and wants Bellamy to play outside linebacker, and how he initially liked Georgia a lot.
"Coach Grantham showed me a chart of all the 3-4 outside linebackers in the NFL and how much money they make," he said of Georgia's defensive coordinator.
But on his Florida State visit, Bellamy said the coaches were ready to counter Georgia's maneuver.
"Florida State pulled out a chart showing that almost all the 3-4 outside linebackers in the NFL played end in a 4-3 scheme in college, and that they got way up in the draft by getting sacks," Bellamy said, noting that the list impressed his high school coach, too.
After that, Bellamy said, he soured on the 3-4 scheme.
"I am a defensive end, and in the 3-4, they usually only rush one guy and the other guy drops in coverage. I don't want to be the linebacker who drops into coverage," Bellamy said, praising Florida State's willingness to play and rotate a lot of defensive ends. "In the 4-3, both ends are rushing. That's what I want."
Bellamy said that the third team on his list is probably Auburn, though it could also be Clemson. Bellamy recently visited Auburn, which one of his friends attends, and said he was impressed with the Tigers' coaching staff.
"They are all really close. It's a close-knit staff. They're like a whole staff of Dameyune Craigs," he said, referencing Florida State's quarterback coach.
One of Auburn's main draws is the presence of defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons. As an Atlanta recruit, that is a big deal to Bellamy.
"Oh yeah, I know coach VanGorder. He is a great defensive coordinator. He was with the Falcons. He knows what it takes to get me to the league," Bellamy said. "And their defensive line coach [Mike Pelton] coached DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora in college. He says I am the same type of athlete they were and he can get me to the league like he did with them.
"Auburn is a cool city and they are big-time, SEC. And Auburn is a good school," he added.
I asked Bellamy if it was safe to say that his top three consists of Florida State, Vanderbilt and Auburn, in that order.
"Yeah, but Clemson is tied with Auburn, but they just got two big commits, so I don't know about Clemson," Bellamy said, referencing the recent commitments of Robert Nkemdiche and Elijah Daniel to the Clemson Tigers.
As for what he wants to study in college, Bellamy said it will be communications or broadcasting. "I watch 'NFL Live' and '[College] GameDay,' and I want to come to work dressed up, not sweat, and talk about the game I played all of my life," he said.
Bellamy said he would like to make his decision before the start of fall football camp, but will only do so if he is fully comfortable with his decision. "If I'm not 100 percent, I won't rush into it or anything," he said. And Bellamy still intends to take his official visits regardless of when he commits.
Bellamy holds a 2.6 GPA and will soon take the SAT. He expects to do well on the test and is taking summer school classes to improve his grades and make sure that qualifying will not be an issue.
Analysis: Bellamy now stands 6-foot-5 and weighs around 230 pounds. He should be able to arrive on campus at close to 240 pounds, which is fine for a freshman defensive end. Bellamy probably has the frame to hold 260 or 270 pounds. He is a three- or four-star recruit according to the major services, and his stock is definitely on the rise. He now holds offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Missouri, both North Carolina schools, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia.
Bellamy's best attribute is his get-off. He knows how to coil into a stance and explode. He is a bit raw as a player, but has a lot of tools with which to work. Bellamy also plays basketball. He'll be making more trips over the summer, and SB Nation Recruiting will catch up with him in a few weeks.