FSU gets 3 commits as camp opens
Seminoles add DT, TE, K to highly ranked class, bring commitment total to 13
TALLAHASSEE -- As the first session of Jimbo Fisher's football camps began Sunday, it had already proven to be a banner day for the Florida State head coach.
The Seminoles snagged three commitments on Sunday -- tight end Christo Kourtzidis (Orange, Calif./Lutheran), kicking specialist Cason Beatty (Charlotte, N.C./Olympic) and defensive tackle James Hamilton (Orlando/Olympia).
FSU now has 13 verbal commitments from the Class of 2012, its group ranked second nationally by ESPN.
"I just had a great relationship with the coaching staff here," Kourtzidis said. "Coach [James] Coley is someone you really want to play for. I felt good about my visit here in April, and it was just time to make it official.
Kourtzidis was present at the camp Sunday night.
"I think this program is a great fit for me," Kourtzidis added. "The offense has a lot of balance and the tight ends here will put a lot of pressure on defenses."
FSU signed top tight end prospect Nick O'Leary (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) as part of its top-ranked class last season.
Beatty was recruited by the Noles as a punter. He averaged more than 43 yards per punt as a junior and the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder even played some quarterback for his high school.
Hamilton was the biggest news of the day and the biggest player to commit at 6-3, 335.
"I went to the camp and I went up there for a purpose," Hamilton said. "I was pretty much unstoppable and they officially offered me today."
Hamilton committed almost immediately.
"I knew yesterday this was where I wanted to be and where I wanted to go," Hamilton added.
Hamilton, much like Kourtzidis, pointed to his bond with the FSU coaching staff as the difference.
"Coach Odell [Haggins] is an amazing guy, just like Coach [Jimbo] Fisher," Hamilton said. "The facilities are very nice, the academics and the football program are perfect. It's an opportunity to compete for a championship."
Although Hamilton has been primarily sought as an interior offensive lineman, he was recruited to play defensive tackle at FSU. It's a move Hamilton is more than happy to make.
"I feel like my future in football in on the defensive side of the ball," Hamilton said. "I am a big, strong player that is explosive off the board, and this is just the position for me to make a bigger impact."
Hamilton had made a few more recruiting plans but now says he's going to cancel his travels and is completely committed to the Seminoles.
"It's great for me and my family," Hamilton said. "I get to stay in state and compete for a big-time program that's trying to win a national championship."
Benjamin less sold on 'Noles
It's safe to say that wide receiver Richard Benjamin (Tampa/Middleton) had a productive spring.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound rising junior received nearly a dozen offers during May and has established himself as one of the top juniors in Florida.
"It's been a lot of fun, a real blessing," Benjamin said. "Seems like everyone stopped by to visit me this spring."
For the longest time the wide receiver had said that if FSU offered him, his recruitment would be over. But after the Seminoles offered, Benjamin actually said Miami was his early leader.
"I was just very excited after visiting Miami and I think I said that based on being real impressed," Benjamin said. "But in reality my recruitment is wide open right now. There are no leaders. I'm focused on just getting better as a player and improving my skills."
Benjamin participated in the Monday morning session and took a tour of the campus. He says he's going to be an early commit and is planning on graduating in December. He says he's going to stop by Florida this week and will take part in the Top Gun Showcase in Virginia.
Guy steps up
One of the Class of 2012 prospects who could really see his stock rise with a strong offseason is quarterback Jacob Guy (Dade City, Fla./Pasco). The 6-5, 200-pounder already has offers from Western Michigan and UMass but could be in line for more opportunities.
Guy says Purdue, South Florida, NC State, Kansas, Vanderbilt and Florida are among the schools that have shown interest. On Sunday, he had the opportunity to learn from and impress the Seminoles coaching staff.
"It was a good chance to learn from Coach [Dameyune] Craig," Guy said. "He saw me and Sean [Maguire] using our upper half and he got us to use our whole body."
Guy threw for more than 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior but remains an under-the-radar prospect despite having an older brother, tight end Tyler Guy, at South Florida.
"My brother gives me a lot of advice and I definitely take it all in," Jacob Guy said. "He is playing in college right now and knows what it takes to succeed at the next level."
Jacob Guy has plans to visit NC State and South Florida this week.
• Among the other quarterbacks throwing Sunday was Class of 2013 prospect Jonathan McCrary (Ellenwood, Ga,/Cedar Grove). The 6-2, 175-pounder has several major offers as he enters his junior year, including Florida State, Georgia and Clemson.
"They gave us a lot of information to take in, but as a quarterback, you have to be able to process everything," McCrary said.
• One of the top targets for the quarterbacks was wide receiver Monty Madaris (Cincinnati/Archbishop Moeller). The four-star prospect has offers from Indiana, Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State.
• Class of 2013 linebacker Corey Vereen (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) was wrapping up a weeklong tour of campuses with a visit to FSU. He participated in Monday's session. The 6-2, 230-pounder saw both Clemson and Duke earlier.
"I liked both campuses, Duke was exceptionally clean," Vereen said. "There wasn't a bit of trash anywhere. They also had beautiful facilities."
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