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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 3, 2016
JIMBO FISHER: First off, I would like to welcome all of our new recruits to being part of our family here at Florida State. We see ourselves as a family, and we think we added to our family today quite well in a lot of regards, not just as far as football players, but as far as high-character, quality young men who are interested in getting a great education, and also can play a little ball.
Very happy with the group we've got. Very proud of our coaches. I think our coaches did an outstanding job of building these relationships. A lot of these relationships are two, three, and four-year relationships. It's spent a lot of time, lot of hard-fought battles. Very unique group. If you can go back and look at this class, it's 25 signees, 13 kids in the state of Florida. But we signed kids from ten different states. So I think the brand of Florida State being able to be out there and people being interested in being part of our culture and what we do here and our winning traditions and championship traditions, I think speaks for itself.
But also, great job by coaches when you sign guys outside of your normal home base areas to build, and the high quality of players in which we were able to do that, that's a very hard thing to do consistently. I think our coaches did a tremendous job in what they did, and also the support staff and people here once they came on the visits. I think everyone here, we got a lot of great feedback on the high quality of people everyone had to deal with here. It was nothing to do with my coaches or myself. It was the support staff in every way, shape and form. Like I say, everybody who has a part in Florida State has a part in this program and affects our program. The guys did a great job in that regard.
And most importantly our players. Our players did a tremendous job of hosting kids and showing everyone so they felt confident around our players. Even the star players, they were nervous, saying I didn't know how to be around guys such as Dalvin Cook and DeMarcus Walker, they said coach, they were normal, good old guys just like us. And our players understood the importance of recruiting how many young players have an impact in your program just like a lot of them did when they came in. And I think they're passing that down and making guys feel very comfortable in visits and letting them know there is a great family atmosphere here. And everyone here will take care of you in a great regard and help you in all phases in development as a person, a student and a player. But just extremely excited about it.
We feel like the guys we've evaluated were very comfortable in the guys we were able to get and the guys we wanted. Like I said, would you get everybody? You don't ever get everybody you recruit, but I don't worry about those. I worry about the ones we've gotten. We've gotten a great group of guys and great group of players.
Very excited about the future, and hopefully in time we'll see how things turn out. We've got to keep developing players, and our coaches do a great job of that as some of our highest draft picks and things that went on came from our even lower-ranked guys, so not only our higher ranked guys are panning out also. So I think it's a great job and testament to our staff and how they're developing these guy once they get here in all phases. So very proud of this group.
Q. When you think about coming into this morning, some of the guys you were able to get, what is your thought process as a coach and coaching staff? Do you say, okay, maybe we're going to get these guys? Or is it a wait and see?
JIMBO FISHER: It all depends. Sometimes you don't know. Sometimes you've got a really good feeling. Sometimes you do know. You think I know we're going to get this guy. Sometimes it's just each -- there is no set way. I wish there was. Every year I'd sleep a lot better knowing what's coming next year. But it's how that relationship is cultured, and where each individual has himself at at that particular time when he's making a decision. Because all of them -- the thing about all of this, and we sometimes get frustrated and we all criticize the kids about how they go about making the decisions. Well, they're 17 years old, they've never made a decision of this magnitude.
It's not that they don't know when it's time to make a decision. But the process of going about making a decision is like studying for a test. How do I study for a test? Well, they say study. There is an art to studying and doing this too. Sometimes they don't know. So each year, it's back and forth, and you've got to play it by ear on how each one goes. Sometimes, you know, you go in sometimes thinking it's a decision. But it's about a 10, 15, 20% chance, you know what I mean?
Q. What was the genesis or what unfolded against Shavar Manuel here?
JIMBO FISHER: Always was wanted here. See, that's the thing. When he first came up here before, he loved Florida State back a couple years before. He was a big Florida State fan. We called and said is this thing over? He said, No, coach, I want you to keep recruiting me. So we kept recruiting him normally and he ended up flipping over. No magical formula. Just relationships. Sometimes guys flip to other places and flip back. It's back and forth. Just kept going.
Q. I'm sure you enjoyed some of the stress-free signing days, but does it also add an intriguing element when you have four or five guys where you feel confident about but you're not going to know until signing day?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, I mean, it depends on what side of that you feel like you're going to get them or not going to get them. For fans I think it's fun. But recruiting has changed so much. I think each year you may close them all. Each year it goes back and forth. But I had a good feeling on most of the guys. I felt today went about like I thought it would go. When you know that and it works out that way, it's a great deal.
Q. How big is momentum? I want to bring up Keith Gavin, for instance. You committed him late last week. Does that affect you in recruiting?
JIMBO FISHER: No doubt. Momentum is like you do in the game. And I think because, I think one of the reasons more so is because the kids know each other so well. You know what I'm saying?
Back in the day, even when that happened, kids said that guy's coming. He never talked to him. Never got to meet him until you came to campus. Now these kids are in the All-American games together. They're in many camps together, recruiting visits together. They knew it. And they can talk by social media or by the phone. That is critical. Because, hey, there he goes. I know him. I want to play with him. I think it's even more of a factor now than it's ever been.
Q. (No microphone) was committed?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, one time there was a couple times we thought he was going to be committed to us, and said dad gum. It was a back and forth thing.
Q. And Gavin was committed? He committed? You obviously don't give up. Do you even pay attention to that?
JIMBO FISHER: No, listen, we don't go recruit guys unless they say we're totally open. What I mean by that, I say if you committed and said I'm going to Kent State. I'm just using that for an example, all right? Tom, I appreciate you going there. If this is final, okay. We'll leave you alone. But are you still open? Is this a final deal? Would you like us to check back in with you in a month? Then they'll call back and say, hey, coach, I'm not sure I want you to keep recruiting me. Leave it up to them. I don't like chasing guys and pounding on guys for recruiting. I don't think it's good for them, and I don't think it's good for us. Some of those guys said we're still open. Even guys that committed to us said that about people. That's why people were recruiting them.
Q. So even though Gavin committed, he was still wide open?
JIMBO FISHER: I knew we had a chance. I knew it wasn't done because he hadn't committed anywhere else, and we were still going at it, yes.
Q. Is Andrew Boselli going to be a little bit of a project? I think he's changed positions a little bit? What you do expect out of him?
JIMBO FISHER: I don't think so. I think he's a really good player. He's got a great understanding of the game. Great physical skills. He can bend, he can be a center, a guard, an interior guy. A project is something we wouldn't recruit. We recruit good football players. I think he's a heck of a player.
Q. You went to the Washington, D.C. area again for another kid. When did you start paying attention to the mid-Atlantic area, Washington, Maryland? What started that ball rolling?
JIMBO FISHER: I think the quality of football that's there. And our conference, you've got to remember something, we go up the whole East Coast. So we go that way to play games. That's going back home for these kids. So they come to Florida State and recognize with our league as much as they do with any college football. That's the home area up and down the East Coast.
To be in the ACC, and we've been winning the most games in the ACC and being the team in the ACC, and they want to be part of that. They get to be in warm weather here then go back that way and play ball in their home area whether it's covered extensively by the hometown papers and all that stuff.
So you look at that whole area there has top, top-notch football. It's great. It makes sense to get in there.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: We needed corners in this class. For sure got that. Didn't need a lot of receivers, but wanted a difference maker. Got that, we feel. Their backs, difference maker, great quarterback they felt. We had to have a quarterback, tight end. We had to have it across the board. Certain areas we needed more depth, and I thought we met our needs.
Q. Go back to the offensive line?
JIMBO FISHER: And kickers and punters.
Q. Today of course everyone sent their number one guard, and of course Mike (inaudible) overall prospect. How pleased are you with where this sign is going and how did it come together?
JIMBO FISHER: To be honest, we were out there and actively went at guys. In our approach, we're very honest in recruiting, straightforward and honest. Kids liked that. We had a lot of those guys in many camps at different times. They did an outstanding job. They knew, and Coach Trigg has produced a lot of great linemen in the past. And we were putting a lot of guys out, and they were comfortable in what we did. And we ran a pro system.
Q. Is this one of your better offensive line classes?
JIMBO FISHER: At least on paper, I think it pans out or obviously we wouldn't have recruited the guys. I think it's a tremendous hall, I really do.
Q. I was reading a story about coming up with a Twitter hashtag and how they'd use that for recruiting. You guys don't use a ton of that?
JIMBO FISHER: I don't even have one.
Q. Do you see it as what you guys do as maybe old-school recruiting or just kind of the way --
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, it's called personal relationships. At the end of the day, it's about relationships. It's about trust. We communicate through social media, no doubt. But at the end of the day, you've got to have conversations and see people face-to-face and look them in the eye to know. And different ways, at the end of the day it's about trust. But you've got to sit down, hear a guy's voice, look him in the eye, shake his hands and ask him questions about what he wants, tell him where you're at. And at the end of the day I think that's still what it's all about.
Q. Coaches are trying to get their programs to where you are now, but say Twitter and social media (No microphone) as when you first became head coach? Or do you think you would have been more involved?
JIMBO FISHER: I wouldn't have. I just think the personal touch to things is the best way to do it. You want something done, do it yourself. You want something done and get somebody, sit down with them and talk to them. I think that's probably (buffering) because you can't tell if they're lying -- how they say words unaccounted, to me, it's going to build a bond. It's when you look them in the eye and you can tell people and read people.
Q. Gabe Nabers (No microphone)?
JIMBO FISHER: I loved him in camp, I always have. I saw a guy that's 6'3", 240 pounds, that can run under 47, that can bend, play multiple positions. When you watch him on film, he is a football player. He can play defense, he can play offense. He can catch the ball. He can play multiple positions. He's physical. He likes the game. He hustles. He lives, eats and breathes everything about football. Loved him in camp from the git-go. Just like I told his mom, he's going to be in this class. I'll just wait until I do it.
Q. Your staff seems to really kind of buy into the idea of team work and recruiting. Everybody's high-fiving and fist-pumping and all that. Is that unique?
JIMBO FISHER: I think they have. But everybody says the offensive line, we don't recruit by position. A position coach gets involved, but the area coach where that kid is from is the main recruiter in that deal. Now how he orchestrates that with (buffering) now you bring in a position coach, now you bring in a coordinator, and now you bring in a head coach. Or sometimes you may do it yourself if that's the relationship. All of that -- we don't say all the D-linemen are recruited by Odell, that's not true. All the O-line men by Trigg, that's not true. All the running backs by Jay, that's not true. All the DBs by Charlie. They are involved extensively. But if they're not in the area, they're not the main recruiters on those guys. I don't believe in that. If you can't recruit another position as a coach, you probably shouldn't be in this game.
Q. Is that satisfying for some of those guys to see the work they've put in?
JIMBO FISHER: We do collect -- yes, I think very much so. But at the same time, when you put all those guys into it, they say it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a staff to recruit a player. It's not just one guy doing it. The whole staff recruits the players, and how we set the trend and how we set up the visits here and how our secretaries, and how Bob LaCivita and all the guys on campus here organize things, how they structure things, how the weight room does, how the training room does, everybody is involved in that. I can't say enough about we get so caught up with so and so. No, they didn't. Everybody recruited those guys. Everybody in the organization. That's the only way you're going to do it.
Q. Is there something different about this recruiting cycle that you had so many kids decide on the last day? Usually you're locked and loaded?
JIMBO FISHER: Mars, Pluto, Venus and Saturn must have all been lined up. I joke about that because it wasn't intentional. It's just the way it fell out. I think part of it is you had ten different states represented. Sometimes guys are farther away, so they don't get down as much. Still taking visits, still seeing things. I think sometimes that has a lot to do with it. Depending on how much they can get down here, depends on those cycles sometimes.
Q. Was it fun for the head coach to have a day like today?
JIMBO FISHER: Very fun. You saw our program get better. You saw the guys which we wanted, we got. You saw a lot of assistant coaches blood, sweat and tears, as I say. And a lot of hours pay off, and it's very rewarding that way.
Q. You had six guys publicly commit today that weren't committed, you had maybe a couple more, in terms of your ability to close and what you've experienced, how does this stack up in terms of the closing?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I mean, closing goes back to what I said before. Knowing you've got them or not. Everybody says you close at the end. You don't close at the end. What you're doing is building towards that closing. You know what I'm saying? That happens in November, December, and January. All the closing goes back to what percentage you had. And are you gaining ground at those times? I mean, there is no miraculous formula at the end. You go in and give them some magical talk and they jump in the boat.
The old days you may have done that more because, in my opinion, you had less interaction, and you had less communication, less guys to your campus than you do now because of knowledge of social media and communication and all those things. Closing is the accumulation of all the way up and where you put yourself at that time when you do it. And we built to that relationship. We felt really good about those guys.
Last year we knew going in. It wasn't going to be. Because we couldn't gain the ground in the earlier months that we needed to gain. I think we put too much emphasis on the close. When you close well is when November, December, January and all those months have built up to that close.
Q. So you knew months going in this was going to be a solid close?
JIMBO FISHER: We felt very good about it. Now there were a couple. You go that last two or three weeks and you're right on that which way is this young man going to go? You know what I'm saying? You win some, you lose some.
Q. Was there one that was the most pleasant surprise for you? One or two of them?
JIMBO FISHER: No, all of them. There is no one in particular.
Q. You've got an awful lot of beef on both sides of the line. Was there a concerted effort?
JIMBO FISHER: It's like anything. When you have a chance to get those guys, you better jump all over them. Because high quality offensive and defensive linemen are hard to find. When you take as many as you can get because of the attrition of injuries and sometimes they're just not there. They may be there next year and you guys have them rated. I say you guys, the rankings and the people have them rated. But at the same time, they still may not be the quality of the guys that were the year before, the crop the year before may not have -- there may have been 20 quality wins in this one.
Next year there may only be five. Everybody may have them rated up there, but there may only be five. In my opinion, we had a lot of high-quality guys.
Q. When you talk rankings, consensus across the board is your No. 2. Do you take much stock into that and care about rankings?
JIMBO FISHER: No, no. I mean, people know. We know where we're at. We hear it, but it doesn't matter. I worry about -- I want to rank the classes after they leave. That's what I'm worried about. What they accomplish, what they did, how we won, and how they developed as people, students and players. That's all there, and we know about it. But at the end of the day, I mean, I disagree with a lot of the rankings.
I agree with a lot and disagree with a lot, I guess that's what makes the world go. Because at the end of the day you know what it is? Opinion. At the end of the day it's how you see it, and how a guy may fit into your program compared to another program. He may be a better fit there, maybe a high-quality player. So all those things are subjective in a lot of ways, but they make it fun.
Q. How excited does it get you to get these players in when you hear them saying I'm ready to compete for a spot? Not saying they're going to have that spot?
JIMBO FISHER: Music to my ears. At the end of the day, nobody's guaranteeing anybody's ready to play. I never have, never will, and anybody who does as a coach is a liar. Because you don't know how the guy's going to react, and it's unfair to the guys you have on the team. You'll have one heck of a opportunity, and I think you'll have that, but you better be ready to compete. Because guess what? Well, I want to play in the NFL. So you think you're going up there and not compete? Maybe they ought to learn it at a younger age and be ready to do it at the git-go.
Q. You brought in some good ones, obviously. Where does Lavonta Taylor rank as far as DBs?
JIMBO FISHER: You think of his skill set, it's very unique. He's not a big guy, but you wouldn't know it. He plays with a tremendous amount of instinct and knowledge and wisdom. And a toughness and tenacity when you watch him play. You know, he has some skill sets and he's a great return guy, great ball skill guy, and great confidence, which I think is incredibly important to play out there on the edge like that. So I think he's got a chance to be a really good player.
Q. Jimbo, speaking of Lavonta, you have some great recruiters. Sterling comes to mind, Carlos.
JIMBO FISHER: He's up there now. Hey, when he gets done, we're going to have to give him a job. He does. I mean why I think guys gravitate to him, they see his passion to play and then they see him play and they see how skilled he is. But what it means -- and you can say, you know something, I want that guy on my team. I want to play with that guy. It's just every bit of him loves ball. And he wants teammates. I don't care, yeah, I'll compete with anybody. He knows it takes that, and he's very unique.
Q. Do you encourage guys as part of your class to?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, I do. If you feel comfortable with it, and you know them, why not? You're part of our family. We're all for one. It takes everybody to put together a class.
Q. It seems like for Jalen, Lavonta and even Derwin, do you ever sense when those guys have that and do you want those guys because of that?
JIMBO FISHER: Oh, yeah, no doubt. A lot of those guys because they have a certain charisma about them and leadership qualities, and you can't find enough of those in a team either.
Q. How do you feel about the direction of recruiting? But coaches have been doing sleep-overs and things?
JIMBO FISHER: More power to them. I guess I'll just stay within the rules. If we stay within the rules, that's great. Whatever you have to do, if you feel like that's your program, that's what makes it. It's sales. Whatever sells, just so you do it legally. Don't break rules. I mean, that's their business. We're going to do things our way, they do them their way. There's nothing wrong with that.
Q. With as much as recruiting with new tactics and stuff, how much of it is still winning the family over?
JIMBO FISHER: It's all relationships. At the end of the day, when they're wanting to go, if they go stay the night or like you said whatever, they still got to sit in the house and talk to them. It's still about developing the relationship. It's still about eye-to-eye contact. It's still a people-related, people-person game. At the end of the day, it's not about the bricks, the buildings and everything else. It's about the relationships of the people. What gimmick you do, you've got to sit down and build a relationship.
Q. You've got your own stuff going on, but you guys and the coaching staff ever pay attention to maybe what's going on with other people and their signing classes who other teams are getting or is it just focusing on you?
JIMBO FISHER: They're not part of us. You're sitting there and you're bored between things and watching TV. We're not evaluating juniors, we're calling juniors and evaluating juniors and sophomores and we have been forever and ever. You get them and you'll see what's going on. Hey, but at the end of the day, you've got to worry about your own.
Q. If I got the numbers right, it looks like the offensive line going into the fall should have 19 guys on scholarship.
JIMBO FISHER: I think it was 18. Maybe I was wrong. I want to carry 18. That's what I want to carry.
Q. Yeah, because you've never come close to that. What does that do for you to have those numbers?
JIMBO FISHER: The ability to practice. The ability to develop other skill guys, as crazy as it sounds, skill guys on your team that have high quality people in front of them in practice, and how you practice so you can get things done and not wear your other guys out and develop guys and build a rotation. It's going to develop the whole football team when you have those guys because sometimes you say these skill guys, and you've got ten or 11 linemen, that's great. But you're getting to work and they've got to take reps.
Then when these young skill guys get in the game and it's like a jail break on them, they can't play, they can't develop. It's extremely critical not only for line development risk, but skill development.
Q. About Twitter stuff, is there a reason why Coach Brewster is the only coach that's using Twitter?
JIMBO FISHER: He's probably the only one that's figured it out. He might like to do it.
Q. Talking about Malik Henry, how much of a chance does he have to compete for a job in the spring?
JIMBO FISHER: Tremendous chance. That's why he's here.
Q. How is Sean's foot progressing?
JIMBO FISHER: Good. We have to wait. I saw him today. He's good, everything's coming along, but he can't be weight bearing. It's going to be a while.
Q. Any other changes on the roster as far as transfers?
JIMBO FISHER: No, not that I know of.
Q. In terms of this class' success, what needs to happen in the first year for the development of the roster?
JIMBO FISHER: Play well, do what's asked of you, compete every day.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports